“If this is prog-rock, it’s progressive music with sharp teeth, making serious demands on most listeners.” – Jason Gross and Steve Smith
“Rating: Aces/ hands down classic / Head-spinningly complex prog-rock of the highest order.
Among the vanguard of groups riding the crest of a largely unheralded contemporary avant-progressive tsunami, Denver’s Thinking Plague stand out in bas-relief….the manner in which Thinking Plague…have condensed only the most fertile (and often the most pulverizing) aspect of he last 30 years of progressive exploration into an nth-degree endgame is nothing short of awe-inspiring. On In Extremis… these unsung geniuses have channeled the crushing fury of King Crimson, the existential angst of the Art Bears, the dense contrapuntal irregularity of Henry Cow and the pitch-black angularity of Present into a disquieting concoction whose ceaseless paroxysms of unabated intensity are tempered only by “Les Etudes D’Organism“’s disturbed diversion into perversely cheerful and structurally perverse circus music.… a relentless tide of head-spinning complexity…wildly shifting plates of sound. …for those who enjoy rising to the challenge…the feverish surfeit of spellbind ideas investigated here are almost without precedent.”
– Eric Lumbleau, Alternative Press, v13, #126, Jan 1999
Founded in 1982 by Mike Johnson and Bob Drake, Thinking Plague have been a continuous presence in the underground since then, although many years have elapsed between recordings, and only Johnson remains from the original line-up.
When a band has gone 9 years between releases, I suppose it’s fair to call this new release „greatly anticipated“! In Extremis includes leader/composer Mike Johnson, Bob Drake, Dave Kerman as well as a host of new names, all of whom turn in tremendous performances on vocals, guitars, multiple reeds, accordion, keyboards, bass, drums and more. Tuneful, well composed & strongly structured, this is very much in the vanguard of the RIO art-rock song style, along with peers such as U Totem, the 5uu’s & the Art Bears.
Mike Johnson – electric, acoustic, nylon string & 12-string guitars, lap-steel guitar, synthesizer, computer, sequencing
David Kerman – drums, percussion
Mark Harris – soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxes, clarinet, flute, bass clarinet
Deborah Perry – vocals
Dave Willey – bass guitar (on 1, 2, 5, 7), accordion
Shane Holte – piano and synthesizers (on 4, 5, 7), mellotron (7)
Bob Drake – bass guitar (on 3, 4, 5), violin (on 3, 4), voice (on 3) electric guitar, banjo (4)
Kirk Jameson – bass guitar ( 7)
Kim Marsh – piano & synthesizers (1, 2)
Sanjay Kumar – synthesizers (3)
Scott Braziel – piano & synthesizers (6)
Mark Fuller – drums (5)
Katie Cox – violins (5)
Mike Fitzmaurice – double bass & erhu (6)
Kirk Benjamin – trombone (4)
Produced and engineered by Mike Johnson and Bob Drake. Recorded 1992-1998.
Mixed by Bob Drake.
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