Marco Minnemann is one of the most skilled drummers out there and has played with many amazing musicians like Necrophagist, Steven Wilson, The Aristocrats, Joe Satriani, Buddy Rich Big Band, Nina Hagen, Kreator, Eddie Jobson, UK, Paul Gilbert and on the critically acclaimed album, ‘Levin Minnemann Rudess’ ‐ including Tony Levin on Bass and Stick, and Jordan Rudess on Keyboards. This sophomore effort follows 2014’s ‘EEPS’, teaming up again with Lazy Bones’ recordings and Producer Scott Schorr. This record is a breath of fresh air in the over-digitized and saturated production schemes devoid of organic feeling and sound.
Celebration is essentially a progressive album without taking the terminology too seriously. It has so many elements that rise and shine and compete to hover over other equally eloquent elements that it is rather hard to not gasp at this body of work. Drums do not necessarily take the center stage on this record (unless you’re looking for it) and one should not expect that just because Marco Minnemann is such a boss on the drums. This record is quirky, with many eccentric interludes and pieces and I would liken it to a ride across an interesting topography of sounds.
“Miami” opens the album with mean sounding crunchy guitars complimented by frantic drumming and keyboard wizardry that is such a welcome contrast. The title track “Celebration” has got a more stoner-rock feel to it with a sweet chorus. We see 5/4 time signature shining through on “It Always Seems” with some really good lead guitar licks gliding over. The story-like concept feel is emphasized more with tracks like “March of the Living Dead”, “Ugly Sunrise”, “4000”, and a spoken-word song “Everyone Likes A Rainbow”. Steve Vai influences are dead strong on “Have A Great 3105” while other tracks have some of the most mind-blowing progressive rock drumming I have heard in a long time.
Highlights of the album for me have to be the 11-minute epic “Print Club” with enough passages and experimentation in it to keep me wanting more and the cheerfully surprising ballad “Greatest Gift of Life”. Although this album is a quite long with 17-tracks in it, it is woven quite well. The experimentation might put some folks off, but that is just a matter of individual tastes. There is a lot of Frank Zappa influence on this record along with all the other interesting sounds that have inspired the artist.
The most stand-out feature of this record is the organic feel to it. The drums are not heavily processed. There is no trace of heavy equalization or trying to make the sound as slick as possible. The guitar sound and tone is quite minimal but the playing is technical, moody and exciting. He has played all the instruments on this record and has mixed a lot of the tracks. To picture all of that is a bit difficult, given his crazy schedules.Just in terms of being able to release multiple records in a year and touring with multiple bands, Marco Minnemann is nothing short of a beast.
Any progressive rock fan will eat this album up and be satiated for days. It is a playful combination of prog rock, hard rock, funk-psychedelic, pop-rock and stoner rock influences with jazz and blues sprinkled over as garnishing. I would even go on to say that any music fan in general that is open to quirky sounds is in for a treat.
Pre-Orders At: lazybones.com
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