Monday, 21 March 2011

Djam Karet - Burning The Hard City ( 1991 )

Burning the Hard City" is one of the hottest and fiercest musical works ever in the history of prog rock, and definitely, a cornerstone in the development of Djam Karet's sound, mostly, their rockier side. The sounds displayed in the repertoire's riffs, atmospheres, leads, rhythms and moods could literally burn any hard city around. Even though their recording history was still in its early stages, you can tell that these guys have come to know each other pretty well, since they seem to think with one mind while preserving each individual input's integrity. Well, the general sound displayed all throughout this album is so loud and ballsy that it may seem hard to notice for the first listens, but if you pay a closer attention, you will feel it clearly. This albums is mostly a catalogue of musical intelligence worked out from the more aggressive side of the band's artistic ideology. 'At the Mountains of Madness' is a top-notch opener, built on the solid management of the main motifs and its further expansions. Alongside the two guitars' solos and riffs, which seem to echo the distant cries of lost souls in limbo, the rhythm duo of Oken Jr. and Osborne reveals itself as an immaculately cohesive unit. 'Province 19: The Visage of War' goes to more animalistic places, closely related to prog-metal to a degree, but also related to vintage psychedelia and experimental jazz- rock. The reiteration of the main motif and the addition of guitar textures as controlled solos serves as an efficient tension provider, a tension that only makes the motif's inherent darkness turn a bit darker yet. The rhythm section is, once again, the main responsible of variations and extra colors among the sonic storm created by the two guitars. I have read in some e-zines that this track is a bit too repetitive, but I find it effective and one of the most powerful tracks in the album... and in their history, as well. As a counterpart, 'Feast of Ashes' offers an exercise in languid, reflective moods, albeit not exempted of tension: only this time it appears in a more subtle fashion, like a hybrid between mid-70s PF and standardized space-rock. 'Grooming the Psychosis' brings a moderately joyful cadence based on jazz-rock nuances, until the hard rock thing takes main control from minute 4 ½ onwards, making things get more complex. Anyway, Osborne's deliveries help to keep the jazz factor remain as a more subtle remnant until the end of the track, in this way dialoguing effectively with his partner guitarists and helping the track not to drown in its own energy. 'Topanga Safari' does to more ethnic places, something like a funky-driven Ozric Tentacles augmented by the presence of Jeff Beck and Tony Levin - an effective mixture, indeed. 'Ten Days to the Sand' somehow recapitulates the overall progressive vibration of 'At the Mountains.' and the introspective aura of 'Feast of Ashes'. The namesake track is the very proper closure. Providing a mysterious Floyidian vibe for the first 7 minutes, frrom then on, things get more robust, leaning closer to the rougher parts of the aforesaid 'At the Mountains.' and 'Grooming the Psychosis', perhaps with a bit of late 70's Rush. The climax is built-up cleverly and confidently. Djam Karet have managed to give us prog- heads a couple of modern masterpieces of the genre. In my opinion, this is one of them, so I give "Burning the Hard City" the PA's perfect mark - 5 stars. DJAM KARET Burning The Hard City music reviews and MP3 ( Review from

Songs / Tracks Listing 1. At The Mountains Of Madness (9:17)
2. Province 19: The Visage Of War (8:13)
3. Feast Of Ashes (10:46)
4. Grooming The Psychosis (11:57)
5. Topanga Safari (5:57)
6. Ten Days To The Sand (11:07)
7. Burning The Hard City (12:00)

Line-up / Musicians
- Gayle Ellett / electric 7-string and 6-string guitars, taped effects, keyboards, percussion
- Mike Henderson / electric twelve and six string guitars, effects, keyboards
- Chuck Oken, Jr. / drums, electronic, percussion, keyboards, synthesizer programming and sequencing
- Henry Osborne / electric bass, bottled bass, keyboards, percussion

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