Niacin - Deep - 2000


"Deep" is the fourth work of the American band Niacin, formed by three musicians with a long musical career such as John Novello (Edgar Winter, Chick Corea), Billy Sheehan (Talas, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big) and Dennis Chambers (Stanley Clarke, Steely Dan, Parliament/Funkadelic, James Brown). The purpose of Niacin, besides offering good and mainly instrumental music (there is only a vocal piece), is to recover and modernize progressive blues sound that was so popular at the end of the 60s. Their method includes a basic trio of keyboards, bass and drums in which it is worth highlighting the great sound contributed by the Hammond B-3. Those fond of this instrument should listen to this disk immediately.


The musical references of "Deep" are located in the frontier of blues and progressive rock, although there are evident influences of the world of jazz and fusion. We are speaking of bands and classic musicians as Colosseum, John Mayall, Alvin Lee and the proto-prog of Cressida, Beggar's Opera or the more bluesy sounds of Greenslade. The sound is dynamic and powerful, distilling a lot of energy in some instrumental rides present in the album.

The first piece is titled "Swing swang swung" (3:38) which introduces us in the torrent of sounds of the group, highlighting –as in the whole album- the excellent instrumental combinations of the trio, with great presence of the bass and the Hammond. "Best laid plans" (4:25) is a more relaxed track based on the evolution's of the piano and the organ, while "Sugar blues" (5:50) remits us directly to the sound of the seventies. "Stompin' ground" (5:03) has great interventions of the guitar and a dynamism that evolves in crescendo. "Blue hulls" (5:56) is a hard piece that remits us to the classic sound of bands as Deep Purple, Uriah Heep or Atomic Rooster, with tons of Hammond and a powerful syncopated guitar that becomes one of the jewels of the album. "Panic button" (5:37) could be have included in the wonderful Those who are about to die salute you of Colosseum. Again we highlight with golden letters the bassist's bestial work.

"Bootleg jeans" (7:00) follows the musical patterns of the previous piece, maybe with more presence of Hammond sounds. The following track, "Mean streets" (5:37), is the classic version of Van Halen taken to the Niacin sound and, in spite of not being directly comparable, the piece shines. "This one's called…" (3:46) and "Klunkified" (2:58) are two instrumental rides, complex and vibrant. "Ratta McQue" (3:48) presents a dynamic Hammond, a killer bass and diversity of instrumental passages. The following track, "Things ain't like they used to be" (7:25) is the only vocal piece of the album, with the star collaboration of the singer Glen Hughes, who does an incredible work, and guitarist Steve Lukather (Toto). The piece moves more into the blues direction of the first Gary Moore -the good one - and becomes another of the gems of the album. The work concludes with "Bluesion" (4:18), a bonus track that moves in the Niacin sound pattern already described.


The conclusion is clear. If you like the progressive blues sound and the bands that have been named in this review, listen to this album, as you will love it. Dynamism, rhythm, power and instrumental plasticity in a great work with personality.

author - date - rating - label

progVisions - June 2000 -   - Magna Carta