Gongzilla - Suffer

Year of Release: 1995
Label: Lo Lo Records
Catalog Number: LOLO003-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:41:00

Gongzilla is a project containing ex-Gong members Benoit Moerlen (vibes, marimba, mallet Kat), Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Hansford Rowe (basses), and Bon Lozaga (guitar, e-bow), along with Bobby Thomas on percussion, Lionel Cordew, Vic Stevens, Ben Perowsky on drums (all on various tracks), and Samuel Rowe vocalizing on one track.

Released in 1995, Suffer (Gongzilla's debut) is a jazz-fusion outing that is full of wonderful moments - a guitar lead there, a drum lead there, etc. "Senna" is good example to use, as the track is primarily Vic Stevens taut drumming and Rowe's throbbing and buzzing bass -- it's as arty as it is intriguing. But before you get to this track, you get 9 earlier ones ranging from the jazz-rock of "Gongzilla" to jazz-fusion to the delicate and melancholy of "Allan Qui?"

The album opens with the monster that is "Gongzilla," a heavy rock piece filled with soaring guitar leads (Holdsworth), driving drums and percussion (Cordew), all given a solid base from the bass of Rowe. This has all the marks of a signature tune - the tune you put on your driving tape or CD as you stomp your way up the freeway, tossing aside (figuratively) everything in your way. This track grabs hold and doesn't let go. It is followed up by the lighter jazz of "Bad Habits." Moerlen's the showcase here, his vibes rattling and tinkling merrily -- though Holdsworth isn't merely strumming. Seeing this in a live setting must be a fun experience as you can hear the room for live improvisation (this track is included on their latest, live release Live as well). "Sing" does just that, being a slower paced lyrical tune. Lozaga takes the lead here on guitar, his playing pensive and moody, and yet, comfortably at ease. Not to go track by track, but because each goes in a different direction, one almost has to. "Gongzilla's Dilemma" is a rolling tune that at first seems to be begging for vocals, but when Moerlen comes in, his playing fills that slot nicely. It shifts gears, and becomes a very slinky, sultry track. A slyness that carries through to the track that follows it, "Mr. Sinister Minister."

There's something to enjoy about each of these tracks - not a spot of filler anywhere. It's cool, it's hip, and, well, and all-around solid album. This album gets very high marks.

Gongzilla (6:36) / Bad Habits (3:28) / Sing (4:28) / Gongzilla's Dilemma (5:17) / Mr. Sinister Minister (4:50) / Almost You (4:12) / Mezzanine (4:15) / Hip-Hopnosis (6:48) / Allan Qui? (7:22) / Senna (4:56) / Camel (0:24)

Hansford Rowe - bass, Just Intonation bass
Bon Lozaga - guitar, e-bow
Benoit Moerlen - vibes, marimba, mallet kat
Bobby Thomas - percussion
Alan Holdsworth - guitar (1,2,6,9)
Lionel Cordew - drums (1-4,6-8,11)
Vic Stevens - drums (9,10)
Samuel Rowe - vocalizing (10)
Ben Perowsky - drums (5)

Suffer (1995)
Thrive (1996)
Live (2001)
East Village Sessions (2003)
Five Even (2008)

Genre: Fusion-Jazz Fusion

Origin VA

Added: February 8th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.lolorecords.com
Hits: 908
Language: english


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