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Kevin Gilbert - The Shaming Of The True CD (album) cover

THE SHAMING OF THE TRUE

Kevin Gilbert

 

Crossover Prog

4.26 | 108 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Ace Face
5 stars This album is one of the most intelligent, biting, emotional, powerful and amazing pieces of art I have ever heard. With Kevin Gilbert being a relatively unknown name, this is a big statement, but I feel it is justified, as is the five star rating. Kevin Gilbert is one of the most underrated artists I know, even on this site, where his magnum opus has only been rated 21 times out of all the millions of reviewers on here. He was a rising star who tragically died as he was becoming more well known, which ironically should have happened much earlier. However, Im not here to talk about the man himself, Im here for the music.

Parade: A jarring dissonant synth noise jumps in suddenly, but it gives way to a nice strummed acoustic guitar. Gilbert introduces Johnny Virgil, the fictional musician who sells his soul for fame and fortune. The listener gets an idea of Johnny's personality and desires, as well as his own musical influences. This reminds me very much of made alive from Snow, by Spock's Beard. The rain and synth sounds slowly mix again, and draw the listener into...

City of the Sun: A hard pounding rock song with some awesome synth blasts, reminiscent of King Crimsons sharp mellotron blasts. The lyrics contain a little foreshadowing, with a texaco station attendant conversing with Johnny about being a musician, and his own failed career way back when. Johnny is bored by him and kinda shrugs him off without a thought. The chorus of this song has an awesomely odd time signature, and is sung by a low, man choir, which I find pretty humorous. The more lyrical acoustic guitar interludes are slightly less indulgent than the main verse/chorus section, showing that underneath this cocky attitude Johnny has, he is still slightly doubtful of his talent and his decision to try and go mainstream. This is sung from a second person though, speaking to Johnny as if saying I will help you on your journey. The song ends with a voicemail recording from Johnny's dilapidated shack, which leads right into the messages left in...

Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men): A take on Gentle Giant's many different vocal melodies intertwined into one, but also a technique used in real musicals and operas, trying to create a feeling of confusion and chaos. This particular one is wonderfully done, with the many voices being voices of record company executives calling Johnny after hearing his tapes to try and make a pitch to him. Some of it is very outright rude, telling Johnny that his band is no good, he's the only good part, come to us and we'll make you a huge star. Johnny himself comes in to try and break the feeling of confusion and repeating statements from Parade. The song ends with a circus outro that is just ridiculous, and the weird noises lead right into...

Imagemaker: An odd collection of sounds set up the beat, with a voice on the radio speaking nondiscernable things. This gives way to the slick guitar riff full of heaviness, with the "Imagemaker" speaking in a monotone over another radio about how he's gonna turn Johnny into a star, and Johnny comes in with the powerful choruses expressing his desires for his image. A cool bridge comes in with some cool organ slides and hilarious lyrics, followed by the final verse, which is a little darker in its lyrics, and the two choruses are repeated. This song shuts off suddenly to give way for the delicate synth intro of...

Water Under the Bridge: A very contemplative, reflective piece about Johnny sacrificing his musical ideas for the fame and fortune brought on by the "A&R Men" and the "Imagemaker". The chorus is very sorrowful, and Gilbert's singing slowly crescendos as Johnny realizes what he's doing and tries to put it out of his mind. After the second chorus, a delicate guitar solo adds a tasty bridge to this wonderfully poignant song. After a short slowdown, the song kicks back into high gear for a final chorus and speed up jam. this slowly fades down and away, making room for...

Best Laid Plans: a bouncy acoustic guitar and piano jump into a poppy melody and beat, making for the catchiest song on this album, with good reason: Johnny Virgil has made it to the top, and its time to party! The lyrics are all upbeat, telling about other success stories, not all of them good in nature, but the melody makes us think that. The chorus is awesome, very well written, and provides us with some good messages with ironic undertones: everyone's a self made man, but Johnny Virgil is not? The irony only mounts higher with this line: "you can tell a big man by the company he fleeces, step right on up here son see how your wealth increases, get your Cross of Iron, get your 30 silver pieces." The bridges harks back to the intro, and the lyrics are more of a fantasy "circus of the best laid plans" where the kids run away from home to. A fantastic lyrical idea and delivery from Gilbert, accompanied by a powerful rock song make for a good juxtaposition with the next song...

Certifiable #1 Smash: The most direct, explicit, critical, and angry song I have ever heard, this song does its job well in that its not about the music: its about the ranting lyrics/singing. The riffs are very cool though, and help the lyrics out. The verses are all reminiscent of Joytown from Thud in that there are many pop culture icon references, but here they are in a very dark light, and Gilbert spits the words out as if they taste horrible, and most of the things are repulsive and ridiculous. The "certifiable number one smash" that has all these things is supposedly the same junk spewed out by other artists manipulated by their record companies into making the most ridiculous attention grabbing stuff that just sounds and feels empty. After the second chorus, Gilbert launches into the "video pitch" which is the culmination of the whole song, offending all minorities and religions, and then saying aaww no its ok, its only a VIDEO so its OK. At the end of the pitch, the Manager asks get it? yea? well if you dont... suggesting that Johnny rejects the idea as insanely dumb and ridiculous. After a repeat of the chorus and quasi-bluegrass section, the song brings its overindulgence to a close with some heavy, dark mellotron and guitar power chords. Overall, everything Kevin Gilbert hates about the music industry is poured into this song, and the result is a biting retort to everything MTV and Hollywood stand for. Now, the listener catches his breath before...

Staring into Nothing: a lovely piano intro makes us think this is a ballad, but the drums and sorrowful acoustic guitar melody remind us that this is Kevin Gilbert: he doesn't do ballads. The lyrics in this song tell the listener how Johnny has everything, but he feels empty, lost, spent. Johnny reflects on his fear of love and happiness when confronted by fans, and he puts on the face of "I'm larger than life, I never have problems because I have everything." In the chorus, however, he admits how his eyes are "staring into nothing at all." After the second chorus, he finally admits openly that he has become a shell of a human being, and everything that used to thrill him has shed its facade, and he sees it all as it is. The radio broadcast at the end foreshadows the rest of the story, with Johnny canceling his tour dates, and his "loyal" fans getting over their disappointment by indulging in the free "Johnny Beer" offered in exchange for unused tickets. This song ends with a jolt, and it jumps right into...

Fun: A funky yet somehow ironic groove underlies this song, a sad look at a rock star's social life: drugs, alcohol, sex, and more of the same. The vocal line is sung in a tired, depressed voice in a monotone that makes you hate the characters the singer is talking about. There's even a reference to Sheryl Crow, Kevin's old lover and music partner who left him for the fame and fortune offered by the songs Gilbert wrote for her. Johnny gets propositioned by numerous women in this song, revealing that he's probably hanging out with prostitutes, but he turns them down and takes more drugs. The chorus is the best part, with the word fun being sung with tongue majorly in cheek because none of this is any fun after all. Some slick sax riffs add to the funky groove, as does the wa wa guitar sounds. As it fades away, footsteps lead us into...

From Here to There: A saddening interlude where Johnny searches for something that is fulfilling, and desperately cannot find anything. The guitars and keyboards soar into the emotional heights, but they are brought back down with Johnny speaking "My mind is quiet and still" several times, and then the jarring drum intro to...

Ghetto of Beautiful things: A heavy guitar distortion riff combined with Gilbert's roar of frustration brings us out of the haze that was "from here to there". The lyrics fly from Gilbert's mouth with a level of anger and hate I have never heard in music. Lashing out at everything from pigeons to conformity, Gilbert's rage knows no bounds. The chorus expresses the desperation of Johnny: "I just wanted to work with my hands, see something go from A to B, and somehow I ended up in the Ghetto of beautiful things." The silly sounding synths remind me of the instrument Jack White solos on in "Icky Thump", and is a very nice touch to the chaos. My favorite part is the "F*&^ 'em all, this is art!" section. The last line is the most resentful: " I'm too late to be a slacker, it doesn't matter." It cuts out to reveal the beauty of...

A Long Day's life: Easily my favorite song on the album because of its power and emotion, the intro has some wonderful piano and singing from Gilbert, with Johnny revealing that he has nothing left, not even his hate that he spent in the previous song. Gilbert even uses that old adage: life is what happens while you're making plans. The chorus is soaring and achingly beautiful, and the verses and dream recollections tell us how Johnny is piecing his life back together, while the chorus is a plea to "love" to not abandon him and comfort him for once in his life. There is a lovely section after the second dream recollection with acoustic guitar solo and piano backing that is simply gorgeous. The fadeout of this song is merely the main theme on guitar with some epic organ backing it, flowing nicely into...

The Way back Home: Some awesome bongos and atmospheric keyboards/piano take the listener into the realm of porcupine tree. The lyrics are very intriguing, portraying Jesus as a random man on the street offers to help Johnny find his way back home. The rest of the lyrics force the listener and Johnny to confront their deepest feelings, and theorize about the existence of God, and simplify it all into "finding a better way". The driving chorus is a highlight, with a lovely choir backing Gilbert's anguished yells. After a soaring, searing guitar solo, Jesus comes back into the story, telling Johnny about how "love is the way back home"... giving way to...

Johnny's Last Song: merely a coda to the album, this song brings back the opening theme revisited in a more sorrowful mood, with Johnny reflecting on his past with regret, but eager to tell others of what he has learned, and it ends on the most powerful line I have ever heard in music: "Believe in what you're doing, remember who you are, and who knows where you'll go."

Powerful stuff. Thats all I have to say

The Ace Face | 5/5 |

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