MCM (MASI / COVEN / MACALUSO) – 1900 – Hard Times

  • 9/10
    MCM (MASI / COVEN / MACALUSO) - 1900 - Hard Times - 9/10


Lion Music
Release Date: November 16, 2007

User Review
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It’s not unprecedented for bands to perform unannounced at small bars, clubs, and venues. A lot of times it’s under different monikers to allow them to “let their hair down” and perhaps get back to their roots. The whole scenario has a breath of being unscripted and allowing one’s self to let go. It’s under similar pretenses that the Jazz/Hard Rock power trio of MCM (Alex Masi/Randy Coven/John Macaluso) was formed. It’s even under looser pretenses that the trio has decided to release a live album as their second release.

1900 – Hard Times was recorded at different shows from around the USA and Central America. Perhaps it’s considered old fashioned to use the terms “jammin’,” “freestylin’,” or any other phrases that are loose musical interpretations of the word “spontaneity.” When these phrases are applied to Rock Music, it brings to mind one classic band that was a master at improvisation; that band being Led Zeppelin. Some of Led Zeppelin’s best live works are actually bootlegs full of live, off-the-cuff musical jams. It’s on the same plateau that this live MCM offering should be judged, considering spontaneity is indeed the key factor here. Guitarist Alex Masi himself concludes that 80% of the live material is improvisation.

The music offered here is all instrumental and falls into the Hard Rock/Jazz/Funk category. All twelve tracks are full of musical finesse, intensity, and technique and will most certainly be hailed by the strictest of music connoisseurs. This isn’t music you’ll find playing at a Starbuck’s “java house” or anything you’d hear on USA FM radio. It’s the kind of intense music that can’t even be adequately listened to if in an inebriated state; every note demands one’s utmost attention.

There’s a lot going on in each song and each of the three musicians shine with Randy Coven being the most enjoyable … not because his playing is above Masi’s or Macaluso’s performances, just because it’s not often listeners get to hear Randy “unleash” on a recording like he does here. Case in point is the opening “brontosaurus-like pummel” of “Raw Extremities” where Randy’s bass, with help from Macaluso, comes across like an impending thunderous stampede of a herd of galloping elephants. Of course, not to be silenced is Masi’s frantic solos throughout this track — pure energy!

Overall, the whole live performance is a treat! While all tracks don’t sucker punch like “Raw Extremities” and “Mutual Assured Distraction,” this release still manages to hit the charts as possibly the top technically challenging album in 2007. If any aspiring musician is finding it hard to practice and keep up with his daily musical studies, then perhaps a listen to 1900 – Hard Times might be all the inspiration they need to keep themselves motivated! Hopefully a DVD of these shows was filmed and forthcoming … they were taped, right Lion Music?


Alex Masi – Guitar, Loops
Randy Coven – Bass
John Macaluso – Drums


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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