Carlo DeShouten - "Jamming The Dragon" (Self-Released 1996, Cassette)
Purple Fire - "s/t" (Self-Released 1995, Cassette)
Strange Mage - "s/t" (Self-Released 1997-1998, Cassette)
From Aural Innovations #9 (January 2000)
Carlo DeShouten is a composer and lyricist from Alabama whose musical interests are varied, and we get a taste of this diverse world on these two tapes. The music runs a stylistic gamut from metallic spacerock, to Rush influenced rock, and on to Celtic rock instrumentals.
Purple Fire sees Carlo and band journey into heavy metal spacerock territory. The band consists, at various times, of Carlo on vocals, Jason "The Zilla" Trinchatella on guitar, keyboards, and synths, Barry Yaeger on guitars and efx, Craig Shaddix on guitars, and Chris Chambers on drums. Purple Fire's trademark sound is a slow droning metallic rhythm section and crunching guitar accompanied by keyboard melodies and a soloing rock guitar. There are some great spacey sections where the band is headbanging away while trippy synths are bleeping along with them. Very cool. Strange Mage is a duo project of Carlo as composer and vocalist and Barry Yaegar on all instruments. These are some more straightforward rock tracks which though standard are still good bluesy rockers and at times sound like Rush. There's only a couple songs from each project and I'd love to hear more, especially from Purple Fire.
"Jamming The Dragon", in a complete stylistic turnaround, is an impressive set of Celtic rock instrumentals (which Carlo also calls Fantasy Rock). I was a huge fan of the 70's Irish band Horslips and these songs really brought back memories. Carlo is the composer and the music is played by Barry Yaegar, Jason Speagle, and Rodney Blaxton. A rockin' and infectiously toe-tappin' Celtic beat provides the base for these tunes as the guitar (often dual guitars) play out their melodies. The guitarists don't shred but they can be mighty flashy when they want to. In fact, the guitar sound (rather than the style) reminds me of Glenn Phillips. Of the current Celtic rock bands Tempest is the one I'm most familiar with, and while Jamming The Dragon is comparable it has a more of a traditional feel to it.
For more information contact Carlo R. DeShouton; 1434 Goehler; Cullman, AL 35055.
Tracks from Jamming The Dragon appear on M&E Audiozine compilations Vols 4 and 10, and a Strange Mage track is on Vol 10. For info you can visit the Music & Elsewhere web site.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz