Rock Company 2018
Multi-faceted Brazilian drummer’s festival of personal revolution, with guests on parade and rifferama on display.
Thirty three years in business may become a good cause for celebration for those who still remember the speed of a vinyl record, and Fred Mika would be hard pressed to forget it. That’s why the drummer moved to the fore from behind a few bands he was involved with to deliver a solo record, supported by singing guitarist Andre Adonis and no less than seven more vocalists who do a valiant job of creating a molten context for what amounts to a concept album.
Heavy as it is, “Withdrawal Symptoms” won’t induce headache but the record’s veering between darkness and light may cause a bit of vertigo that will be alleviated by the humorous likes of “Artwork Nightmare” that detail artists’ toil and trouble. There’s a warning, of course, in the organ-led intro “The Coming Of Symptoms” which welcomes the listener to this dark world, and in “Sly Side Effect” where hefty funk reigns supreme, but such solid slabs of hard rock as “Wired In” or “Dawning of Aquarius” provide a firm foundation for aficionados of vintage sound. Still, if the acoustic reading of “First Day Without You” from the repertoire of SUNROAD – one of Mika’s ensembles – is running deep, as any ballad should, “Miss Misery” is basically repeating NAZARETH’s original, while “Saints Spirits & Slaves Sinners” takes the AOR route and feel quite superficial.
But then, withdrawal can’t be easy and monotone; on that account, symptoms indicate the patient’s recuperation – facilitated by Fred’s music.