Monday, October 15, 2012

Bridge To Mars - JJ Marsh and Company Reach For The Stars

Bridge To Mars is a new project being fronted by JJ Marsh, and if their first demos are any indication, these Swedish rockers are going to be big news.

Marsh is best known for his stellar work as Glenn Hughes's guitarist for many years, but nothing he's done up to now quite prepared me for this. His playing is tough, taut, and imaginative. Almost unnerving is just how good a singer he proves to be. Powerful, melodic, and full of passionate soul -  where's this voice been all these years?

In A White Light first caught my ear with a compelling guitar hook, some incredibly cool bass work from Tomas "Pomma" Thorberg, and drum bashing (and finessing) by Thomas Browman that has me thinking of the great stick work by the brutish greats of '60s Britain - the names Mitch Mitchell, Ginger Baker, Bonzo, and Moon come to mind. If this sounds like hyperbole, plead me guilty, but this is great stuff. Marsh's guitar work is stronger than ever, and his vocals and lyrics are world class.

Remember - this is an unsigned band, and these are just demos (though I would put them out today if I were a smart label owner).

If you like pomp/prog/metal organ driven dirges by the likes of Vanilla Fudge and Deep Purple, they don't get better than River of Disillusion. Of course, the organ here is actually Marsh's overdriven guitars, but the opening riff is the heaviest, coolest intro I've heard in some time, bringing to mind the Fudge's You Keep Me Hanging On, Purple's Perfect Strangers, and dare I say it, Whiter Shade of Pale. Every time I put this clip on, I lose a half hour from repeated listening.

Soulful vocals, great tunes, excellent musicianship, and incredibly groovy grooves. Marsh and his cohorts are off to an incredible start, and I listen to what comes next.

2013 is going to have at least one great album if this is any indication.

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