What does it sound like?:
Following the demise of Colosseum, Jon Hiseman returned in 1975 with, unsurprisingly, Colosseum II, featuring Gary Moore, Neil Murray, Don Airey and Mike Starrs. Following lukewarm reaction to their first album in 1976, Murray and Starrs were ousted, and two more albums were released in 1977, this one being the latter of the two, and also the band’s final recording.
This is apparently the first time War Dance has been officially released on cd in the UK, although it rather disappointingly has no bonus material, not even any BBC sessions, which I seem to very vaguely recall – unless my mind is playing tricks on me of course.
The sound is heavier than the ‘original’ Colosseum albums, being dominated by Moore’s guitar, and often veers into fusion territory. Indeed, all the tracks apart from one are instrumental efforts. The strongest piece is Fighting Talk, which even throws in a quite a bit of a prog influence into its six minutes, while The Inquisition and Star Maiden are pretty good too. Indeed, if the album has a hallmark, it is the inventive improvisation and interplay between Moore’s guitar and Airey’s keyboards.
However, 1977 wasn’t the ideal time to be producing this type of music in England, and, as it fell on stony ground, it was to prove to be the band’s somewhat premature swansong. Moore of course went on to far greater things with both Thin Lizzy and his subsequent solo stuff, while Airey is now on the keyboards for Deep Purple.
What does it all *mean*?
I expected there to be more long pieces on the album, giving the band the chance to really stretch its legs, but disappointingly there’s nothing above the six minute mark, leaving something of a feeling of unfulfilled promise.
Goes well with…
Air guitar with furrowed brow.
Might suit people who like…
Brand X, Return To Forever.