Released: 2003, Lion Music
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Michael Harris is a name I had never heard before receiving this CD in the mail. Not being a prog-metal fan, I approached it a bit jaded but was quickly won over. WORDS COLLIDE is the 5th solo album from Harris and the first featuring him singing. Harris’ playing is superb but his vocals won’t win him any awards. He has a very limited range with a rough edge similar to Paul DiAnno (ex-Iron Maiden) at times. At others, he sounds like “Weird Al” Yankovic (Don’t believe me? Listen to “Into The Spiral Rain”, as well as a few other songs when Harris tries to hit the higher notes). With the exception of the drums (played by his brother Brian), Harris plays all the instruments, wrote all the songs and produced the CD, as well.
“Wash My Soul Away,” “Mask of Deception,” and “Incarcerated” feature some great melodies and a very catchy chorus. “Mr. Strange” is a slower tempo track with an Eastern feel to it. The verses feature some excellent harmony vocals and the overall feel of this song is like it was “unplugged”. “Prosthetic Brain” is a bizarre instrumental track that leans toward Primus-influenced jazz-fusion mixed with some Dream Theater. That’s right…Primus, Dream Theater and jazz all rolled into one!! “Mandy Slang” has a 40s film noir/big band feel to it and Harris’ jazz influence is most evident here. “The Cozmic Desert” features a sitar and flute, and begins with a beat so close to Prince’s “When Doves Cry,” I had to check my player! The bonus track, “Coffee With Mozart”, features some Mediterranean-style picking on what sounds like a balalaika (**To our Greek readers: please forgive my spelling).
Yes, WORDS COLLIDE is a myriad of styles and draws from many influences and musical genres. Michael Harris is a creative and talented musician who has presented me with one of the most, well, interesting CDs I have heard in a long time.
KILLER KUTS: “Wash My Soul Away,” “Mask of Deception,” “Incarcerated,” “Mr. Strange”