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Cowboys From Hell - Running Man

Cowboys From Hell - Running Man

Label : Double Moon Records | Archive under fusion / jazz

Release type: Full-length CD

Bart M. : When I saw an album by a band called Cowboys From Hell waiting for me in the mailbox, my curiosity was kindled. Of course, the first thing that came to mind was that somehow these guys paid tribute to Pantera (which is not the case), but when I read there was a saxophone involved I frowned at the thought of the combination. Anything is possible though.

My first impression was not a very good one. This music sounded like a kindergarten teacher had given her class a number of random instruments and had recorded whatever happened next. Extremely experimental, this is the kind of album that is mostly approved of by the best of the best of music critics. Not because it is such great music, but because it far surpasses the boundaries of what is acceptable, and other critics will tell you you just don't get it if you tell them you do not like this. Chaos, racket and nerves being drilled in a way that really only jazz can. That was my first impression.

There had to be more than this though, it must be impossible for three men to put their souls into an album and there being nothing to show for it. So I spun it a couple of times more and lo! From the seas of sonic chaos, a certain degree of order started surfacing. If I had to compare it to anything I would say this sounds a lot like 8-bit Atari music, but less fluent, with more breaks and uneasy twists, accompanied by drums, bass and saxophone. Not the sensual, seductive woman that the sax often plays in songs, but more like a dark, somewhat deranged traveler that frequently walks hitherto untrodden paths. The occasional sinister and fascinating parts are not enough to let the music rise above average though. My personal highlight is a dark, familiar, instrumental version of Chris Isaak's 'Wicked Game' (in my opinion one of the best songs ever written). It starts easy and builds up in an agonizingly slow tempo to halfway turn around into a heavy, wild version of the original. This build-up makes this song very representative for the rest of the album, because almost each of the songs has this chaotic beginning, resulting in a tight, sometimes very interesting climax.

So, an album that will be warmly welcomed by fans of jazz, fusion and anything experimental, and perhaps by some of the prog rockers among us. Who can rate this album themselves.

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