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Journey - Arrival CD (album) cover

ARRIVAL

Journey

 

Prog Related

2.55 | 30 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Time to put on the gloves and go the distance in defense of Journey once again-- the world's trashiest, hammiest, white-trashiest divergence on the road to prog purism. I won't waste anyone time's trying to make the case that Journey is progressive (because we all know they aren't), rather, here's an honest review of this record from someone for whom it was a bit of a revelation at the time of release, and who now rolls his eyes at anything that doesn't feature polyrhythmic virtuosity or mellotrons.

First, Arrival is-- like all Journey albums-- following a by the book template of big arena melodies and schmaltzy ballads centered around Neil Schon's (genuinely) excellent guitar work and high-pitched, smooth, deeply inflected vocals from whomever is behind the mic. Arrival is the first Journey album without Steve Perry, and it is much, much, much stronger because of it. While the band's old hits are deservedly famous in karaoke lounges and classic FM, Perry's vocals were always shrill and ultimately unappealing. Steve Augeri's on the other hand, has everything good that people remember in Perry's voice with none of the nail-on-chalkboard screech that dominated classic albums.

Secondly, Arrival is the only Journey album which features NO #1 hits (big surprise, it's 15 years since their heyday) and NO TASTELESS FILLER! For a band like Journey, this is a big deal-- it means that they actually have to produce worthy songs throughout the album, rather then crank out one hit than phone the rest in. We're actually treated to some creative, energetic, and soulful performances, such as in catchy opener, the uplifting "Signs of Life", the deep bluesy "Livin' to Do", and buoyant "We Will Meet Again". The ballads are about what one would expect, but benefit when compared to predecessors thanks to Augeri's vocals. Schon's guitar features nice, slickly produced and creative solos with some experimental sound effects hidden throughout as well. Big props to new drummer Dean Castronovo; even if he wasn't following in the footsteps of a hack like Steve Smith his performance would be first rate for the genre.

So, whether one is a casual or dedicated fan-- or committed enemy-- of the band Arrival provides a listening experience superior to the majority of the group's releases and is at least equal to their best.

Remember... being a prog lover means that eventually one needs to simply get over their maturity; be sure that pretension doesn't get the best of you, and keeps you from enjoying the saccharine hooks of infectious melody. If you only let yourself get a fix every once and a while-- Arrival is fine album to do it with.

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |

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