Mahavishnu Orchestra – Apocalypse

1974 – CBS, Inc.


I found this gem at the record store the other day, for $4, so even though I wasn’t familiar with this particular album, I had to buy it. Mahavishnu Orchestra is awesome, and I have a few of their other records, but hadn’t heard of this one. Apocalypse features the London Symphony Orchestra playing with the band and it was produced by Sir George Martin! I love prog rock and I love orchestral music, so this seemed like a perfect album. After listening, I am not disappointed. Many times, if an artist uses an orchestra, they seem to use it as a background instrument, just to enhance parts already written. On Apocalypse, the orchestra is used differently (better in my opinion). The songs were written, or at least arranged, so that the orchestra is an integral part. If it were taken out, the songs wouldn’t work. This is the second lineup of the band, so no Billy Cobham unfortunately, but the drummer Michael Walden does a great job in his place. This album is a perfect mix of the raucous Mahavishnu, heavy orchestral punctuations, and creepy soundscapes. There is a lot to unpack on this album, and I’m sure it is going to take several listens to really appreciate everything that is going on. That is exactly what I plan on doing!