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3 (III)
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Mastedon
3 (III)
Frontiers Records
2009
CCM/AOR
Mark Balogh
www.johnelefante.com
www.myspace.com/johnelefante
Rating:
4.0 stars

The third MASTEDON album, entitled "III", is finally upon us and those who are familiar with the first two as well as the main man behind the band, John Elefante, should be happy with its release. This album is not just special because it is a new release from Elefante but because it also features none other than ex-KANSAS player Kerry Livgren providing guitars throughout. Making appearances are also current REO SPEEDWAGON guitarist Dave Amato as well as Anthony Sallee (WHITEHEART), accomplished drummer Dan Needham and of course Johnís brother and longtime producing and songwriting partner Dino Elefante. With all these special guests itís just like old times in the MASTEDON camp!

"III" is a bit more laid back than the previous MASTEDON albums and probably has more in common with John Elefanteís solo works than the first two MASTEDON records. Still, if youíre a fan of Johnís, Contemporary Christian Music in general or just an AOR fan than you will find much to like about this record.

"III" opens with the "Revolution Of Mind" and the song has it all with a great chorus and crisp sound. Elefante sounds as good as ever and the song has pure class with itís AOR sounds. "Slay Your Demons" brings an ever so slight progressive feel wrapped in AOR stylings. The harmony vocals are great and just as the previous track; the guitar work is classy and tasteful.

Track three, "Nowhere Without Your Love", is a slower tempo number with a pure AOR-styled vocal delivery from Elefante. The Elefante brothers have always had a penchant for great songwriting with huge choruses and "III" has no shortage of that as evidenced on tracks like this. This track is an early favorite of the album so far for me.

"One Day Down By The Lake" is a progressive AOR epic, clocking in at just under eleven minutes long! The song has a KANSAS feel and with both Elefante and Livgren involved it should really come as no surprise! Itís a great track with glorious vocals from Elefante. The lyrics are certainly in CCM territory but overall and throughout the record they never detract from the music if by chance the CCM genre is not your thing. Personally I have never had an issue with CCM but I know some people just donít count it as their thing so I thought it was worth mentioning it here.

"Water Into Wine (Fassa Rokka)" is full out groove rocker with a harder edge than has been heard on the record so far. Itís not all that far removed from something you may hear from a band like RAINBOW! A cool track that adds balance to the record for sure.

"Questions (Itís About Time)" is a mid-tempo tune that brings the AOR sound back and the lyrics are thought provoking and although they could be tied to the Christian faith they are more about plain human faith that all should be able to relate to.

Further tunes like "Western World", which brings a DEEP PURPLE-ish Hammond organ vibe with AOR chorus and "Thatís What You Do" with its progressive-tinged arrangement brings back moments heard earlier in the record and really ties "III" all together. "Thatís What You Do" is another favorite of mine also.

As a bonus track you get the KANSAS ultra-classic "Dust In The Wind" and the version is just as good as the original even with itís slightly different arrangement but what really makes it shine is the impressive vocals turned in by Elefante.

In conclusion, if AOR with Contemporary Christian overtones is your bag than MASTEDONís ďIIIĒ will be a winner for you. Even if CCM is not your thing but you just love good old fashioned AOR (with the occasional progressive twist) than you should also look into this record.


Band Lineup:
  • John Elefante Ė Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
  • Kerry Livgren Ė Guitars
  • Dave Amato Ė Guitars
  • Anthony Sallee Ė Bass
  • Dino Elefante Ė Guitars, Backing vocals
  • Dan Needham Ė Drums

 

Track Listing:
  1. Revolution Of Mind
  2. Slay Your Demons
  3. Nowhere Without Your Love
  4. One Day Down By The Lake
  5. Water Into Wine
  6. Questions
  7. You Canít Take Anything
  8. Lying
  9. The Western World
  10. Thatís What You Do
  11. Dust In The Wind (bonus track)

 

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