Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush- "Eye of the Storm" (Canada 2000)
From Aural Innovations #13 (October 2000)
This is the first studio CD from guitar great Frank Marino in 10 years. In this time Frank has become quite religious and has reached deep inside himself since his last studio CD back in 1990 (From the Hip). The titles and the subject matter of the lyrics truly reflect this. Was it worth the wait some will ask? Well, I will tell you first off that this is indeed a great rock CD with fantastic spacey psychedelic guitar playing but a CD you have to listen to closely. It was worth the wait but I would have preferred a shorter wait! The CD is 9 tracks and 72 mins long. Most of the recordings were done by Frank himself over the past 3 years in his Space Station Studios in Montreal. "Storm Warning" starts the CD and is a track mostly consisting of guitar sounds and some samples about the Gulf War, which leads into "Eye of the Storm", a fantastic number with some very cool Middle Eastern style playing and a long flowing building guitar solo. "He's Calling" is next and this has a fantastic flanged guitar riff and is quite heavy, perhaps reminiscent of material from Juggernaut. The guitar solo is just amazing and lasts for around 5 minutes flowing in and out and up and down. "Lesson Well Learned" has Frank playing some slide guitar and again has his early 80's feel but also a more Hendrixy feel in some ways. "Heat of the Moment" is one of the highlights of the CD and another very moving track. The beginning reminds me of the feel of songs like "Strange Dreams" and material from From the Hip. Then at around 4 minutes of this 11 1/2 minute song it enters into 1968 and could be the Doors. Excellent flowing psych jams. "Window to the World" has some excellent spacey guitar that sounds like it is processed backwards but someone on the net said this was a technique trick of Frank's and not studio processing! "Since You Came Back Into My Life" has an almost reggae beat to it but not quite and reminds me of the track "Mine All Mine" from the From the Hip CD. "Avalon" is next and this really reminds me of Material from the Mahogany Rush 4 and World Anthem LPs. A totally excellent jazzy instrumental which even includes an excellent keyboard solo by Frank. "Ordinary Man" closes the CD with very personal lyrics and a moving guitar solo. Excellent CD, one of the best of the year 2000 and although I draw comparisons to some of Franks older works, Eye of the Storm truly stands alone as a great Frank Marino CD.
Reviewed by Scott Heller