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Journey - Journey CD (album) cover

JOURNEY

Journey

 

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3.39 | 152 ratings

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Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
3 stars I must admit that I initially balked upon seeing Journey's inclusion on this website, but then I remembered their first few albums, how much I enjoyed them as a teenager, and how hypocritical I was thinking they did not belong here. If we judged every band for eventually becoming commercial, whether sooner or later, then we would find ourselves excluding Kansas, Yes, Genesis, and nearly every band that tread through the 1980s. Journey could have released many more progressive rock albums- they just got started a little later (1975). Early Journey was not only definitive progressive rock, but also highly enjoyable.

"Of a Lifetime" The quiet guitar that opens this album is repeated throughout the song, backed up by simple organ and a solid bass line. Greg Rolie's vocals are quiet and mystical in parts, in others, forceful and convicting. There is a different guitar riff in the middle of the song reminiscent of Pink Floyd, as well as a riveting solo to boot. The electrifying guitar solo at the end showcases Neal Schon's prowess as a musician.

"In the Morning Day" With a feel-good piano and organ introduction, not to mention the way the lyrics are sung and the bluesy guitar scattered here and there, this one brings to mind Peter Frampton. Everything after is a foot-stomping section with an uplifting guitar riff and organ and guitar soloing.

"Kohoutek" This is an instrumental, which has an electric piano riff a bit similar to Edvard Grieg's "Morning" (from Peer Gynt), but boasts soaring electric guitar and powerful drum fills. It begins like something The Alan Parson's Project might play (similar to Sirius), but evolves into something completely dissimilar and unique. Two minutes in there is a different riff altogether, still emphasizing the drums, and this time, it sounds more like Kansas's "Magnum Opus," even including a wild synthesizer solo. After a guitar solo, the piece fizzles out to reprise the quiet introduction. The ending is sudden but pleasant.

"To Play Some Music" This is a more conventional song, laden with organ, making use of a simple riff and lyrics typical of a seventies rock song. The second riff is much more creative than the first, and the organ and synthesizer solos midway through, not to mention a blistering guitar solo, is very good, if not just a tad uninspired. Speaking of Peter Frampton, there is what sounds like a talk box effect in one part of the song.

"Topaz" The second instrumental also begins softly, with calming electric guitar playing. It picks up in tempo and volume, alternating fiery electric guitar work over electric piano and softer jazzy sections. There is enough variation in the song to qualify it as genuine progressive rock, but it is without question an opportunity for Schon to run the show, and he does an excellent job jamming.

"In My Lonely Feeling / Conversations" This one is a bit of a cross between blues and R&B, with vocals and guitar work emulating bits of both styles. There are long instrumental passages, although this time the band is more in unison, even though Schon fires off some screaming guitar from time to time. The instrumental section suddenly gives way to quiet passage and soon ends; this one is a pleasing piece.

"Mystery Mountain" Here we're treated to a highly creative vocal melody over some fairly basic chords. Some of the guitar work gets stale quickly, so this time, it's Ross Valory's bass work and Aynsley Dunbar's drumming that shines. One criticism of this song (and much of the album as a whole), is that we are given some verses and then nothing more than music- it would have been more agreeable to have Rolie sing another verse later in some of these songs. Although "Mystery Mountain" is a great way to end this debut album, the song does taper off rather abruptly.

Epignosis | 3/5 |

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