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Apocalypse

4.4 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 5, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Second lineup from 1974 including John McLaughlin, violinist Jean-Luc Ponty & Gayle Moran, with the LSO!
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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30
4:13
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30
14:17
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7:59
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6:05
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5
30
19:19
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 5, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: February 5, 2008
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: SBME SPECIAL MKTS.
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • ASIN: B0012GMYCI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,780 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. E. Terry on September 8, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This work is one of my favorites and has remained so for more than 2 decades. In 1974, I went to see Mahavishnu Orchestra play in a small theatre in the round. The opening band was to have been "Poco", but they had equipment problems (luckily), and, as a consequence, Mahavishnu Orchestra came out early and played for more than 3 hours. It was absolutely sensational--one could say a real spiritual experience.
They played their new "Apocalypse" album in its entirety. John McLaughlin, who wrote the music, and the superb violinist, Jean-Luc Ponty, were extraordinary, as they are on the album. Drummer Narada Michael Walden was equally thrilling. The band's amazing bass player, Ralphe Armstrong, was only 18 years old at the time of the recording, and his playing was also dazzling. Gayle Moran plays keyboards and sings on "Smile of the Beyond", a delightful piece of music. The band was accompanied by a string quartet which managed to capture the power of the orchestral arrangement of the album, adding to the electrifying performance.
Michael Tilson Thomas conducts the London Symphony Orchestra on this album. George Martin, producer of the Beatles' albums, produced the album. The combination of these unsurpassed geniuses adds even greater dynamism to this tremendous work.
Listening to the album provides a deep and rich musical experience that may take the listener some time to acquire, but it is completely worth spending the time. The album leads off with "The Power of Love," a subtle yet powerful acoustic guitar piece, followed by the thrilling "Vision is a Naked Sword," a tour de force, truly momentous in its dynamism, reaching a crescendo as powerful as any in Stravinsky's music.
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Format: Audio CD
Ever the restless experimenter, John McLaughlin decided to soldier on after the acrimonious breakup of the first Mahavishnu Orchestra. He had an even grander musical vision in mind. First he put together a larger version of the band, and not being content to stop there, bought in the heavy artillery, known as the London Symphony Orchestra, tapped one Michael Gibbs to do the orchestral arrangements, enlisted the services of a young up and coming conductor in Michael Tilson Thomas, who had a taste for the adventurous and unconventional. And to cap it off, Johnny Mac enlisted the services of Beatles producer George Martin to capture this grand experiment on tape.

Did the bold experiment work? For the most part, it did.

We begin with "Power of Love", where the orchestra plays a quiet and somber understated theme as Jean Luc Ponty spins forth a haunting melody on his electric violin and McLaughlin adds poignant acoutsic guitar. But this is just a prelude to something very unsettling.

That unsettling something being "Vision Is A Naked Sword". Beginning with a rumbling gong, both the band and the Symphony unleash an ominous "Wrath of God" reworking of the main theme of "Dance of The Maya" and in doing so, nearly scaring the crap out of you, with Johnny Mac peeking out with his trademark scary dissonant arpeggios. From there things get even more jarring and intense, as J Mac and Ponty trade off phrases, Narada Michael Walden interjects and the band plays a fine game of volleying riffs back and forth before things draw to a terrifying orchestral close. WOW!!!!

Next up, "Smile Of The Beyond" is a attempt to lighten the mood after having the fear of God put in you. As the strings come in, Gayle Moran (the future Mrs.
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Format: Audio CD
If there were ever an album that needed a remastering to SACD or even to DVD 96/48 its this one. It deserves every last point on each of its five stars, save one. The recording quality is not that good. Theres a lot of hiss and the editing is sloppy in places (like some of the cuts between the band and the orchestra). Other than that, it is of my top 5 favorite albums out of a collection of close to 1000. It is definitely of the most deeply spiritual recordings ever made (up there with Kohntarkosz by Magma, and A Love Supreme by Coltrane).
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Format: Audio CD
This is version 2 of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, which recorded two ablums (this and Vision of the Emerald Beyond) and toured mostly intact (sometimes as warm up for Jeff Beck in his jazz stage). They sound nothing like the original quintet and John McLaughlin is the only member in both versions. This version features Jean Luc Ponty, Ralphe Armstrong and Micheal Walden. This album is nothing like anything John McLaughlin has ever done, including the follow up Vision of the Emerald Beyond. On this album, the band, which is big enough to be an orchestra on its own, is backed by the London Symphony Orcherstra. The result is a fantastic, complex and lush sound. The 20 minute Hymn to Him is an amazing, complete composition, featuring incredible duets between orchestra and guitar. This album does include some vocals, which help make Smile of the Beyond a stunning 8 minute track (it was even more impressive played live). This being a jazz album over 50 minutes in length and featuring an orchestra, it might be expected to drag in some parts. But all of the compositions are strong and varied and it only slows down a little bit during Vision Is a Naked Sword.
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