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John Wetton - Welcome To Heaven [Aka: Sinister] CD (album) cover


John Wetton

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1 stars John Wetton's career is a history of artistical degradation. John is - or rather was - talented bassist player and characteristic voice of the most memorable King Crimson version (Fripp, Cross, he and Bruford made three pure gems in the rock history: "Larks Tongues in Aspic" (also with Muir), "Starless and Bible Black", and "Red"). Moeover, Wetton made good impression playing his parts at the famous improvisations during the shows (we can hear it on "Great deceiver box", "Night watch" double CD, and some KCCC stuff). At the end of the seventies John was a part of an interesting project called U.K. (with Jobson, Bruford, Holdsworth, later with Bozzio). Two studio albums - "U.K.", "Danger money" and the live one "Night after night" were an ambitious positions, much better, than albums recorded by the prog giants - Yes or Genesis in these years. Everything changed when the Asia was born. Pop songs played by the well known members of the biggest prog bands (Palmer - ELP, Howe - Yes and Downes) were accepted by the MTV and radio stations. Asia was the machine to making money, but the quality of the band's songs was dramatically low. This trashy pop maneer will be the way of John Wetton's musical career from that time. Crucifying, tame pop with a naive lyrics - it is how the Wetton's solo albums sounds. There is nothing interesting there for anybody, who loves his KC/U.K. works. The only track, which is valuable on "Sinister" is according to I, an instrumental "E-scape" (with original KC members - Fripp, and McDonald) - it is a tasteful musical landscape played on soundscape guitar, flute and keyboards. Unfortunately, few minutes of good music is in my opinion a little too less, to feel satisfaction. Better stay away.
Report this review (#59002)
Posted Saturday, December 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Another album with a plethore of musicians... "Sinister" is like "Arkangel" another disappointment. Less songs this time - only ten - but also less good songs.

"Heart Of Darkness" opens the album with a good rocker. "No Ordinary Miracle" and "Silently" are two beautiful ballads. "Before Your Eyes" is a simple song, but it's the most emotional on the album. And then "E-scape"... this gorgeous instrumental sees John Wetton team up with old King Crimson friends Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald for a soundscape in the vein of "Trio" from "Starless And Bible Black". However, the rest of the songs are simply way below average cheesy pop/rock songs.

Rating: 68/100

Report this review (#71025)
Posted Friday, March 3, 2006 | Review Permalink
TGM: Orb
2 stars Review 16, Sinister, John Wetton, 2001

I don't know John Wetton's solo career outside this album, but I'm somewhat familiar with early Asia, and can say with certainty that most of this album is very much in the same vein. Unfortunately, it's not generally at the same quality. Nonetheless, there are a couple of real peaks at the beautiful Fripp-Wetton-Macdonald instrumental, E-SCAPE, and the opening Heart Of Darkness is a really great rocker. The rest of the album is both short and pretty unthreatening, though Wetton's compositional skill is present throughout, the end result is quite miserable.

The opener begins with promising moody keyboards, and a couple of piano and twanging bass notes lead into great uplifting rock song with dark moments. Wetton's voice, still excellent, begins the song proper. Some enjoyable guitar here, and the bass part isn't bad. A fantastic example of eighties-sounding rock. Stunning.

Say It Ain't So isn't terrible, either, but the drumming's utterly bland, and I've heard better choruses. Some nice small touches on various instruments (especially organ), but it wears thin after only three minutes, and somehow feels quite samey. A couple of the changes in tempo feel generic.

No Ordinary Miracle is a ballad. Cheesy vocals, lyrics, and even an incredibly tacky thunderbolt effect. An essentially decent main theme, and, again, some fairly nice additions on minor instruments. Unfortunately, it says nothing new, and I don't like the use of drums to drive a ballad so bluntly. Not my thing.

Where Do We Go From Here is relatively typical of the rock pieces of the album. Thumping bass, fairly generic, but acceptable drumming. Not particularly stunning chorus, but the verses are good. I feel the brief instrumental moments here could have been properly developed, but weren't, and a jarring return to the chorus after a five-second guitar-keyboard interplay was not the greatest idea. Blunt and unexceptional.

E-SCAPE features Fripp and McDonald (both of King Crimson) on sound-scape guitar and alto-flute respectively, while Wetton takes keyboard duties. It's a very stunning, mesmerising and beautiful soft instrumental, with McDonald's absolutely gorgeous ethereal flute particularly standing out, and some exceptional interplay from the musicians. Worthy of a Crimson album, though entirely uncharacteristic of Sinister.

The biting Another Twist Of The Knife, while essentially a three-chord AOR piece, is comfortably the third-best thing on the album. Wetton's energy on the vocals is winning, and the song really does manage to rock properly, even the drums working well here. The chorus isn't quite up to the standard of the verses, but's still decent. Good fun. Perhaps brought down by the big block of vocals and lyrics on the 'Go on... cut me... til I bleed' section. Great guitar solo here, but I say that about just about any guitar solo, for some reason.

Silently. Ugh. Generic piano. Cheesy ballad-styled vocals. Lame drumming. Pathetically bad chorus, appalling lyrics. No merits to consider, except the middle instrumental section, which works pretty well, until the vocals come back again. Some good ideas, but a crap song.

Before Your Eyes is the least appalling of the album's ballad-styled things. Quite nice, quiet, not mindlessly thumping on the drums, slightly improved lyrics, and Wetton's vocals seem more individual. The flute is nicely included. The keyboards hold it up quite well. The choir/harmony thing was a little poor, though. Overall, an acceptable effort.

Second Best, despite a promising energetic start, takes the whole generic AOR-aspect that plagues the album to an entirely new level. Appalling chorus. More of that disastrously plain drumming. The lyrics are dubious, the vocals vary from great on the verses to dreadful on the chorus. Another good guitar solo on this one, but again it goes back to the chorus where it didn't need to. The fade is welcome. Again, some good ideas, but overall an un-focused product.

Real World is not great. A fairly random acoustic guitar part, some really weird vocals from Wetton, who apparently has given up on even trying to maintain the facade of writing lyrics, and the harmonies are equally weird uninteresting keyboards. Steve Hackett's contribution on harmonica isn't bad. A weird song, but not a success with me. If you don't like Asia's debut, avoid it like the plague, if you do, perhaps to be considered for the stunning opener and a couple of the other better tracks, but still not great. Wetton's bass is still pretty good, but you're just not going to find the stunning bass work from his spell with Crimson on this album, and it's often overshadowed by the styles of the songs. His vocals are very divisive, still of the almost-shouted kind, and not for everyone. Clocking in at just 38 or so minutes, much of which is pretty poor material, probably not a great value-for-money buy. An effort with its moments, but ultimately unsatisfying.

Rating: Two Stars. A fans-only item. Favourite Track: E-SCAPE

Report this review (#164161)
Posted Monday, March 17, 2008 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Crossover Team
4 stars 'Sinister' is John's new studio album, and it is simply the finest thing that he has recorded since the debut Asia album all those years ago. The worry is that it may be ignored as there is so much Wetton material flooding out, but take it from me this is one of the best driving albums you are ever likely to hear.

John has been working with some very strong writers, including Jim Vallance (Bryan Adams), Jim Peterik (Survivor), Dick Wagner (Alice Cooper) and David Cassidy (!!) among others. In addition, he has worked on only one song with Martin Orford and Steve Christey (where instead of using Dave Kilminster he has brought in Gary Chandler). The first song, "Heart Of Darkness" begins and ends as a gentle number, but inbetween it is a fine AOR rocker. Having already been shocked by the quality of the opener, I wasn't ready for "Say It Ain't So" which is a classic. Imagine Asia mixing with Bryan Adams in a power ballad that can also belt along, then you may have some idea of how good this is. "No Ordinary Miracle" is much more in line with his ballads, and slows the album down a little. Then it is back with the third Vallance co-write, which again ups the tempo. A gentle instrumental (featuring Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald) leads into the hardest number on the album. This is "Another Twist Of The Knife", and Dick Wagner riffs the song along, as John gets heavy. This has great hooks and features some of John's best ever singing ? it is worth getting the album for this song alone!!

The song featuring Jadis, "Silently", is the most 'progressive' on the album, and features some very characteristic guitar work from Gary. It comes a close second to being the best song on the album. Both "Before Your Eyes" and "Second Best" are slower numbers, and then it is time for the closer "Real World". This is John with a 12-string, joined by Steve Hackett (on harmonica!). Overall, it is an awesome album, one that I took out of my CD interchanger with much dismay. If you have ever enjoyed any of John's work, or just want to hear a great melodic rock album then this is one that you simply have to get.

Originally appeared in Feedback #62, May 01

Report this review (#968591)
Posted Saturday, June 1, 2013 | Review Permalink

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