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Torman Maxt - The Problem of Pain: Part 1 CD (album) cover


Torman Maxt


Progressive Metal

1.57 | 39 ratings

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5 stars When I heard that Torman Maxt was releasing a third album entitled "The Problem of Pain, Part1", I was admittedly eager. I could sense from the title borrowed from C.S. Lewis' book of the same name that this would be a special venture worthy of a Part 1 and Part 2. The expectation was that this would be an album full of their most progressive moments musically and be summed up in their best work to date. As is most always the case when I've expected too much, I've set myself up for disappointment... not this time! Torman Maxt has delivered the goods on this project. Not since Rush 2112 has there been a concept album of this caliber.

I don't say that lightly. I'm also aware that the prog masses will fight me tooth and nail on this. Of course that is the beauty of progressive music - it's ever moving forward and so will it's definitions. I encourage the listener to not think of progressive music in the horizontal sense only, but rather consider the vertical elements rampant throughout this album. From counter melodies galore to layers pieced together like fine architecture... and it should come as no surprise that torman maxt's songwriter is in fact an accomplished architect.

Bottom line, this album is a piece of art. It's obvious a whole lot of thought went into every musical layer. Yet this CD offering is not comprised of tracks and singles. This is certainly one of those albums you will return to again and again, discovering something new every time you listen. The guys in Torman Maxt have taken on a subject that very few would dare cover. The concept is the enthralling story found in the Old Testament Book of Job... We've seen ad spots for this album where the thought provoking quote from Lewis' book is used:

"If God were good, he would wish to make His creatures perfectly happy, and if God were almighty, he would be able to do what He wished. But the creatures are not happy. Therefore, God lacks either goodness, or power, or both." This is the problem of pain in simplest form."

When listening to this album, get ready to be abducted by the brooding music. The guitar work is genius, every part is intentional, not one note or measure is "filler". Performed by guitarist/vocalist, Tony Massaro, The Problem of Pain is riddled with incredible use of styles, a defining element that makes for this being a very progressive album. The keyboard & sound textures sprinkled into parts of the album left me awe struck. These passages were not simple notes held out for intros. The sounds and textures were almost industrial while not losing form. The parts reminded me very much of experimental music. Dom Massaro, the band's bassist, utilized these sound textures to express what the music could not. The landscape of this album would definitely be desolate without his work. The drums carry the listener, not just the band. Cases in point are the interesting uses of a primitive beat on The Angels First Song (track 3) and then the precise rolls on track 13 that hit you like thunder claps in the sky.

Take a step back from the parts, see and hear this album as a whole. I had chills run up and down my spine, convincing me that this was "Job's Initial Shock" as Tony sang "I walk down this long hard road, and all I have is now gone". However, it wasn't just the vocal parts that were being belted out that demanded attention - the emotional "...and I am only the clay" as heard in Job's Resolve is simply moving. At times Tony reveals vocal influence that sounds Zep like, but will surprise you with a Jon Anderson of Yes feel too, all while driving home the original sound that belongs only to him.

To sum up, the Problem of Pain will drag you into downward spirals of music and then catapult you back up in a tornado of sound. The sudden changes in atmosphere will spook you at times, but will then revive your senses to new heights. The album ends where the story is just getting good, and I can only assume that the music will just get better too. Main songwriter Tony Massaro, directs the music of torman maxt like Scorcese directs a film... I cannot wait for the sequel.

Dale Juday

DaleJuday | 5/5 |


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