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CD REVIEW: Niacin - Time Crunch
By Ben Ohmart - 11/25/2001 - 06:31 PM EST

Artist: Niacin
Album: Time Crunch
CD Review: Niacin is vitamin B3, which everyone knows promotes energy to the point of exhaustion. So does this progressive rock music. Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) created the trio to let his aggressive jazz/prog side show, probably to combat the formula-driven rock that the 80s was gliding through. I’ve been a fan from the first moment I heard Deep, possibly Niacin’s first release on the all-prog Magna Carta label. But this release might well blow the lid off any previous efforts.

High-intensity stuff that doesn’t believe in speed limits or the word Ballad. From the opening charge of ‘Elbow Grease’ through to the final hell-raiser of the Jan Hammer cover ‘Blue Wind’ there’s little left that’s slow and orderly on this disc. Love the funk, seemingly improv nature of ‘Time Crunch’ which rolls right into the guitar power of ‘Stone Face’ before you realize a track has gone by.

3 people - that’s all you need. John Novello (Chick Corea, Andy Summers) on keys is an especially good find. He plugs in the hard melodies of ‘Red’ (a King Crimson cover, if you don’t know!) with a skill that could rival the original, if sacrilege were allowed.

And don’t forget the constant rhythm welts of Dennis Chambers (George Clinton, Stanely Clarke) because there’s no better backing beat than ‘Daddy Long Leg’ and the drum solo that manages to lash out at God now and then.

All instrumental, all bone-breaking, all unstoppable - except at the 56 minute mark when the 11 tracks come to an explosive-corrosive conclusion. Only thing left to do is start ‘er up again and be very wary of the signposts ahead...

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