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Journey - Next CD (album) cover




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3.07 | 108 ratings

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4 stars In the first half of the Seventies two members of the Santana band decided to leave Carlos and make their own music: Gregg Rolie (excellent Hammond player and strong distinctive voice) and Neil Schon (unique heavy guitar sound, just listen to Every Step Of The Way on Caravanserai!). They founded Journey, along with Zappa drummer Aynsley Dunbar and bass player Ross Valory. In 1975 Journey released a highly acclaimed eponymous debut album featuring a progressive blend of different styles with a propulsive rhythm section and great work on guitar and keyboards. The successor Look Into The Future (1976) became a huge disappointment for me, it contains some good songs but too many mediocre and even weak tracks.

But on this third album entitled Next (1977) Journey seemed to have found their musical formula. Remarkable are the bluesy overtones, this fits perfectly with Gregg Rolie his a bit melancholical vocals and Neal Schonn his moving guitarwork. Like in Spaceman (biting guitar outbursts), I Would Find You (howling guitar in the end) and the final song Karma (wah-wah guitar). The great thing on Next is the development of the socalles 'early Journey trademark'. This means a slow rhythm and a bit sultry atmosphere that gradually becomes more bombastic, culminating in excellent interplay between Neal Schon his powerful guitarplay and Aynsley Dunbar his furious drumming. It's often layered with sensational Minimoog flights or spectacular biting-guitar/flashy Minimoog duels like in People and the great instrumental track Nickel And Dime, how exciting! The keyboard work by Gregg Rolie is very tasteful, ranging frommellow Fender Rhodes electric piano and bombastic Hammond organ runs to spacey keyboards (in the Vangelis-like intro if I Would Find You) and those aforementioned spectacular Minimoog flights. Unfortunately this was the last progressive album that Journey made. The charismatic singer Steve Perry joined the band and on the following 12 albums Journey their sound turned into smooth melodic rock. For me the musical journey was over.

The musical development of Journey strongly reminds me of other USA band Angel, in their early years they made an unique blend of hardrock and symphonic rock, with sensational Moog and Mellotron. The albums Angel (75) and Helluvaband (76) are Heavy Prog 'classics' but then Angel changed their music into harder-edged melodic rock. However, the difference is that Angel only got the status of a cult band for 'Heavy Prog aficionados' while Journey became a very popular 'stadium-rock' band, their albums sold millions and millions, don't stop believing.

TenYearsAfter | 4/5 |


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