NIACIN - Billy Sheehan - John Novello - Dennis Chambers - "Eclectic Earwig Reviews Music and More for You!"    
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(October 25, 2005) Label: Magna Carta More info: This new power-trio release, (no screaming guitars here folks), smokes! Great keys by Novello, super bass by Sheehan and voodoo drums out the wazoo in overdrive by Chambers. Though sent many new "fusion" CDs lately -- I haven't been overjoyed or overly impressed to date -- but Niacin's Organik came yesterday and it kicks and grows on ya. It stayed spinning in the player a good while longer than most CDs that I receive. I really dug their Time Crunch CD release before this one and on Organik they have dipped into more of a prog rock & jazz roots vein. Find much virtuoso heaviness and density here. Some slo-go tunes -- yes, but overall jumpin' jivin' jams set the booty bouncin'. Recommended for Hammond B3 organ junkies -- bassists and drummers will so dig this scene as well. Axemen, buy it, spin it, plug up and practice to it. It's a perfect groovefest to jam with or to just hum riffs with. ~ John W. Patterson, Editor & Creator of
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: Time Crunch; (CD, 56:12) Magna Carta MA-9059-2, 2001 Cyberhome: This is a first for me. I open a demo package and am so impressed I begin the review before the CD is finished. This release is THAT important. Jazzers will dig this. Fusion heads will get into it. Prog rock fans will drool. Rockers will bang heads. And anyone who loves awesome keys, monster bass and slammin' drums MUST grab this. I received this CD and liner notes "naked" and I instantly assembled a fine jewel case for this gem. This release is so, so very dense, in-your-face, pumping, groovin', funked, slick, soul-fired jammin' and darn good fun. I was very tempted to do dashboard air-keyboards listening to this on the road. This Time Crunch has the punch, lushness, and full sound of ELP's Tarkus, (especially clear on "Stone Face"), U.K.'s legendary releases, and Derek Sherinian aka Planet X's efforts. Sheehan's bass work is immense, fluid, fast, and furious. Novello's keys are a surround sound experience with Jan Hammeresque lead fills and solos. Sheehan solos mean as well. Chambers is a solid powerhouse of relentless pummelings and graceful powerglides. This is eleven songs of near-perfection. And guess what? I enjoyed this CD immensely yet there are NO LEAD nor RHYTHM GUITARS herein. Wow! I must give this CD a 9.9 outta 10. Otherwise someone might think I wrote a biased review or something . . . time to hit replay . . . By the way, Niacin does two prog-fan-friendly covers; "Red" by Fripp and friends and the outro cut, "Blue Wind" by Jan Hammer. Alas, one very, very wee complaint: that psuedo-horn, mimed to a Miles-mute-Davis-cool, via a synth lead on "Daddy Long Leg" was an irksome sound-bank, voice choice. It sounded ultra cheesy aka fake. Don't use that setting on tour! I'd suggest instead that fuller Hendrixian-axe setting Hammer used on "Jetstream" off his Black Sheep and do the Jimi jive next time. 'Nuff said. ~ John W. Patterson, Tracks: Elbow Grease, Time Crunch, Stone Face, Red, Invisible King, Daddy Long Leg, Hog Funk, Glow, Damaged Goods, Outside Inside Out, Blue Wind Niacin: Billy Sheehan - Monster Bass, John Novello - Awesome Keys aka Hammond B3, piano, synths, Dennis Chambers - Lord of the Skins and phat kicks TOP PICKS Listen to samples & Buy CDs/DVDs here

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Niacin, Deep (65:37); MA-9048-2 Magna Carta PMB 1820 208 East 51st Street New York, NY 10022-6500 Cyberhome: The third studio album from this fusion power trio packs a two-fisted wallop and takes no prisoners. Billy Sheehan's bass solos on "Panic Button" and "Sugar Blues" are highlights, but in truth, much of the record is practically a bass solo. His sound is crushing - not unlike the fat tone Chris Squire used to get in the early days of Yes, but pumped up with even more gain. John Novello wrings astonishing sounds out of the Hammond B3 organ, and drummer Dennis Chambers gives every track enough rhythmic juice to power a small country. The instrumental cover of Van Halen's "Mean Streets" verges on silly, however. "Things Ain't Like They Used To Be" (not to be confused with the similarly titled Duke Ellington tune) isn't much of a song, and Glenn Hughes's guest vocal is overblown, but guitar ace Steve Lukather contributes tasty licks and a hair-raising solo. Niacin's sound can get a little wearying after a while, but if muscular, technically adept fusion is your thing, this is your band. ~David R. Adler

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