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Journey - Frontiers CD (album) cover




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2.89 | 103 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars A telepathic journey?

The sound of this album reminds me of Asia's Astra album but it is slightly darker than that album. Those of you who have heard that Asia album know that it is very heavy on the 80's synths. Frontiers also reminds me of John Wetton's and Geoff Downes' recent Icon projects. (Coincidentally, there is a track here called Rubicon which is also the subtitle of one of the Icon albums (and a track from that same album)). Further, Steve Perry even sounds a bit like Wetton here, especially on the opening track Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)! And speaking of "Worlds Apart", the music here also has some similarities with that of Saga (whose most popular album was called just that; Worlds Apart).

Ever since releasing Infinity in 1978, Journey has alternated between better and worse albums. Infinity was a very good album, in my opinion. It was followed by the very weak Evolution that was nothing but a very bleak copy of Infinity. The band regained some of their strengths for the quite respectable, but uneven, Departure, only to once again make a less good album with the mostly quite boring Escape. This pattern was further continued with Frontiers which is an overall better album than its immediate predecessor. (I'm not counting the first three albums and the symphonic soundtrack album Dream After Dream in this particular exercise).

While there is no real stand out track on this album like Mother, Father from Escape, Frontiers is overall a much better album as it is more consistent and more interesting. If I must pick favourite tracks, I would say that the two tracks that bookends the album are among the best ones; Rubicon and Separate Ways (Worlds Apart). Also Troubled Child is a strong song that alternates between quieter and more intense passages. Chain Reaction and Edge Of The Blade are more straightforward hard rockers with quite heavy riffs! There are also a few less good songs, however, that bring the album down a bit. The weakest is probably Back Talk, which is a bit embarrassing. Still, I would say that this is the best Journey album since Infinity.

We have here mostly well written, but rather unmemorable, songs, strong vocals and instrumental talents. There are a little bit more instrumental workouts and slightly more sophisticated arrangements here than on most previous and later Journey albums from the Steve Perry-era. The cover art is rather strange and features a large blue head with the word 'Journey' emanating from its forehead perhaps to symbolize some kind of telepathic power? Futuristic!

Any Prog fan who does not have an aversion towards the sounds of the 80's and can enjoy bands like Asia, Saga and the best of Styx, should be able to get at least some enjoyment out of this one. Personally, I think this album is an enjoyable listen, but also rather forgettable. Therefore, I give it a strong two stars.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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