Strange New Flesh

Artist: Colosseum II
Label: Bronze Records
Catalog#: 27 213 XOT
Format: Vinyl
Country: United Kingdom
Released: 1976
A1 Dark Side Of The Moog 6:17
A2 Down To You 9:02

Written-by [Instrumental Centre-section] - Don Airey

A3 Gemini And Leo 4:47
B1 Secret Places 3:57
B2 On Second Thoughts 7:23
B3 Winds 10:23

Bass - Neil Murray
Drums, Recorded By, Producer, Directed By - Jon Hiseman
Guitar, Vocals - Gary Moore
Keyboards, Clavinet - Don Airey
Producer - Colosseum II
Vocals - Mike Starrs

Strawberry Bricks Entry: 
Drummer Jon Hiseman and bassist Mark Clarke initially auditioned Irish guitarist Gary Moore, formerly with Thin Lizzy, for a new version of Tempest. Clarke opted out for Natural Gas; and due to record company pressures, the band was rechristened to the more sales-worthy Colosseum II. Featuring the talents of bassist Neil Murray, keyboardist Don Airey and guitarist Moore, and now veering away from heavy rock, Colosseum II would record a trio of perfectly serviceable fusion albums, with 1976's Strange New Flesh arriving first. "Dark Side of the Moog" kicks off their debut in fine fashion: a dark, heavy instrumental number, it exhibits all the strength one might expect from the lineup. Both Moore and Airey are virtuosos, and there's no shortage of their play. But from there, the remainder of the album takes a turn, by way of vocalist Mike Starrs. The Joni Mitchell cover "Down to You" features his high tenor, though it's the Airey-penned middle section that soars. "Gemini and Leo" offers a typical mid-70s funky groove, punctuated by Airey's keyboards and a convincing vocal from Starrs. "Secret Places" and "On Second Thoughts" occupy a place not far removed from Argent's contemporary work. The finale, "Winds," again provides ignition for the band's prowess, and in epic progressive form. Murray wouldn't last (he was off to National Health) and Starrs left for Lucifer's Friend. Bassist John Mole would join for the band's final two albums, both released in 1977, but all were remarkably unremarkable. The band (with Rod Argent) appeared en masse on Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1978 album Variations, a highly successful and curious combo of classical (Paganini's 24th caprice) and rock music. Following Moore's return to Thin Lizzy, the band split before a fourth album could be recorded. Airey would join Blackmore's Rainbow, while Mole would move to sessions and further work with Webber. Hiseman would leave the rock area behind, opting for his own studio and soundtrack work with wife Barbara Thompson.
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