How do you review a John Zorn album? This is the question I find myself asking this slab of wonderful weirdness, that for him is more accessible than his classic "Naked City" album. He has put John Medeski together with the guitarist from Cleric, who I had no clue could shred like this. Yes thats right it's the dude from Medeski, Martin and Wood, playing with a dude from a metal band. I wonder what Medeski thinks about the chug that opens "Marmarath" which at just over five minutes proves to be economic for the type of jamming he is use to. While this is pretty cool, I don't really hear Zorn on this one. It's mainly Medeski soloing over the crunch. There is more Crimson and Zappa influence on this one than what you normally here from Zorn. Though your really stupid friends might try to compare this to Dream Theater.
"Snakes and Ladders" shows that yes before Mr. Bungle was imitating the jumbled kitchen sink of disjointed jazz Zappa played with, Zorn was doing it. Here though such lines are not as evident. It almost reminds me of the Black Sabbath album where all of Tony Martin's vocals were harmonized n a way to make him sound like Alice In Chains. This is redeemed by the more original groove to "Alterities" . This is jazz , but moving with snake like sinew in South America. Before the obnoxious "yyz" like accents bang in and things get noisy. "Paradigm Shift" brings in a thicker Tool infused syncopation before blasting off into something more metal. At times it just needs Maynard chanting in the back ground" Letgotoletgoletgotoletgo" .
The album ends with the twelve plus minutes of the "Divine Comedy". It only takes a minute for the deliberate metal riff to come in, then the keys and guitar combines their dazzling powers to float you away and drop you back down into the jazz Odyssey. Yes, the puppets were supposed to be opening up. At the seven minute mark there is a nice melodic section and you begin to think perhaps this album wasn't just about Zorn watching these guys jack off. The actual elements of a song appear again making this one of the pieces that most closely resembles a song, even though this is Zorn's most accessible work, even when he drifts into the Twilight Zone. This might not be Zorn's most original work and it could use more of him actually playing, rather than just being the puppet master, but it is better than the bulk of the prog coming out today so I will give it as 9 as you have to respect every one on this album and Medeski's playing is pretty inspiring.