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CITY OF FEAR

FM

 

Prog Related

3.11 | 28 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

slipperman
Prog Reviewer
2 stars After digesting the great 'Black Noise' and 'Direct To Disc', this album sounds entirely feeble in comparison. But it's not fair to hold one album up to the standards of another; any album should be judged on its own merit. Even then, though, I find 'City Of Fear' to be largely devoid of excitement or challenge. It is entirely indicative of where '70s prog went in the '80s: downhill. Short songs (all 3 to 5 minutes) in simple arrangements and a heavy leaning toward '80s new wave/pop acts like The Fixx or Big Country...it just ain't my cup of tea at all.

Now and again, Ben Mink reels off a sophisticated bit of electric violin, and there are certainly some good songs to unearth here: "Lost And Found" plays on their more alien approach, something both spacey and laced with paranoia. But I can't sit through the likes of "Power", "Truth Or Consequences" or the truly dreadful "Up To You" without twisting my face in disgust. If you get through 75% of the album, most of which is thin, compressed, cold neo-prog/new-wave, you'll come up against the curious 12 final minutes of the album: "Silence", a dramatic, loping near-ballad, with synth/violin/mandolin work uncannily reminiscent of '80s-era Alex Lifeson; "Riding The Thunder", akin to Blue Oyster Cult's more esoteric hard-rock than anything else FM ever did (and aggressive vocals that cannot possibly be Cameron Hawkins)...it doesn't fit on the album, but momentarily moves away from the too-plastic sounds elsewhere; "Nobody At All", made of warmer textures, in part thanks to acoustic piano, offers a sleepy atmosphere, a nice drift away from a largely unappealing, unsatisfying album.

If you like the sterile recordings and performances of Rush's 'Power Windows' and 'Hold Your Fire', you'll like this too. If you hate those albums, stay well away. Simple as that, really.

slipperman | 2/5 |

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