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John Wetton - Rock Of Faith CD (album) cover


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2 stars Another one of those mixed emotion albums... damn some of the songs on this album are really awesome, especially the Wetton/Downes ones, but in the end the good songs are buried in a ton of cheesiness and average pop tunes.

Another album, another awesome opener. Here the beautiful guitar instrumental "Mondrago" is followed by a very emotional title track "Rock Of Faith" - no rocker to open the album, but gentle melody and lyrics. "I've Come To Take You Home" is one of those songs that make you wonder why John Wetton and Geoff Downes stopped composing together after the first Asia split - it's simply marvelous. "Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way" is a nice rock song and "Altro Mondo" is a great instrumental, something that would definitely fit for a closing track. In fact, I wish the album did end with "Altro Mondo" - it would have made a fine four star rating album - because the last four songs are simply cheesy/annoying fillers.

Rating: 68/100

Report this review (#71028)
Posted Friday, March 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars Keep the faith!

When I played this album for the first time I immediately recognized the instrumental opener Mondrago as it was used as menu music on the concert DVD Amorata that I've had for some time (and like very much!) The beautiful, David Gilmour-like guitar sounds of Mondrago instantly caught my interest, but it is only now that I know that the piece is called Mondrago and is on this album; Rock Of Faith. The guitar player on this album is John Mitchell of Arena fame. If I'm not mistaken Rock Of Faith was the second time Mitchell worked with Wetton, but it was not the last time. Mitchell also toured with Wetton as is documented on the DVD I mentioned above (as well as on several other recent live releases by Wetton). Mitchell also plays on the two first Icon albums by Wetton and Geoff Downes. Walking in the footsteps of guitarists like Robert Fripp, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Howe and Steve Hackett who have all played with Wetton in the past, Mitchell is probably very proud. He is certainly not as unique and distinctive as any of those players, but he is a great guitar player in the tradition of these greats.

The keyboards on Rock Of Faith are played by none other than Clive Nolan of Arena and Pendragon. Those expecting fast keyboard solos will be disappointed, however. Rock Of Faith is an album primarily driven by vocals and not much room is left for longer instrumental passages, and when such room is left it is mainly given to slow, Pink Floyd- like electric guitar solos. The album's tempo is rather slow throughout which is fitting to its mellow and reflective moods. Martin Orford who would later play keyboards on tour with Wetton (again, see the Amorata DVD) plays only flute on this album.

The people involved here invite comparisons with bands like Arena, Pendragon and IQ, but while there might be some similarities with these Neo-progressive groups, the music of John Wetton is in a different place altogether. I'm sometimes reminded of David Gilmour's music.

The album flows seamlessly and it is never offensive. The sing-a-long friendly, arena anthem Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way is the one closest to the sound of Wetton's old group Asia. It might be that this song is intended to be the centrepiece of the album, but for me it is the low point! The chorus is a bit too banal and generic for my taste. In addition, this song has a saxophone solo that might put some people off.

I haven't yet heard all of John Wetton's albums, but Rock Of Faith might very well be his best solo album. The sonic quality of the album is very high and from a production point of view it is perfect. It sounds much better than his Arkangel album. Admittedly, there is no individual song on this album that is as good as the title track on Battle Lines, but the album as a whole is stronger than Battle Lines in my opinion.

Rock Of Faith is a good album that deserves three solid stars.

Report this review (#231425)
Posted Thursday, August 13, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Mondrago is nice opener guitar led mid tempo instrumental with early 80-s feeling. Reminding some Gilmour solo works. But second song will bring you back to the world of keyboard based neo-pop-prog. It looks Clive Nolan and Geoffrey Downes are good pair for that business.

After things go as you can expect. Dated bombastic songs with strong pop-smell go one after another. Vocals too often sounds uninspired, all music generally is unsuccessful combination of pop-hard-rock and neo-prog clichés.

Down tempo songs ,where musicians team used mostly as back-up band for vocalist, hardly are that kind of music which will attract new listeners or even will save old fans.

Musical material is not strong enough, so the potential of musicians wasn't realized in full. After some songs you will openly become bored waiting what happens after. It's pity to say, but nothing will happens. Try to survive till Altro Mondo, synth based slow instrumental ( symptomatically, on this singer's album best compositions all are instrumentals).

I am always critical to Asia works, but it looks that even they were better than this Wetton's solo work! Take Me To The Waterline, first real rock song on the album, sounds a bit better but very dated and powerless again.

Album is finished by short vocals choral "When You Were Young". Hmm, nothing to say....

Album for Wetton fans and collectors only.

Report this review (#267653)
Posted Tuesday, February 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
4 stars It was back in #62 that I raved about John's latest album, 'Sinister', and said that it was his finest work since he had left Asia and here I am now saying the same thing again, because although 'Sinister' was good it wasn't as strong as this which has to be one of the best albums John has ever been associated with throughout his long career. The core of the band was John himself, Steve Christey (Jadis) and John Mitchell (Arena) who are both in his touring band and one Clive Nolan (Arena, Shadowland, Pendragon etc). John Wetton had gone to Thin Ice to record the drums and liked it so much he stayed! Clive's partner in crime, Karl Groom, engineered the album and the Thin Ice guys co-produced it with John. There are also a few guests, including one Geoffrey Downes who he hadn't worked with in years, but for this album they also co-wrote two songs together. Something that will most definitely be of interest to all Asia fans.

But what makes this such a strong album? The songs are much more in the melodic/hard rock field, but slower, with an emphasis on orchestral overtones with the main listening point being the vocals. Each song is aimed at maximising the power of the voice, with the music as a vehicle, and this has really allowed John to shine. The album starts with an atmospheric instrumental, where Clive and John Mitchell combine to good effect to build on the emotion, which in turn leads to the title cut which segues in gently, gradually building on John's vocals.

It is an album that hearkens back to old times while also showing the future, and on the basis of this album that is very bright indeed. It is immediately accessible and enjoyable and one that I have enjoyed playing a great deal.

Originally appeared in Feedback #73, Jun 03

Report this review (#983941)
Posted Friday, June 21, 2013 | Review Permalink

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