Timeline is a 2 disc set featuring live material culled from performances that represent two contrasting eras of a band who have been assaulting the world of fusion and progressive rock for over twenty years. “Brand X” have gone through their share of personnel changes yet guitarist John Goodsall and bassist Percy Jones have remained through thick and thin. The 1st disc “Live In Chicago 1977” features Goodsall and Jones along with drummer Kenwood Dennard, keyboardist Robin Lumley and percussionist Morris Pert. Here, the band performs rousing and spirited renditions of “X” classics such as “Disco Suicide” and “Nightmare Patrol”. Other pieces such as “Access To Data” and “Malagra Virgin” further illustrate the band’s keen penchant for integrating memorable melodies into ferociously rapid unison runs, along with Jones’ thoroughly lyrical bass lines, Goodsall’s blazing guitar work and Lumley’s tasty analog synth leads.
In some respects, the recorded sound on disc 1 may seem a bit tinny or metallic yet thanks to digital re-mastering and so forth, the sound is presentable whereas, it may not have seen light of day if processed through antiquated analog audio equipment. Essentially there are quite a few highlights although, at times Dennard and Pert occasionally collide as a drummer/percussionist duo but the exuberance and fiery interplay assists with the overall impact of these pieces.
Disc 2 of the set, recorded live in New York 1993 depicts the Trio version of “Brand X” consisting of Goodsall, Jones and power drummer Frank Katz. Highlights here are: Frank Katz’ extended slam drunk drum solo on the aptly titled piece, “Drum Solo” and Goodsall’s solo guitar version of “Healing Dream” which is culled from his recorded work with the devastating power trio who called themselves, "Fire Merchants”. Also of note is the blistering rendition of “A Duck Exploding” which can be found on “Brand X” 1992 release, XCommunication. In summary, disc 2 captures the Trio version of a band whom for the most part, remain unparalleled in the biz.
“Brand X” aficionados have reason to rejoice with the release of Timeline which is a worthy retrospective or as the title suggests, “timeline” that should fulfill the appetites of fusion-progressive rock lovers alike. * * * ½