COLOSSEUM II – War Dance (Remastered Edition)
Colosseum II featuring the legendary Gary Moore (guitars and vocals), Jon Hiseman (drums), John Mole (bass), and Don Airey (keyboards) is one of those highly esteemed and yet strangely overlooked outfits that deserved (and still deserve) a larger audience.
People and critics recognized the immense talent that was on display, but the records just did not sell and were rather unsuccessful from a purely commercial point of view. Recorded back in 1977 and recently remastered and featuring an essay by Malcolm Dome, “War Dance” marks a high point in the band’s career. Unfortunately, it was also the last ever record by Colosseum II. Although primarily an instrumental affair, this is anything but dull or boring, but it certainly requires a certain mood and open-mindedness on the part of the listener in order to be absorbed and appreciated fully.
The mixture of progressive rock, jazz fusion, and (hard) rock is an interesting one and the entire album is extremely disciplined from a musical point of view. It is an insane display of talent, but it also shows just how inventive and innovative Moore’s playing was. There is a certain depth, tone, and texture to his work on “War Dance” that is a joy to experience. Mole’s bass lines are superb and keep everything glued together while Airey’s keyboard wizardry is both dazzling and entertaining. The record is utterly complex and technical, but neither impenetrable nor without its merits. However, as I said before, one has to be in a certain frame of mind to be able to appreciate and digest the damn thing, but if the prog rock/jazz fusion/hard rock thing sounds intriguing to you then yours truly would certainly recommend that you give “War Dance” a number of spins.