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Max Webster - Max Webster CD (album) cover


Max Webster


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3.94 | 36 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Toronto's best kept secret.

Hard rock, progressive flavored rockers Max Webster here put forth a stunning debut. Known by many as label mates to the progressive giants Rush, this band has a lot to offer all on it's own. While in their native land of Canada this band has many hits and gets a lot of air play, outside of the country the band never really got the credit it deserved until too late. While perhaps not the most progressive music in the world, this is a band that will none-the-less appeal to many prog fans for the band's many subtle complexities and even some longer songs.

Onto the topic of the actual music, Webster's debut is a very strong piece. Likely one of the better albums to be put out by the band, this offering holds some truly wonderful tracks, along with some great party tunes. Opening with the rocker, Hangover, the album sets it's tone. Strong riffs and lush melodies along with a jumpy rhythm section paired up with the quirky vocals of one Kim MITCHELL make for a very interesting mix. While the rest of the album tends to mix in more hard blues than heavy rock this is still a pretty heavy album all around. Here Among The Cats is where this starts, except this song with some more pronounced keyboards. This is also about the point where the quirkiness of the album starts to set in. While this isn't a bad thing, if you aren't one for a bit of quirkiness, then Max Webster may not be the band for you outside of a few songs.

Moving onto to some slower bluesy songs, Webster still manages to keep attention. Blowing The Blues Away is a song with some great riffs and a style similar to that of American-rock-greats CCR. Though slower it still keeps up pace and mood, and is a very uplifting song in terms of music and lyrics. A great solo in the middle and we're on our way. Summer Turning Blue is likely the slowest song on the album. While not on the same page as the rest of the album the song is well led into, and as such doesn't feel too out of place. Good melodies and backing pianos make this song very worth listening to.

Then the album picks up again!

Back with the quirk as well. Toronto Tontos is a... freaky (for lack of a better word) song with some crazy lyrics, vocals, keyboards and melodies. Still one of the standouts of the album just for ''weirding-it-up'' (to quote Californian rocker Mike Palm of Agent Orange) this song is quite a treat, just make sure you're prepared for it... because it can definitely throw you off something fierce.

Making our way back into more traditional Hard Rock, and starting the band's fascination with the moon in Coming Off The Moon (Webster would have a song about the moon featured on each of their studio albums but one). Likely the heaviest song since the opener, this is a great track to rock out to. Following close comes Only Your Nose Knows which continues on the heavy and fast pace, this one with a bit more quirk as well.

So far no weak tracks, and the album starts to come to a close.

However, to throw in a curve ball, the last two songs on the album are probably the best! Summer's Up is a funkily paced song that induces tow tapping while the unique melodies can easily send a chill up one's spine. This song is fantastic! It's just far too bad that the track is only about two and a half minutes long, because one wants it to last forever. A great piano solo near the end and the song comes to a close. Then there's the album's opus, Lily. This is where the band is able to flex their progressive muscle. Starting with slow pianos and emotional vocals the song just picks up and up until it reaches multiple peaks, each one thrilling for the prog fan. Lush keyboards and guitar solos at each of the albums highest points make for an excellent addition as the song makes it's way through it's seven and a half minute duration. Excellent.

So, while they may not be truly progressive, Max Webster still manages to deliver great hard rock music that should appeal to most prog fans, assuming that they're not afraid of a bit of unusualness. Not a progressive masterpiece, but an excellent addition to your collection none the less. 4 stars.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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