"Amino Acid Flashback" (Blacknote Records; 2005)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

It has been with great joy that I've been able to listen to a lot of Chris Poland's work over the years. His evolution is a situation that's come full circle. Once a fusion player who became a shining star in the metal world (due to his stint in Megadeth) Poland has fulfilled his musical dreams in various groups and as a solo artist.

On "Amino Acid Flashback" I hear Ohm: evolving in fact, I hear a band evolving into something special. Well, since I thought Ohm: were pretty special from the beginning I'd have to say that Ohm:, after hearing "Amino Acid Flashback" are perhaps something more special than originally thought.

With "Amino Acid Flashback" the greater intricacies and layers of musical action are more evident. As if the band's three musicians were operating on three separate high planes of skill it is the sum of the parts that creates a unique and thrilling entity in Ohm:. The songs on "Amino Acid Flashback" are taut exercises in creativity and stellar musicianship.

"Joog In Da Boot" is particularly impressive with its bass heavy underpinning, wildly inventive groove, and multiple intertwining riffs it just might be my favorite song of the year. "Icarus Falls," a track I became familiar with on the "Live On KPFK 90.7 FM" release, is equally good in the studio setting as the melodies leap through the speakers and demand to be heard. "Rooms Of Telemetry" reveals stunning technique and expert songwriting in one overwhelming whole. "What If " is a musical echo of the thought process of an individual meandering through the countless possibilities of a particular situation as it unfolds.

Ten of the eleven tracks are fairly short, yet Ohm: does something it has not done via a long track called "Spun" that is nearly 7 minutes long. "Spun" is a careful journey the combines bluesy shuffles with jazzy leads. Quite frankly the fusion genre is littered with long songs that try to do too much this is not the case with "Spun" as the track is just a song that takes twice as much time as normal to reach its natural conclusion.

Long-time tandem Poland and bassist Robertino Pagliari continue to amaze and delight. The addition of Kofi Baker on drums is a wonderful addition a perfect fit.

In closing it should be noted that Ohm: play with conviction, a daring sense of style, and the flair that few bands possess.

"Amino Acid Flashback" is highly recommended.

"Amino Acid Flashback" was produced by Chris Poland and Petar Sardelich.

Ohm: is Chris Poland on guitar, Robertino Pagliari on bass, and Kofi Baker on drums.

For more information visit http://www.chrispoland.com

"Live on KPFK 90.7 FM" (Lion Music; 2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

If Rough Edge readers have been following the varied career of Chris Poland (Megadeth, Damn The Machine, solo efforts, and Ohm:) they know Poland's career has gotten a lot more intense recently after a couple of guest solo appearances on two of Lamb Of God's most recent discs and a return to Megadeth for studio contributions on "The System Has Failed." However, it's plainly obvious that Poland's main gig these days is Ohm: in all of its fusion glory.

Ohm: returns with a number of songs recorded on, appropriately enough, Pacifica Radio KPFK 90.7 based out of Los Angeles (it should be noted that one song was recorded live on the air via Tony Palkovic's show at KSPC 88.7 out of Claremont, CA). Radio personality Mark Torres has made a habit, when his station's programmers have allowed him to do so, of having bands play live over the airwaves every Saturday night. In 2003 one of the bands to perform on Torres' show was Ohm: and this particular disc is digital proof of the night's performances.

"Live On KPFK 90.7 FM" features 11 songs of which 5 were released as studio versions on Ohm:'s self-titled debut CD. I can only presume at this point that the other 6 tracks will have their studio versions released at some point in the very near future.

The performances of "Came To Believe," "Peanut Buddah," "Iguana," "ID," and "Where's My Hat?" (all found on Ohm:'s debut) jump out due to their familiarity. However, the other songs (new to all of us at this point) are equally as good even if the sonic fingerprints have not yet been seared into our collective consciousness.

Here's one example of what Ohm: is like. Starting at the 2:14 mark of "Photograph" you'd have to pretty much swear that this particular live recording has to be a studio recording given the nature of the track's transition and the recording conditions makes you realize how special Ohm: really is.

Even if you are not particularly fond of jazz/fusion you'll be impressed with Ohm: and their stunning technical musical abilities and strong songs. The fact that these tracks are recorded live in a radio station's studio in one take to a two-track tape makes the proceedings all the more impressive.

"Live On KPFK 90.7 FM" is highly recommended for fans of metal, hard rock, and progressive music that appreciate a band with a unique sound, amazing abilities, and tight musicianship.

"Live On KPFK 90.7 FM" was produced by Chris Poland and Petar Sardelich. As previously mentioned the recording was basically done to a two-track tape that recording method does have its limitations, but the actual performance is captured in a crystal clear way. Of the three instruments it is only the recording of the drums that suffers in this way.

Chris Poland is joined by Robertino Pagliari on bass and Kofi Baker on drums.

For more information visit http://www.chrispoland.com

"OHM:" (Lion Music; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Chris Poland's jazz/fusion project OHM: has taken quite a long time to come to fruition, but it was worth the wait.

OHM: has a long history, but only recently put their musical efforts out for public consumption. OHM:'s self-titled debut is a collective effort by three musicians totally in sync with each other's musical muses. OHM: keep things narrowly focused by sticking to the fusion/prog rock genres. Now, this might not immediately appeal to most Rough Edge readers, but it will appeal to those that enjoy instrumental rock and instrumental albums.

OHM: gives their songs sturdy rhythm tracks and this allows for disciplined yet flowing excursions and the perfect launching pad for understated but inventive soloing. The disc's thirteen tracks flow seamlessly while remaining distinct in their own right. A lot is made of bluesmen and rockers playing 'in the pocket' and OHM: gives that phrase a new dimension. OHM: work the spectrum between playfulness and studied perfection without abandoning either extreme and easily showcasing their dedication to craft. "Search For The Suicide King" is probably my favorite track on the disc as it encompasses nearly everything that OHM: sound like they set out to achieve. "OHM:" sounds like a fully realized musical creation.

Whereas Chris Poland's solo effort "Chasing The Sun" covered a lot of stylistic ground, OHM: keeps it simple with some restrictions. Those restrictions probably forced the trio to explore all possible avenues for each song's final destination. Perhaps it was unfair of me to mention Poland's solo work, but I'm working from historical perspective of Chris Poland's evolution as a musician (Megadeth, Damn The Machine, solo artist, OHM:) and the fact that bassist Pagliari and drummer Eagle did make contributions to "Chasing The Sun." In any case, OHM: delivers the goods and I'm thankful that this album finally saw the light of day.

To sum it all up OHM:'s self-titled debut may not appeal to all of Rough Edge's readers, but it will appeal the music fan that can appreciate expressive music wrapped in technical skills.

"OHM:" was produced by Chris Poland and co-produced by Petar Sardelich.

OHM: Chris Poland on guitars, Roberto Pagliari on bass, and David Eagle on drums.

For more information visit http://www.chrispoland.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2005 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 14:16:13 -0400 .