It’s been three years since we heard some amazing and brilliant sounds from the music of Ligro. One of the most mind-blowing trios from Indonesia that are carrying the powers of Jazz Fusion and Prog after the release of their 2012 second album, Dictionary 2. This year they are back again with their follow up entitled, Dictionary 3 released on the MoonJune label and it’s a knockout release for 2015.
With the release of their third album, the trio go into a deeper yet darker cavernous place that just send a shiver down my spine. It is a visual environment that works between the throttle and going on the ledge to see what is going to happen next on which direction they will go into. Guitarist Agam Hamzah shines brightly through his guitar improvisations. He isn’t just a regular guitarist, but he nails it each time he goes through the frets, it’s mind-blowing and raw.
And on the 14-minute opener, Bilker 4, Agam takes up a notch followed by guest pianist Ade Irawan, who goes through some amazing Jazz-like bebop reminiscences of Thelonious Monk and Oscar Peterson. It is a jaw-dropping moment between himself and Ade as drummer Gusti Hendi and bassist Adi Dharmawan help along to see where they are going into next.
Pentagonal Krisis is a 15-minute adventure. It starts off with a slow introduction before Hamzah moves into some ominous and darker twists while Gusti creates the tension on his kit to set the mood and atmosphere. Then, it builds up and up to let the nightmare begin. Think Amon Duul II’s Phallus Dei-era and King Crimson’s Starless and Bible Black & Larks’ Tongues in Aspic-era having a nice BBQ and creating suspense and terror of experimental jazz rock like no other!
Tragic Hero begins with Adi’s sinister bass line as Gusti and Agam go through the improv in the Crimson mode before ascending into a punching yet thunderous roar from Agam’s rhythm to reach the climatic storm. Hamzah really goes into town in the Mahavishnu Orchestra styles with a vengeance as the knives come out ready for attack mode but then he calms and does McLaughlin and Fripp-sque improvisations as Adi follows him on the Bass funk-jazz mode.
Now when I first heard The 20th Century Collaseu, my gut reaction was at first, this will give the trio a chance to take a break from the intense and cavernous pieces, but I was wrong. They come back into the action after a quiet movement for the first two minutes. It’s menacing, threatening and the “Wow!” moment has clicked my ears with a real jolt!
Gusti is really heading into town in a NASCAR sort of way as he takes his drums out for a fast-driven spin at 800 miles per hour whilst Hamzah is in the lead going for a dangerous yet savage guitar playing as the two of them along with Adi are in for the ride to know what is happening. This is a track that you really, really, really need to play this at Maximum Volume!
The closer, Lonely Planet is finally giving Ligro, a chance to relax after the thunderstorms have cleared. It’s laid-back with a melodic chill. Not to mention Agam’s bluesy twist through his solo and Gusti’s percussion that almost resembles the finale to Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan. But then the last 2-minutes of the track they close it off with an unexpected leap out-of-your-seat moment of the Metallic crunch! And that, for me, is a brilliant way to end the album on a high note!
Dictionary 3 is a chilling, powerful return for Ligro to give the goods and they brought it to the table with a dosage of intensity of Metal, Jazz, and Prog into a yummy hot and spicy Tabasco Burrito. Leonardo Pavkovic is almost very much, a Sherlock Holmes of finding amazing bands for MoonJune Records and the label never disappoints me when it comes to a group like Ligro.
So if you are ready for an intense journey into caves of metallic hard jazz-rock adventure, play this up to 11!