T.R.A.M. Lingua Franca

Lingua Franca is the debut record from T.R.A.M., a "super-group" featuring Andrian Terazzas from the Mars Volta on saxophone, flute, bass clarinet and additional percussion; Javier Reyes and Tosin Abasi from Animals as Leaders on guitars; and Eric Moore of Suicidal Tendencies on drums. Many albums have attempted to act as a bridge between jazz-fusion and heavy music, but few have succeeded with the subtlety and listening pleasure of Lingua Franca. The quality of the instrumentation is absolutely replete with layered harmonies and inspired, courageous improvisation. There is also a playfulness to the album that keeps the braininess in check. T.R.A.M. clearly favour playing enjoyable music over sheer intellectual experimentation, so for all of the album's density and ambition it never becomes challenging past the point of pleasure. There is a moment in "Endeavor" that's nearly perfect – a distinctly progressive-flavoured and nimble-fingered guitar lead is at first gently accompanied, and ultimately overtaken, by soaring flute. Featuring music as cerebral as it is emotionally authentic, the bravery of Lingua Franca as a piece of jazz/progressive metal fusion is something to behold. (Sumerian)