Formed by guitarist John Goodsall (BABYLON, BRAND X, SANDOZ) and drummer Chester Thompson (ZAPPA, WEATHER REPORT, GENESIS) who recruited bassist/percussionist Doug Lunn for a first album, FIRE MERCHANTS combine the Goodsall/Thompson fire power with a metallic edge. The guys make a lot of noise, do some fantastic playing and have exciting grooves. Imagine a more aggressive and electric version of BRAND X and you'll have an idea of what they sound like.
They have released two rock fusion albums to date, a self-titled LP in 1986 (whose CD version contains an extra track) and a CD in 1996. The first (self-titled) consists of electric guitar improvisations with intense riffs and rhythms where Goodsall deftly shows off his pyrotechnics while Lunn and Thomson put down workman-like performances, getting the occasional spotlight along the way. This is an excellent album for those who enjoy electric guitar in a fairly heavy jazz-rock context. Their second album, "Landlords of Atlantis", is still fusion but leans even more on the prog-metal side. It is solid enough for fans of Goodsall's axe-work, in fact for the most diehard proggy axe-heads. This is MAHAVISHNU's "Birds of Fire" meets DREAM THEATER. It smokes!
If the idea of "fusion meets metal" turns you on, then you're in for a sizzler with those FIRE MERCHANTS.
Lise (HIBOU), CANADA ~ Progarchives
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