Mahavishnu Orchestra
Birds of Fire


5.0
classic

Review

by BirdsOfFires USER (5 Reviews)
January 16th, 2005 | 99 replies


Release Date: 1973 | Tracklist


Formed in 1970 by McLaughlin, per recommendation by Miles Davis, Mahavishnu Orchestra was the first truly Jazz-Rock group. They combined Indian Rythms with Jazz, complete with blazing riffage and insane soloing.

Here is a track by track analysis of Mahavishnu's groundbreaking album Birds Of Fire.

Although 1971's Inner Mounting Flame was possibly more controversial, by Birds Of Fire, Mahavishnu had honed themselves into a much more incindiary group, truly Birds Of Fire(s). 15 weeks on the charts followed, as well as grammy nominations.

Birds Of Fire
The album's first and title track, this song wails. Starts out with a basic riff in 9/8, then culminates early with McLaughlin and Goodman doubling up on the incindiary riff that's the back bone of the song. Blazing solos follow, with a completion after 5 minutes of jaw-dropping musicianship. This song gives a feeling of soaring and possibly never ever playing guitar again because it's just not fair that McLaughlin's THAT good.
9/10

Miles Beyond
This second track starts with an almost In A Silent Way vibe (hence the title), but it's a serious jam song. It's one of the strongest on the album, shown as soon as Goodman's riffage comes in. As repeated countless times on this album, McLaughlin's compositional skill is enviable, and his ability to overlap parts in conflicting times is absolutely mind-boggiling.
9/10

Celestial Terrestial Commuters
By far the albums most flashy song, it's in 19/8 time. The is one of those songs that's so amazingly technical that it's simply difficult to listen to, because it's just so hard to tell what the fuck McLaughlin and company are doing. This song is sonic embroidery, something that members of Mesugga, Dream Theater and Planet X have obviously listened to obsessively. This song starts with the "basic" groove, which really isn't very basic at all, and climaxes in an incredible trading off between McLaughlin and Goodman of riffs.
10/10

Sapphire Bullets Of Pure Love
Although at first listen this song is nothing but white noise, it's actually McLaughlin's first experimentation with a guitar synthesizer. That being said, it's really not that exciting. Interesting, but not fantastic. A decent filler though, but it's the albums only downside.
3/10

Thousand Island Park
The prettiest thing Mahavishnu ever did, this song, despite the exterior shell of almost cheesy diatonic beauty, is insanely technical. McLaughlin's finger style gives DiMeola a raping. Not my favorite song on the album, but it's really good. Very flowing, almost lyrical, despite the instrumental nature.
8/10

Hope
Surreal is the best word for this track. Synthesizer with violin and finger style guitar, with plenty of cymbal crashes make this an extremely successful song. Abosluetly nothing wrong with it, but it's not the strongest song on the album.
9/10

One Word
Hands down the strongest song on the album. Starts off with just a simple bass lines, but launches into something best described as epic. Over a truly driving riff, each member of the band takes a solo. Goodman simply shreds, making the listener think that nothing could show it up. Then comes Cobham and Laird, and well, all I can say is that Cobham is one of the best drummers ever. He's simply insane. Laird is no Jaco, but he's a seriously solid bassist, and can lay down a mean solo. Then comes McLaughlin and all I can say is "wow". He starts, time and time again, a soulful, firey riff that builds to such speed at such a rapid pace, and then continues to build, and continues, and finally finishes in something that makes Steve Vai look like a fool. Finally, the whole band joins back in, and culminates this seriously fiery song.
10/10

Sanctuary
Eeire. Strange. Out. But very very very soulful. This is a song to put in the category of "That's the Way" (Zeppelin) and "Behind Blue Eyes" (The Who) as a soft song on a rocking album that's almost more moving than any solo-fest or groove-fest. It's an amazing song, with a huge amount of emotion. McLaughlin's composition shines through again.
10/10

Open Country Joy
Lives up to it's name. It's a free song, a firey song, and a real "Birds Of Fire" song. It's a groove, but we see the side that McLaughlin and Goodman have been hiding until now. The more Hendrix or Gilmour side, of much more free soloing. Really letting out the gain, and holding bends and playing some seriously soulful stuff. Starts out as an almost country-oriented song, but then the incindiary soloing comes in. Another classic.
10/10

Resolution
Slightly slower, but it really shines. It's definitely a resolution to this album, and has more of a feel of the soon to come Last Trident Sessions.
9/10

This album speaks for itself. It's truly great. I can't even begin to explain the effect this music has had on me. Get your hands on it!!


user ratings (370)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
Killerhit (4.5)
It's not Prime Time, but it'll do....

sonictheplumber STAFF (5)
...

Tyler Fisher EMERITUS (5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
manuscriptreplica
November 17th 2003


431 Comments


19/8 time! holy ****!

ive heard birds of fire before (Bobby Shew did a version of it) but unfortuanely i couldnt get a hold of any songs off kazaa so i will get it off my fried who is madly in love with them. nice review nonetheless.

Frodo
November 17th 2003


17 Comments


Thanks so much for getting me interested in this album BoFs. After reading this I went and asked Dad if he had heard of John McLaughlin, he said he was a big fan, and went on to say that he actually bought this album on vinyl when it was released in 1973! And sure enough when I looked through his old record collection it was there, so now I've got an original copy of the album on vinyl.

Wonderful review. Great detail.

Keep the Jazz/Fusion reviews coming.

savarious
November 17th 2003


14 Comments


Great review. :thumb: This album blows me away every time I listen to it.

TonyChoyIsGod
November 17th 2003


6 Comments


One of the best albums I own

Cant stop listening to it.

BirdsOfFires
November 18th 2003


92 Comments


Originally posted by Frodo
Thanks so much for getting me interested in this album BoFs. After reading this I went and asked Dad if he had heard of John McLaughlin, he said he was a big fan, and went on to say that he actually bought this album on vinyl when it was released in 1973! And sure enough when I looked through his old record collection it was there, so now I've got an original copy of the album on vinyl.

Wonderful review. Great detail.

Keep the Jazz/Fusion reviews coming.


I'm doing Inner Mounting Flame next so no one else do it. :angry: :o ;)
Also, doing some Miles Davis and maybe some things I have on vinyl.
Speaking on vinyl, I have my dad's copy of Inner Mounting Flame that he bought the day it came out. Wanna know how he knew about them?
Yes, he saw The Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, approximately 5 months after they formed.

Wish it had been me .

Heh.

TonyChoyIsGod
November 18th 2003


6 Comments


Your dad = Super :cool:

mutilator
November 19th 2003


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Originally posted by BirdsOfFires
I'm doing Inner Mounting Flame next so no one else do it. :angry: :o ;)
Also, doing some Miles Davis and maybe some things I have on vinyl.
Speaking on vinyl, I have my dad's copy of Inner Mounting Flame that he bought the day it came out. Wanna know how he knew about them?
Yes, he saw The Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1971, approximately 5 months after they formed.

Wish it had been me .

Heh.
Great review BoFs and a great album.

This is actually the third time I'm gonna ask this in the last week (I apologize to everyone for that), but seeing as how you're very familiar with Miles Davis' work, do you by any chance own A Tribute To Jack Johnson? And if you do, would you recommend buying it?

BirdsOfFires
November 19th 2003


92 Comments


Sorry, I'm actually not familar with it. I'll ask my dad later though.

~Thy Trooper~
June 8th 2004


2 Comments


This album is amazing. BoF sent this to me ages ago and I can't believe I didn't review it. It is truly a masterpiece.

5/5

owlandtree
July 17th 2004


47 Comments


Mahavishnu Orchestra was a great showcase of talent. John McLaughlin always blows my mind. This was also a very important piece of music history. Birds of fire expanded "jazz-fusion" to a broader audience. Mahavishnu lifts you to another paradigm with this album.

Distorted Vision
July 17th 2004


184 Comments


I got the album due to this review, so thanks BoF. Excellent example of jazz fusion, the use of Goodman's violin in particualr impressed me.

ZEROthirtythree
July 17th 2004


234 Comments


Right Now

1. Hymn 43 - Jethro Tull
2. Bad Girl - Usher
3. QOTSA - Feel Good Hit Of The Summer
4. Pixies - Bone Machine
5. Smashing Pumpkins - Siva
6. Jeff Buckley - Halleluja
7. Outkast - Ghetto Musick
8. Opeth - The Leper Affinity
9. REM - Nightswimming
10. Mahavishnu Orchestra - Celestial Terrestial Commuters

My musical taste > Yours

rhoadswannabe
August 11th 2004


1 Comments


Does John "shred" on this album.

Det_Nosnip
October 25th 2004


374 Comments


Actually, I interpreted BOF to be 20/16 or 20/8 (8+12), and "Celestial..." is most definetly 19/16, not 19/8. Although you can theoretically phrase it either way, it makes alot more sense as a /16 meter, as it's basically 4/4 with an extra 3 16th notes on the end. Other than that, great review! "Sanctuary" is my favorite track off of the album. I remember that the first time I listened to it, I was in my school's library, with these giant headphones on, making the whole atmospheric feel work really well. That song hit me SO freakin hard, though...if I were standing at the time, I have no doubt that I would have hit the floor. :lol: One of the most powerful pieces of music ever recorded.

ZEROthirtythree
October 25th 2004


234 Comments


I donwloaded "Celestial Terrestial Commuters." Good song. :thumb:

Iai
Emeritus
October 25th 2004


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I must say, every time a review by BirdsOfFire is bumped, I'm impressed with how good they are, considering how old they are.

I need this album.

Mekkalayakay
October 25th 2004


167 Comments


Birds of Fire sent this to me ages ago before he left, and I still listen to this cd frequently to this day.

Tangy zizzle
October 26th 2004


253 Comments


I have this on vinyl, it's one of my favourite pieces.

This is a totally mindblowing record.

sensitiveorgan00
October 26th 2004


41 Comments


Such a great cd. Teh gong in BoF > everything. :D

EddieVanHalen007
October 26th 2004


26 Comments


This album proved Mclaughlin is the man.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy