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THE PROBLEM OF PAIN: PART 1

Torman Maxt

Progressive Metal


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Torman Maxt The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 album cover
1.58 | 37 ratings | 22 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

Chapter One: Prologue
1. Overture (3:53)
2. Job's Song (3:36)

Chapter Two: Job's First Test
3. The Angel's First Song (3:42)
4. Satan's First Song (4:17)

Chapter Three: Job's First Response
5. Job's Initial Shock (1:56)
6. Job's Resolve (3:49)
7. Job's Commitment (2:25)

Chapter Four: Job's Second Test
8. The Angel's Second Song (3:03)
9. Satan's Second Song (2:04)

Chapter Five: Job's Second Response
10. Job's Contemplation (1:18)
11. Job's Second Response (2:56)
12. Job's Wife (4:09)
13. A Great Silence (4:47)

Total Time: 41:55


Notes from the artist:
Torman Maxt's newest album "The Problem of Pain: Part 1" is a concept album based on the book of Job, with the title taken from the book by C.S. Lewis which investigates why God allows human suffering on earth. The album is the first of a two album set, with Part 2 due out in late 2008. The whole album can be downloaded for free. Go to: www.tormanmaxt.com/download.html

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Tony Massaro / guitars, vocals
- Dominic Massaro / bass, keyboards
- Vincent Massaro / drums

Releases information

CD Mars Hill Records (2007 USA)

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TORMAN MAXT The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 ratings distribution


1.58
(37 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(5%)
5%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(8%)
8%
Good, but non-essential (8%)
8%
Collectors/fans only (22%)
22%
Poor. Only for completionists (57%)
57%

TORMAN MAXT The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars 1.4 stars

I don't even know where to begin.

This is a Christian Rock album exploring why God allows pain in this world. It has an obvious Rush sound (the 2112 album especially) and has almost nothing to do with progressive rock. All songs are very short and underdeveloped for a progressive rock album, the instrumental side of the songwriting is dull, monotonous, immature and sometimes awkward. The mood feels unnecessarily upbeat despite what's happening to the main character, it's inappropriate. The harmonization between the instruments feels a bit off sometimes, and not in an avant-garde sense. The melody-writing is very ordinary and you will not hear a single memorable hook in the vocal department. The lyrics are very weak for such a deep concept and the way they are sung does not help me connect with the concept. It just doesn't seem bring any emotions in my case. Finally, I cannot help but notice that some songs are nearly identical to previous ones. This is worse than filler, you just play the songs again and especially "Satan's Second Song" sounds like a copy/paste of the first two minutes of its first part.

There are some nice parts, but they are scarce. The first half of "Satan's First Song" has a very nice and dark rhythm with a memorable driving riff. The beginning of "Job's Song" has a neat 'pinball wizard' intro (The Who), the Angel songs have some somewhat pleasant parts, especially the second one's ambient part, though with the right minds could have been done much better. The ending of the album has a synth drone. Even I could have done a better job there, but it's not bad.

Well, I guess try it, it's free.

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Posted Thursday, May 01, 2008

Review by russellk
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars As a former trainee pastor and worship leader I have listened to a great deal of Christian music in my time. The very best of it (I think of Rich Mullins, Bruce Cockburn, Neal Morse and Ark Angel) is comparable to secular music in its ideas and virtuosity, but is generally conservative in its composition. What risks can one take with vocal delivery, lyrics and song structure when writing for such an audience? As this offering demonstrates, not many.

The major problem here is not the rudimentary drumming, the poor sound quality or the annoyingly adenoidal vocals. It is the chance missed to actually explore the topic. Much is made in the accompanying booklet of the issue at hand. If God is good and all powerful, why does He allow pain? It is a crucial question which has exercised the minds of philosophers for centuries. I have C.S. Lewis' book 'The Problem of Pain' and regard it as a 20th Century classic. However, apart from the general choice of subject matter, I see no link drawn in these lyrics between the story of Job and the legitimate question Lewis raises (and answers). The story is told very much 'by the book' with little interpretation by the lyricist. In fact, some of the more salacious aspects of Job's suffering are elided, as though the Bible itself is too tough for modern Christians. Some shocking things happen to Job in the story, and the story loses its impact if these are glossed over. Now I understand that this is Part 1, but we're already some distance through this sanitised version of the story. Where's Lewis' philosophy? Where's the reflection?

I find the relentlessly upbeat nature of the music very inappropriate. Angels singing repetitively 'You are worthy, Lord' while at the same time God is destroying Job and his family to win a bet with Satan works on me like sandpaper on the skin. Even Job doesn't sound all that bothered, as though his personal faith is more important than the lives lost in the attempt to prove it. The subject matter demands something much more visceral than this. Though the band have obviously used RUSH as an inspiration, they have not captured the depth of emotion GEDDY LEE and his mates inject into their music.

Good on them for having a crack, but this does not work for me on any of the required levels. I have respectfully and thoughtfully explained why, have suited the rating to my comments, and wish the band success in tackling future projects.

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Posted Friday, May 02, 2008

Review by TGM: Orb
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Review 38, The Problem of Pain, Torman Maxt, 2007

Star

I Know What I Don't Like (In My Torman Maxtrobe) [apologies to James for the blatant joke theft]

Usually I have the blessed advantage of exploring classic groups, or else looking at high-rated groups. Hence I rarely find things I really dislike. This, however, even on a free download, was among the rarely. The singer's voice is intolerable (really, I can't stand it. Whiny, unemotional and irritating), the music is very reminiscent of 2112, only without the high calibre of individual playing, atmosphere or direction, and lyrically it is simply very badly done. One of my pet quibbles is lyrics not being reflected in the music, and this takes that to another level. The interpretation is constantly cheerful, and really does not convey any pain or anguish whatsoever in the subject matter. The most interesting, and pretty much only, high point is Satan's First Song, which has some darker tones that are extremely refreshing.

The overture begins with a random bit of dancy rhythm before the completely unrelated guitars kick off with a cheerful, bland piece. One of the guitars provides rhythm, the other just wails nonsensically. Rather weak drumming marks the piece. Spots of acoustics turn up every now and then, but I have no idea why.

Job's First Song features the vocals. I wish it hadn't. Slightly different, but equally boring guitars feature at times, barely connected. A brief, cheery guitar solo features, but it does little to alleviate the lack of interest.

The Angel's First Song is an acoustic-based piece with a slightly mantric set of multiple vocals with some rather failed Scarborough Fair-esque layering. A bland drum part again runs behind it, and the mindless acoustic strumming isn't really contributed to by the bursts of electrics.

Satan's First Song is the unmistakable highlight of the album, with unfortunately terrible vocals dragging down even further the opening generics of the piece. However, a rather dark metallic feel takes over, including a decent solo and some potent, shifting guitar. This leads rather artificially to set of maddened guitar and some haunting background throbs and glockenspiel, which in turn leads to another decent song part with some more passable guitar work and drums that actually highlight it. Not great, but I could imagine myself listening to an album of this song's quality without the cringing I get from the rest of Pain, Pt. 1.

Job's Initial Shock begins again with the vocals (alas), more darker guitar parts, though they are repeated for too long. More of the not-quite-working vocal layering takes place. Back to the dross, I believe.

Job's Resolve is another of the happy guitar parts with more post-proto-neo-Mick Pointer drumming. Again, we have to employ our voluntary deafness to drown out the vocals and terribly-written lyrics. This is not a resolve, it's a party. A really, really bad party. Without beer.

Job's Commitment is basically the same as the previous song.

The Angel's Second song features a brief soundscape, which provides a gradual release and a rather transcendal feel that suits the piece, even if I get the sense I've heard that soundscape before a dozen times. A slightly folky feel, without a little reminiscence of the more annoying sections of Remembering - High The Memory (Yes), only without good parts within that, comes in to conclude the song.

Satan's Second Song again begins with the dark theme of Satan's First Song, continues with the whiny vocals trying to carry an atmosphere, which they can't. Another set of heavier guitar comes in, again very similar to the first song, only without the interesting break section.

Job's Contemplation begins quite well with a more thoughtful piece complete with much repeated guitar parts and some acoustics. I don't like this.

Job's Second Response is whiny and annoying, with its attempt at defiance crushed by the vocals and overly-many repeats. Two unconnected parts move before our ears: electrics and acoustics. Both are boring.

Job's Wife's small measure of anger is a slight pick-up until the first disastrous chorus. A few mindless repeats with barely-altered lyrics annoy us. A repetitive metallic section wears on us for a little while.

A Great Silence is a poor end to a poor album, with more of the whiny vocals, a repeated guitar part, some of the attempts at brief, punchy guitar being repeated too much for effectiveness. However, we do get some moments of decent guitar. A heartbeat-ish effect and then a whinging, annoying synth lead us out.

In brief, nothing really satisfying. Terrible vocals, a poor exploration of the concept, lots of repetition and a failure to create good songs out of most of the few good ideas on the album. It's also not really progressive at all, per se, outside of the soundscape, Satan's First Song (which has a moment or two or unusual daring), and the multiple vocals, which while weak, are at least unusual, and only on occasion remotely metallic. I can't see the appeal at all to this album, though I think the band do have slightly more potential than they let on, and could really do with more daring or unconventional compositional choices. I certainly wouldn't pay money for it, but if you really want to try it, there's still a download available.

Rating: One Star Favourite Track: Satan's First Song

Edit for politeness. I have to admit that this does seem a little unnecessarily nasty in retrospect. Just summing up my views: there's nothing here that really corresponds with my taste, and I'm not as forgiving of a music-based band that doesn't quite hit the mark than one that focuses on atmospheres or experimentation. A line of intent-guessing seems a little bad in hindsight.

So, apologies for not writing this a little more nicely. The band probably aren't as bad as I make them out to be. My rating remains unchanged, though, as I figure I can't have enjoyed it a lot to write such an unpleasant review.

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Posted Thursday, May 22, 2008

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This third outing from Christian US band Torman Maxt have apparently created some debate in various circles.

While not to everybody's taste, their mix of King's X, Rush and Iron Maiden grooves come across as rather good actually. The tunes are short, slightly complex in performance and very much so in structure, with skilled use of layered guitars enhancing the moods in the individual composition, as well as a distinct emphasis on the music underlining the lyrical mood in each song. The most unsettling facet of this release will probably be the lyrics for many; if you're not a Christian they may alienate the listener quite a bit.

If you don't mind religious lyrics it's worth checking this one out though. As the album is available as a free download on the band's website; it will be free to check out whether or not this is a release to your liking.

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Posted Friday, May 23, 2008

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars Hmm...

Torman Maxt is a band that's been hanging around since 1994, yet have only released three albums to date, and are not very well known at all. There may be a good reason for this, however. While the band claims to play progressive metal reminiscent of Dream Theater [DT] and Rush they sound more like something of a church bound garage band. This album is part one of a two part saga, a story about a guy named Job. Yes, Job. While it's clear that this is an allusion to the bible, it's fairly awkward and somewhat embarrassing to hear all throughout the album. As for the vocals, yes they are reminiscent of DT and Rush, but not really as high. Is that good or bad? It's up to you.

The album is supposed to be the Maxt's 2112, and it shows that they really wanted to copy the pattern. The album opens with Overture, which is a short instrumental reminiscent of some kind of hair metal band from the 80s jamming to their hearts content. What is nice about it however is the fact that it flows fairly nicely into the next track, Job's Song. This song is definitely a highlight of the album and it's where the story and character are introduced. Not a ton to say about it still. Also good is the acoustic, Job's Contemplation, a soothing track that is far too short for it's own good. Another fairly good song is Satan's First Song. With some good Coheed-and-Cambria-like instrumentalism at the end. Here, it is annoying again that the name Job just keeps coming up (Someone please change that name!). It's too bad that Satan's Second Song sounds exactly the same as the first, otherwise they might have had something good going there. Surely, the only difference between the two of them is the name and the length. The second one being a bit shorter. One final high point of the album is the very last song, with some bizarre ambient progressive things going on about halfway through that will actually please the average prog-head. It's too bad though, all of these high points are freakishly short lived.

After that is a mixture of things, some songs are very short and forgettable, sounding like modern alt rock more than anything. Really, any title with Job in it will accomplish this and, hey, there's enough of those to feed a small nation. It also seems that this band likes to recycle that one guitar riff throughout all of these songs. A riff as a recurring motif in a concept album is more than okay, but using the same riff, and indeed (in some cases) same guitar solos without any changes in them is just plain unforgivable.

A couple of very annoying points. There are too many songs on here that simply sound too much like a church hymn. The Angel's First Song for example, with it's repeating chorus of 'Holy, Holy, Holy Lord' is enough to annoy any nihilist or non-Christian. This is also not to mention that the way that that particular repeating line is sung is enough to make the ears fall off a cat. Simply annoying. Job's Resolve is similar in this way, with the main character making some sort of prayer 'You are the father...' yada yada yada. Luckily, Angel's Second Song actually has a bit of good ambient Prog in there... for about half of it anyways. Then they're right back in there with their repetition of that freaking hymn. this time, however, it lasts for less time, and that's a good thing.

Well, what shall this be rated...?

This band clearly needs some inspiration to write more than one riff for an album and maybe pick a more avant gard way of discussing religion. While religion is an interesting enough topic there's already too much music out there trying to make the most of it. This album is clearly for the Christian rockers of the world who want some kind of concept album to listen to. That would be fine if it was better done. This is an album to avoid for anyone who is uninterested in religion, or any prog head in general. This is Christian rock music, nothing much more. Maybe this review has missed the point, but there's too much to look around to see the point if there is one. 1 star -- miss it. If you're still interested this album is available for free download on the band's website.

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Posted Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Review by The T
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars I think I've found out what the problem of pain is. Well, it's painful! And I really don't need an album full of mediocre music to tell me that. Or, actually, I guess it was all designed to be this way. After all, what better way to learn about the problem of pain than having to endure the painful experience of listening to this record?

First of all, I don't know about the "metal" part of the progressive-metal categorization of this band. Maybe in their earlier albums they were heavier, but what we have here is retro-rock with some hard guitars here and there, weak vocals that seem to come straight from the 80's, and some guitar solos. That's as heavy as this album gets. Overall, it's a hard rock album, nothing more than that.

The music is very uninspired. It's supposed to be inspired by the "highest" of sources (for religious people, what could be higher than, well, religion?), but it rarely comes out as anything but a weak exercise in hard rock with preachy lyrics that teach nothing and mean nothing. What are we to learn from Job's tale? Probably what we can truly learn is how not to write a coherent tale to convince millions that not- questioning things is the best way to go. Maybe this is another designed effect. After all, Job's supposed to have had enormous patience. The same patience we have to have with this album.

Don't get me wrong. It's not that it's the religious factor the one that hurts the album. There are people that believe in things like that, and that hasn't stopped them from releasing masterpieces (check NEAL MORSE's "Sola Scriptura" for the best example: a music masterpiece with religion as subject of the lyrics). Ultimately, an album with bad lyrics or a poor concept can survive if it has good music. It's the MUSIC what is lacking here in this TORMAN MAXT record.

The songs are incredibly short, therefore they don't have time to develop into anything really complex or, say, progressive. There are just a few good moments here and there, mostly when the keyboards are left to their own devices (like in the final moments of the whole album). The "Overture" is not all that bad. But from "Job's song" on, the album gets really weak. That song, for example, starts decently enough, but then the guitar seems to be out of tune (or playing out of key), and the riff is so mundane, so hard-rock- bar-in-any-lost-town-in-America-like that it's difficult to see the progressiveness. Arpeggios without beauty, choruses that aren't memorable. And a song called "Satan's first song" that it's so un-evil that it can't have the desired effect. The way the band tries to convey the idea of evil is by recording a few moments of feedback and noise at the end of the song. Not incredibly original.

The musicianship of the band is just ok. The drummer is capable but not very original. The bass and keys are decent. The guitarist is obnoxious. Yes, he can solo a little bit, but sometimes (and more often than not) he seems to be out of key. The vocalist is not that good, and has too much a soft voice that doesn't convince anybody of anything.

All in all, a very weak album that should get a 1.5 rating from me if that was available. But, for reasons left unsaid, this time I'll round my rating down, and give TORMAN MAXT the necessary stimulus to come back with a better effort than this.

You know, believing in god just by itself won't make you write good music.

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Posted Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Review by 1800iareyay
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Torman Maxt gained a little bit of notoriety in May of 2008 when they became the first subject of this web site's Featured Artist section, which was designed to both introduce visitors to new acts as well as earn the site a little income so as not to bombard us all with incessant talking ads or even converting the Archives to a paysite. Trouble was, the recognition came as a result of the band insisting that the site bar any negative reviews while it was the FA. The subsequent explosion of internet wrath completely overshadowed the album itself. In Torman Maxt's case, that's kind of a good thing.

Torman Maxt is a Christian progressive metal band made up of three brothers (literally and in Christ). They've been plugging away for nearly 15 years, and have only 3 albums to show for it. Jesus, what are they, Tool? These albums better be spectacular to be worth such long waits. Well, if this one is any indication, they aren't. Now, I must admit a certain bias; I grew up in a heavily Baptist community and have been subjected to Christian rock for over a decade. It is right up there with the Inquisition, Crusades, and witch trials on that list of egregious sins committed by Christians. Now, this will sound insensitive, but I think it's accurate: if you can be converted to a religion, any religion, by a song, you're an idiot. Religion is a serious step, a decision on how to live your life, and something as gloriously trivial as a rock song should never determine your life code. But that criticism is perhaps unfair. Surely the people who play Christian rock are smart enough to realize they won't convert people because no one could possibly be that stupid. So maybe it's just for us Christians to enjoy while getting together. Of course, all too often lyrics are little more than a repeated chorus extolling the awesomeness of Jesus (he fed the 5000, cured the ailing, and could totally dunk from half court) and the composition is a simple acoustic rock riff, so most of my Christian friends get our kicks with normal bands.

The problem is that whatever the reason these guy play for, they fail. Let's consider Option A and suspend our disbelief and assume that Torman Maxt wants to bring more young 'uns to the fold. The Problem of Pain is about the story of Job. *slams brakes* Did you say Job? Yep, Job. The worst story in the entire Bible. For those of you who don't know, Job is the sotry of how God's most faithful follower was cruelly punished, nay, tortured (punished implies you did something wrong) by the Lord basically because of a hosing contest he was having with Satan. Satan is sure that, if stripped of all his fortunes, Job will curse God. It is the story everyone cites when they attack religion and it terrified me as a child.

Option B states that the band just wants to make some good music for Christians. Torman Maxt proudly state their Rush and Dream Theater influences, yet the music barely reflects any influence at all from anyone. I say that because it's so achingly simplistic that it's impossible to derive any musical style at all, much less the impact of any one band. I've taken Meshuggah to task before for starting albums with 6-7 riffs and repeating them for an hour at various tempos, tunings, and time signatures. Torman Maxt have a grand total of one riff, played with different speeds, volumes, and levels of distortion. The singer sounds like Geddy Lee only not as good. Read that sentence three more times and see if your head doesn't explode (and this from an ardent fan of Geddy's voice). The songs have moments of average mediocrity, but these last only seconds before dipping back into the monotonous failure of the album. The one that gets me the most is Satan's First Song. After some choirs that are so annoyingly repetitive that they destroy any potential hint of epicness, Satan gets his song, rife with the first heavy distortion of the album. No, I'm not kidding, these metalheads seem to believe that their own music is the devil's music.

The most and indeed only interesting part of the whole album is the strange fact that the horrifically gory tale of Job's torture is censored here. The boys gloss over some of the meatier aspects and just focus on the story as a whole. This has already been pointed out, but has the Bible become too hardcore for teens? After all, every time a classmate shoots up a school hall video games and rock music get blamed; could the Bible's multiple stories about bloody jihads (often supported by God in the Old Testament) be an equal threat to impressionable youth? That opens the door to some fascinating social and theological discussion that is completely inappropriate for an album review unless I strip down and skinny dip in the Lester Bangs Stream of Consciousness.

I've listened to the album three times now because I feel that a first listen cannot convey everything you need to make a solid opinion. In doing so, I have come to feel an odd affinity with Job. Like that poor sod, I have been subjected to inhumane treatment for no reason at all. Also like him, I had the power to end this merely by claiming ENOUGH! Of course, his reason for not doing so was devotion to God and mine was...well, I don't even know. It's not the worst album I have ever heard, but it's up there. Perhaps TM can rebound with the second part (unlikely) or in future albums (unknown) but they need a massive overhaul, and fast.

Grade: F

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Posted Friday, June 13, 2008

Review by ProgBagel
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Torman Maxt - 'The Problem of Pain PT.1' 1 star

The problem of making good music.

Nearing 100 reviews, I have yet to give a studio album 1 measly star. This album is going to be the first and deservedly so. Besides being a concept album and part two's to some songs, this band should not be considered prog in any sense of the genre. The band sounds like an average high school band with a Christian mindset.and not saying there is anything wrong with Christianity.

The musicians are not talented ones, in terms of skill, songwriting and creativity. The terrible skill of the guitarist and drummer can be easily being noticed. With such primal rhythm's and simple beats that a beginning drummer can execute really makes this band a joke. The guitarist is not much better, opening a decent amount of the songs with an arpeggio, starting on different frets for each new song. The vocalist is pretty annoying as well, but compared to the instrumentation, he will get his saving grace (pun intended). Most of the guitar players riffs are taken from classic 80's acts like Black Sabbath, Rush and some Queensryche but not as interesting or well done. Dream Theater had the same influences, they made much better music. Speaking of which, Torman Maxt names Dream Theater an influence, but in no way is it actually shown, because they aren't capable. Once in a while a guitar solo will kick in, and that is where the 8th grade tact really kicks in. He throws in some crappy bends and even has a good shred run in one of them, a complete lack of ear and feeling this one has. Sometimes there is a bit of synth and samples as well that are some of worst things that I have ever heard.

I take a free download as a blessing, really. Whenever I download one I put the file right on my desktop so I will not forget it and make sure to listen to it. Today was a slow day so I decided to give this one a shot. Seeing how it didn't receive a higher rating than a 2, I knew I was going to be so disappointed. I'm a pretty lenient grader, but this is just terrible. One star, deserving no more.

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Posted Saturday, July 12, 2008

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Prog Specialist
1 stars Only for compulsive completionists

In order to leave some perspective I left some time pass between the release of "The Problem of Pain: Part I" by TORMAN MAXT and this review, being that the album was so strongly bashed by most reviewers, so lets go to the album directly.

"Overture" is a pretty decent opener with good guitars and keyboard, the drumming is bellow the average but still sounds good.

Holy God, who told this guys they could sing? I honestly believe this is the worst vocal work I ever heard, not only the lead singer (who is really terrible), but even the backing vocals are bad. The music of "Job's Song"? Well it seems the guys have only learned a couple of chords, because the track sounds almost exactly as the "Overture" and the drumming is going from bad to worst.

"The Angel's First Song" starts soft and nice, but as soon as this guys open the mouth, the effect is ruined, the chorus are not only bad, but also annoying, the music lacks of imagination. I believe this guys have the skills to do something better, but sadly seems they don't know.

"Satan's First Song" starts incredibly similar to the previous, but again the vocals ruin any chance of the song to be consider barely good, the drumming is very rudimentary, the guitar solos are predictable, still not a terrible song, because they borrow a lot from IRON MAIDEN. Except for the loud and annoying sounds in the middle, the drumming and the infamous vocals, another acceptable track for the standards of the band.

"Job's Initial Shock" is a total disappointment, after a terrible drum intro, comes a loud but inefficient guitar chord that keeps repeating itself and of course the vocals which seem to grow worst as the album advances, little to comment, simply terrible.

By the point "Job's Resolve" and "Job's Commitment" start, I'm absolutely bored, seems the drummer can't play two different sequences and the vocals get even worst (If this is possible), but the main problem is that all the album sounds almost exactly the same, lacks of variations and versatility.

"The Angel's Second Song" starts promising with an organ intro that creates expectations, but as soon as the drummer and the guitar join, it's hard not to notice it's more of the same, slightly better than the two previous tracks, but the vocals totally ruin anything positive, at least it's short.

"Satan's Second Song" is not so bad if you expect a bland metal track, but that's not what we can expect from a supposedly Prog album. "Job's Second Response" starts promising again, and as a fact it's a pretty good acoustic track, but it lasts only 1:18.

"Job's Second Response" and Job's Wife" are more if the same Metal - Prog hybrid with awful drums and worst vocals, no need to comment them.

"A Great Silence" stars very acceptable, until it reaches the middle when becomes...lets say cheesy, with some noises that seem like bad New Age, weak closer.

My first reaction is to rate the album with one star, but there are a couple nice moments, even when not enoughtoi save the album, so I'll go with my instinct and rate it with 1 star because there's no 0.5 stars.

If they want to release a "Problem of Pain: Part 2", TORMAN MAXT needs to improve a lot.

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Posted Saturday, August 02, 2008

Review by clarke2001
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars A backlash.

Allowing time for certain controversies to settle down, and letting the wrath of internet community go away, I'm listening to this album as open-minded as I can be. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it doesn't matter - let's talk about the music.

The first and the foremost - this album is nothing to die for, but it's not bad as I expected it to be. The overall sound is mildly progressive, less because the structure and more because the concept. It resembles 80's metal quite a bit (for some reason, RUNNING WILD springs to my mind), but, as a metal team collab well pointed out, it's not metal actually. It's more hard rock (even alter rock at moments) with some metal approach melody-wise (vocals and guitars). There are also a few digital keyboards tapestries (appearing suddenly, occasionally and, on my opinion, unnecessary) and a few acoustic parts (like in short and lovely 'Job's Contenplation'). The vocals are thin and washed-out, but not the worst I heard from that category. And I'm giving them credit for multi-vocal harmonies - not too daring, complex or special, but a good job of multilayering done, given that harmonies are quite simple. Speaking of multilayering, that's the best ingredient of this album -- overlayered guitars. I'll do a sacriledge and say they remind me a bit of QUEEN circa 1972-1975; but that's only timbre-wise, not songwriting wise.

The major problem with music on this album is, again, rooted in guitars who are carrying the bases for each of the songs' structures. I'm talking about the repetitiveness. All the songs are based around more-or-less same riffs, power chord patterns (there are slight variations of three main themes if I'm not much mistaken), and solos are almost exclusively following one, similar pattern, or should I say scale, that can be heard exactly the same in MOSTLY AUTUMN's 'Pass The Clock'. Of course, there's nothing wrong in utilizing the main theme that will be repated in different movements within a conceptual piece, but this is a bit too much. If this entire concept was record as an EP, or even beter, a longish song, it would be way better. For an album length this is a bit too much. And mind you, this album is of a LP size, not a CD one. Talk about a lack of inspiration.

I won't touch the issue of lyrics and religious theme - I'm simply not competent to talk about it. Let's just say that preaching mantras turned out to be much less annoying than I expected. I still think the major issue of this album is in it's structure, composition, musicality. On a sidenote, I haven't noticed any off-key guitar solo (although multiple layers were a bit too much at the moments), just a few slightly out of synch tempo issues.

Two and a half stars, not rounded to three, which is a rating deserved for a way better prog outputs. This band could actually came up with something more than decent, if only happens they became more daring in musical department at first place. Which could be said for a thousands of artists surrounding us.

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Posted Monday, September 15, 2008

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 is the third studio album from Christian rock/ soft metal act Torman Maxt. Now after downloading the album for free on the bands official internet site I went and read lead singer/ guitarist Tony Massaroīs blog. Here he tells why Torman Maxt is giving away the album for free, but what caught my eye more than anything else on the blog is that Tony doesnīt like Torman Maxt to be labelled Chrisian Rock or Metal. As he explains on the blog people who give labels like that almost always imply that the music is a second rate version of heavy metal or rock. I must say that itīs hard not to call the band Christian rock/ metal because the lyrics on this album are as extreme ( in a Christian way) as the lyrics on any Satanic black or death metal acts album. Itīs just an aquired taste if you like one or the other ( or both/ none for that matter).

The music is very influenced by Rush and itīs especially the vocals from Tony Massaro that reminds me of Geddy Lee ( another thing Tony Massaro mentions on his blog with a humourous story). The music is very melodic and generally have a positive spirit ( except Satanīs First and second song. Pretty dark mood in those). I canīt say that the music really does much for me but there are parts that are not bad. The lyrics does have a tendency to ruin things for me though. Being an atheist itīs a bit hard to listen to a full album with lines like Holy, Holy Lord and What Would Make You Pray to a God without feeling just a bit annoyed. Lyrics like that donīt work for me and invokes frightening images of mid-western republicans with Texas ties. Iīm getting the feeling that the moderate Christians also find this way too extreme to enjoy.

The musicianship is not very strong. The drums are especially worth mentioning. Simple and trivial. The vocals from Tony Massaro are allright though. Guitars and bass plays some pretty generic hard rock/ metal riffs. Again Iīm reminded of Rush on a bad day.

The production is not very good. This is not a professional sounding production. The drums sound like cardboard boxes and the guitar is way too low in the mix much of the time.

Overall The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 is not a very succesful album. I think the one star ratings are a bit too harsh though and I will give a 1.5 star rating. I can only recommend that you listen to a band like Saviour Machine instead though if you want to hear music with Chrisitan lyrics.

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Posted Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review by Conor Fynes
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 'The Problem Of Pain: Part 1' - Torman Maxt (3/10)

I really don't know why so many people have given this album one star reviews. The rating is almost as bad as Metallica's 'St. Anger!' Now, while it's generally agreed this album isn't a masterpiece by any standard, I've actually found it enjoyable to listen to at times, although the negative aspects of this record certainly prove to outweigh the positives.

One of the problems people have had with 'The Problem Of Pain: Part I' is the apparently unprogressive, short songs. To be honest, I've never considered the songs to be standalone works. It's always felt like an album-long epic. If there wasn't any break in the actual music (as in, no fade outs or silent parts, in order to make it really sound like a single song) I'm sure it would be easier to rate this album higher. However, repetitions in musical ideas (there are musical ideas that recur all the time throughout the album) give the album a sense of oneness as to make the thing feel very sustained and ongoing, although the fact that the recurring ideas offer nothing fresh to the mix detracts to the point that it feels like the second half of the album is just a replay of the first.

Musically, I think there's definately prog there, and Torman Maxt is a talented band at that. The guitarwork in particular is incredibly well done. The thing that probably turns so many people off are the whiny-sounding vocals. While I do agree that they sound a bit much like Rush for their own good, the same could be said for Dream Theater on their debut (which was called the 'best Rush album that they never wrote or performed') and look where they ended up going.

'The Problem Of Pain' really sounds like a bunch of kids trying to make a Rush concept album, and besides the irritating vocals, and the constant note-for-note reprisal of come-and-gone themes, it turns out okay. Although the concept could have certainly been explored more deeply, there are some awesome parts to this album, and the atmospheric jams are incredibly done. And as far as free music goes, why should anyone be complaining?

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Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Review by Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars When I saw these guys on PA's Featured Artist section a long time ago, I'd figured I'd give them an honest try just to hear how they sounded. I happened to acquire THE PROBLEM WITH PAIN on a free download which is convenient for a cheapskate like myself. However, I had some trepidations about the album; since it was a free download, I was hoping that aspect didn't overshadow the music. Unfortunately, that seems to be the case.

I'll give these guys credit, the ''Overture'' isn't too bad. It's a little basic in structure, but it's got some good themes throughout. I wouldn't dub it ''metal'' or ''prog'' just yet, but it's very nice. The problem starts when the vocals come in, and they're like nails on a chalkboard to me. Seriously, I'm not too fond of them. To make matters worse, the songs don't have much variety to them. From track 2 on, every song sounds like the same Christian-garage-rock kind of thing to them and nothing else barring a playing with synths at the very end (but by that point I gave up trying).

I wouldn't call this the worst album I've heard, but it's one of the blandest. I just can't find a way to recommend this to prog fans, whether they're traditional medolic proggers or off-the-wall proggers or all those in between. To say the least, it's disappointing.

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Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Review by b_olariu
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars 2.5 realy

Third album The problem of pain part 1 from 2007 of this american act. Well I was quite shocked to see such low ratings here, I mean ok, each reviewer with his own opinion, but come on, this bands needs so much bashing here. Anyway to me was a listenable album all the way, better then previous one, who was a mediocre one, uninspired and totaly lacking in great musicianship, this one is a quite a little better for sure. The sound the manner of composing, the voice is as I said little better. I don't realy know why people find this album so annoying so weak. The album is divided in 5 chapter and is a concept album about book of Job and why God allowed so much suffering in our beloved planet. Again the music is not realy prog metal, more with prog metal leanings no far from Kings X grooves and with some alternative riffs here and there. The voice no matter how much is better then the previous work is still very mediocre, Tony Massaro is not a very good vocalist, that is for sure but he tries to keep with the band. The pieces this time are almost ok in places, some are realy boring, some are way better then before, 2-3 of them are even good like Overture or Angels first song, the rest are bellow the belt. AS I said on previous review I'm not bothered about christian lyrics or bands who aproach this theme, each musician with his own view and interpretation, so th lyrics for me ar ok, the music is something of a lost battle. Even if is better then Foolishness of god, this is far for being a good album overall, 2.5 is the best I can give, a mediocre album again, but I don't think they desearve to be puted on the wall like that by the most reviewers. On their offcial site is said that they release part 2 in near future somewhere in spring 2010. Is not recommended , is not something special but I can trace a slightly progress in their sound and in their manner of interpretation, I know worst albums then this.

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Posted Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars The Album That ProgArchives Loves To Hate

The third album from American Christian progressive hard rock band Torman Maxt, called The Problem of Pain, Part 1 is an album that doesn't get a whole lot of love from reviewers, and after hearing it, it's not hard to understand why. This album is severely flawed in almost every sense of the word, from a lyrical and musical perspective.

Usually when an album gets such flak from fellow reviewers, I try to avoid reviewing it. The last thing that a young band, such as Torman Maxt, wants to hear is that people with a passion for music dislike their album in such an immense way. As evidenced by the overwhelming amount of negative reviews that The Problem of Pain, Part 1 receives, I'm sure the band doesn't want to hear another review bashing their hard work. I apologize to Torman Maxt in advance, but this album is really hard to sit through.

I'm going to try to be as fair as I possibly can during this review. As a young composer myself, I know how devastating it can be to receive a less-than-stellar write up. There is no nice way to put this, but this band needs a serious overhaul if they ever plan on releasing a part two of this album.

First of all, the lyrics are a huge problem throughout this album. I consider myself a Christian, but this is way too much for me. I have absolutely no problem with expressing your faith through music, but I'd imagine that these overly-preachy lyrics are offensive to anybody that isn't a Christian. I myself am a Christian, but I have a tough time listening to some of these lyrics. Christian lyrics can be beautiful if they're written well (just look at Neal Morse!), but that isn't the case here. I really wish that Torman Maxt would either learn to write Christian lyrics that people actually care about, or they just write lyrics unrelated to religion (which usually works well anyway).

Even if The Problem of Pain, Part 1 were to have good lyrics, that wouldn't be enough to save this album. The music is passable and forgettable at best, and often unnaturally upbeat. If more powerful music were applied to these lyrics, maybe they would seem a little bit stronger. The music is so linear and predictable that it detracts from the overall value of the album. The music is almost entirely played in a happy mood, which can quickly become trivial and downright annoying. I wish there was more variation in the moods of the songs. I think that would make for a much more dynamic album.

Another big problem with this album is the below-average musicianship. The drumming from Vincent Massaro is simple, uninteresting, and boring. Honestly, Tony Massaro's vocals can become very annoying after the first few songs as well. His voice really sounds uninspired and lacking in dynamic abilities. Dominic Massaro does nothing notable on bass (or the sparingly used keyboards) throughout the length of the album. The only positive thing that comes from this album in terms of musicianship is the average guitar playing from Tony Massaro. He doesn't do anything spectacular or out of the ordinary, but he gets the job done.

A strange thing that I notice when listening to The Problem of Pain, Part 1 is the weird guitar melodies. Not in an avant-garde sense, but there are many times when it sounds like Tony Massaro is playing in a different key, or even his guitar is slightly out of tune. A few guitar solos sound really awkward and dissonant because of this. It's not a major problem, but it's just yet another flaw that detracts from my enjoyment of this album.

The production is pretty poor as well. It's obviously low budget and amateurish, but it gets the job done. I personally don't enjoy it much, but it doesn't greatly affect my listening experience.

While it may sound like I think this entire album is bad, it does have a few nice moments. Job's Song is a pretty great track, but after that, almost all of the songs are forgettable. After I hear this album I can only recall a few moments and riffs from the whole album. It's really a shame, because there are a few moments of potential on this album. As a whole, the entirety of this album never keeps me interested.

Conclusion:

The Problem of Pain, Part 1 is a really poor album from Torman Maxt, honestly. If they ever want to make The Problem of Pain, Part 2, they need some serious improvements. I seldom will turn down a free album, but this is worth turning down in all respects. If you still feel like you should get this album, it's available for free from Torman Maxt's website. I don't recommend it, however. In a perfect world, this would be a 1.5 star album. I was in serious consideration of giving this album a 2, but after some serious consideration I've determined that this must be rounded down.

1 star.

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Posted Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Review by sleeper
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars If ever there was a band/album that has garnered a level of infamy on the forums here that can be best described s stratospheric the it will be this, Torman Maxt's The Problem of Pain Part 1. Anyone interested in the controversy itself should read the interesting interview in the forums, and we'll leave it at that. So yes, its another 1 star review for this album, and I'm making the unusual decision to review it after a single listen, something I have never done before, because I will never listen to it again after this, and I'll explain the specific reason for that later.

I must admit, I downloaded this album (the bands first three albums are available for free download from the bands website) to find out if its every bit aas bad as the other reviews have made it out to be. Confusingly, the answer is both yes and no.

Despite the fact that the band is listed as a Progressive Metal group,the only songs on here that I would list as metal at all are Satan's First & Second Song, the rest of the album is heavy rock inspired primarily by early Rush with hints of Led Zepplin and Balck Sabbath thrown in the mix as well. Note that I said "heavy rock", prog this album isnt. The compositions are all fairly simple, repetative and show little development through the short songs, worse still many of the early melodies make a return later in the album, not that the melodies in between were that different from the first few anyway. And that right there is the albums biggest problem musically, there is not enough variation between the songs for me to keep my interest after only the first couple of tracks. That said, as a conceptual piece based on the Old Testaments Book of Job it maintains a certain flow that binds the album together in one cohesive whole with only a few minor parts feeling out of place.

As far as the musicanship goes, its a bit of a mixed bag. Tony Massaro's lead guitar lines tend to be pretty good, and some of his solo's are tasty enough, but his rhythm guitar work leaves a fair amount to be desired, like he's just switched off his playing when its the main melody his working on, but the counterpoint shows that this man isnt without talent. This also might explain why the melodies are repetative and, well, dull as Tony is the main writter of music here. I'm also used to distinctive and unusual vocals from the likes of The Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler Zavala and Pavlov's Dog's David Surkamp so Tony's vocals dont bother me in the slightest for their general high register and in fact I'd go as far as saying that he has quite a pleseant voice, though his style and delivery could use a bit of work in my opinion.

Its the other two Massaro brothers, Dominic and Vincent, that are the problem here. Dominic's bass playing is rather simplistic, holding the bare minimum of the rhythm and completely ignoring the versatility of the instrument. As a bass player it's something I pay a lot of attention too and its not helped by being lost in the mix, not that there's a whole lot to hear anyway. Worse still, Domonic's keyboards are completely unnecessary, adding absolutely nothing to the compositions. The last track, A Great Silence, should have been 2 minutes shorter at least, with the final soundscape being taked on, and thats just an example from one song, all the keyboards are taked on with little point.

Vincent's drumming has come in for a lot of flack, and the reasons are obvious. First, it sounds like he was recorded on an old 8 track, the quality of sound of the drums stands out as being vaastly inferior to that of the bass, keyboards, guitars and vocals. As for his drumming itself, for the most part he's rather pedestrian but the occasional fill does grab my attention, but its all rather masked by the poor production, and the production defecit on the drums is rather strange as the rest of the album is not at all bad. With one exception though. The instrumental track Job's Contemplation is completely out of tune and should have been done away with as its grating on the ears.

But, aboe all this,there is one reason why I will never listen to this album again, the lyrics. As previously stated its a concept album based on the Old Testemants Book of Job. Now, I've come across religious lyrics from lenty of bands before where they have been done pretty well, Transatlantics The Whirlwind being the most recent example I can think of, and I've liked the album/song overall, but here its a different matter. This is preachy in the extreme, and worse still just hearing The Angels Song (either of them) makes me cringe. I am an agnostic, but with a serious dislike of organised religion and so this not only fails to appeal but I actively dispise (no, not too strong a word) the hamfisted and overly preachy approach. Ironic, given that the music doenst elicit any kind of emotional response at all.

On the day I listened to this for the first time I got the Birds and Buildings album Bantam to Behemoth and listened to pair of them back to back, the difference in quality in all areas between Dan Britton's jazz-Rock project, one of the best albums of 2008, and this was startaling. Overall the music is not to bad with lead man Tony Massaro demonstrating a level of skill that sugest with a better rhythm section this band could be much better. Based on the music alone I would give this album 2 stars, maybe pushed up to 2.5. However, because of the lyrics I hate this album and I can guarante I will never listen to it again but for people that don't mind the overly religious lyrics they might get a lot more out of this than I have, so 1 star, and congratulations for being the first album that I've awarded one to.

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Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review by JLocke
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars When I first heard about the now infamous Torman Maxt conspiracy, I thought perhaps Tony Massaro (guitars, vocals) had a point in his accusations that some of the one-star reviews for this album might have somehow been unfairly given. I now know that isn't the case. If you want the whole story and wish to decide for yourself, visit the Torman Maxt interview hosted on this site's forums. I'm going to try and refrain from mentioning it directly from this point on, since the review should center about the album itself, and nothing else. On with the review.

Apparently, a line-up change occurred for the band's second album (which I have not bothered to listen to, and probably never will). Now, instead of the singer from the last release, we get Tony as the lead vocalist (the first guy got out of dodge while he still had time). He hits the notes fine, but he is clearly struggling to match the high, operatic type of voice he so desperately wants in his music. As a result, he sings through his nose and has some pitch issues now and again. Overall, however, his voice is decent, and that's not really one of my larger complaints.

What are the larger complaints, then? Well, for starters (and just like last time), the songs are way too short for the style they are in. Two of the songs don't even reach the two-minute-mark, and one of them (''Job's Initial Shock'') doesn't even feel like a complete song. It sounds like they simply stopped playing halfway through a much bigger piece, and called it a day. And no, following track doesn't continue it, either. It just starts up something else completely.

This 'unfinished' feel to the music is present elsewhere, though perhaps not as prominent. The instrumentation is a bit better than I felt it was on Maxt's first album, but still nothing to write home about. The drums are average and bland, the bass playing is standard, and the guitar playing, while clearly the best of the elements, leaves much to be desired in terms of genuine creativity. Most of the time, it's just predictable licks I've heard many times in the past. The few times things do get creative, it never lasts. In fact, no musical moment seems to last on this album long enough to go anywhere interesting. Just as soon as you get used to where you are, something else bursts in. Sadly, the longest consistent musical passages present on the album are repetitive and basic.

Some tracks sound better than others, and even have some redeeming qualities. That's more than I can say for the band's first release, so in that respect, it means this album is, believe it or not, better than what came before it. That means that Torman Maxt, in their own strange way, are indeed progressing. Unfortunately, even the better tracks don't stay listenable all the way through. For instance, ''The Angel's First Song'' has some very nice moments early on, but by the time it's over, we've got a repetitive, sub- par riff and the juvenile lyrics ''Holy, holy, holy!'' rotating overtop of it.

That's another thing I must address this time around: the lyrics. I almost never lower album scores based on lyrics alone, but I cannot help but bring the lyrical concept of this album to the forefront just for a moment. The Book Of Job is one of the most evil, ridiculous stories I've ever read, and why so many religious artists always jump on that story as their vessel for sharing their faith, I'll never understand. Even more baffling is how everybody who uses Job seems to think they were the first to think of it. Basically, it's a story about a man who is blessed by God, and unconditionally praises him. So, God and the devil make a deal to see if ruining Job's life will weaken his faith in the Lord. it doesn't. God allows Job's children to die, his wealth to be destroyed, and his body to be riddled with sickness. Still, Job's strength in God is ultimately not shaken. This is just part one of the story presented in this album, so I won't give too much away, but here's a hint: he never gets his dead kids back.

Considering the grim nature of the subject matter, I find the overly cheerful, upbeat instrumentation quite unfitting and misaligned with the message. Then again, in the religious' eyes, this story is meant to be positive, so I guess coming from that perspective, the musical style is just dandy. But for me, it doesn't work. The lyrics are too straightforward and preachy, and the music doesn't match the subject matter well at all. In this particular case, when nothing is left up to interpretation lyrically, that's a negative thing. Because I know exactly what it is being talked about, and the generally happy tunes (except for the Satan-themed tracks) conflict with the effect the story has on me. So, that's all I'm saying about the lyrics: they don't suit the music, and it hurts the overall experience.

There is an attempt to be really 'artistic' and 'prog' whenever the band obviously reprises earlier musical themes, but of course that falls flat on its face, especially when you take into consideration the two Satan songs. They are identical. Just the same song, ever-so-slightly-tweaked, stuck on the album twice. Unbelievable.

I honestly don't see how anybody who is serious about music could find much to like, here. I'm not saying that lightly, and I realize that it seems harsh, but let's be honest here. Torman Maxt is a band that seems to copy older, better bands way too often, and expects their listeners to temporarily forget while listening to Problem Of Pain that there have already been albums in the past that begins with a track titled ''Overture'', or that we've already lived through the days of the 'epic' prog record. No. This will not do. It's unoriginal, predictable music, and the farthest thing possible from anything remotely 'progressive'.

The best part of the album is the first minute-and-a-half of ''The Angel's Second Song,'' which also happens to be one of the few times when none of the actual instruments are being played. My own personal trial of endurance, I guess.

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Send comments to JLocke (BETA) | Report this review (#306037) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, October 21, 2010

Review by Andy Webb
FORUM & SITE ADMIN GROUP Admin / Heavy Prog Team
1 stars Oh boy

Here we have a classic album - classic as the classic love to hate it album on PA. Torman Maxt is a name that elicits no sympathy for classic Archivers. A few months after the band's third studio album, The Problem of Pain Part 1, was released, the band was a featured artist on the ProgArchives homepage. When a negative review was published of the album, the band wasn't too happy and even asked to have the review removed while they were featured on the site, creating quite the controversy at the time. The band has been ridiculed and bashed in reviews and on the forum. But one may ask - are these simply reviews responding to insults received or some other personal message? I'd be safe to say no, no they are not.

The album starts out on a rather positive note, with a somewhat pleasant, but overall quite simple overture, full of textbook theory tricks with counterpoint and harmony. The instrumentation was overall rather simplistic, which so far wasn't a bad thing. However, once the album kicked in with 'Job's Song,' I knew where these reviewers were coming from. The vocals are amateurish, shrill, and just barely listenable. They warble in the upper registers without a cause, grating on my eardrums and seemingly tainting the music. The compositions only begin to deteriorate at this point. They begin to become more amateurish, desperately attempting to be progressive, and have no continuity or symmetry at all. Songs end, begin, and end again within the same track, hardly trying to act like a cohesive piece of music. And again - those melodies! Indeed the problem of pain is this music - causing pain for listeners across the world.

And then, the concept. Oh, the humanity! The album was originally intended to be the band's very own 2112, not a tribute, but more a desperate attempt to make a killer concept album (even though 2112 isn't a concept album - perhaps that's where they went wrong ;-). The band chose the concept of copying the biblical book of Job, where Job is trying to find just what the title implies - the reason for pain and suffering in the world. Well they took that concept, put it into a blender, poured out a heap of peppy upbeat Christian themes, and called it a concept. The album immediately starts out with an obvious Christian overtone (made truly atrocious by the terrible vocals). The lyrics, who do somewhat stay attuned to the lose concept, sadly do not match the feel of the music at all. One part of a concept album, as even their non-conceptual influence album displays wonderfully, is the music! It is a concept album of music anyway. To write an adequate concept album one element must be conceptual music, following the feels, storyline, atmosphere, emotions, and whatnot of the main character or story. However, Torman Maxt thought it would be better to focus on peppy, upbeat, happy themes and ditch any attempt to attach the musical themes to the lyrical themes.

Not only are the lyrics overall quite weak (which is ironic compared to their incredible lyricist influence Neil Peart), but the musicality of the album, as I have said, only decreases as the album goes on. The music lacks direction, emotion, or drive at any given point on the album. It is apparent that the band is much more occupied with making their music seem progressive, with random compositional theme shifts, songs within songs within songs with no apparent reason, and a wonton use of amateur theory tricks to try to make the music seem more professional or mature. Even with the use of counterpoint and six different instruments playing simultaneously, the music emits a terribly amateur vibe. In the end, the band displays their incredible skill at making bland and uninviting music.

When I look for new music, I rarely blind-buy or download music that I know is bad or doesn't sound very good. Therefore my music collection is, in my opinion, mostly 'good' music. I don't happen upon albums like this very often. However, I couldn't resist trying this infamous album in PA history out. A free download, it was even more irresistible. However, with even my first listen, I could see that the flack that this album received was not hot air. This album is quite possibly one of the worst albums in PA history. The terribly amateur music, the atrocious and unbearable vocals, and the simplistic and pathetic lyrical concept make this album quite... well' bad. I like to consider myself a rather generous rater, but this album is certainly an exception. 1 star.

TEST

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Send comments to Andy Webb (BETA) | Report this review (#486446) | Review Permalink
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
1 stars Torman Maxt's The Problem of Pain: Part 1? Universally panned and loathed in the prog community so naturally I had to taste and see.

Immediately I noted the guitars don't have enough power to blow the fluff off a peanut. The vocals sound processed and high pitched. The singing is dreadful especially when they are not processed such as on 'Job's Song.' The riffs are so forgettable though at times they have promise only to be ruined by terrible, terrible production.

The appalling drums sounds like he is banging an old oil drum in an aeroplane hanger. I'm sure Lars used his sound for the "St Anger" album, that snare, which is only marginally worse than this album.

Shocking lyrics. I love reading The Bible but these songs based on Job do not do it justice. Mixed feelings, as I like the themes but they are sung with a weird up beat tempo as if it's a happy book and it is exactly the opposite as Job undergoes horrific trials.

'The Angel's First Song' is the slow one but painfully so with boring structure and wailing vox. At this point I was ready to give up. Next is 'Satan's First Song' has a decent melody but the singing kills it. The lead guitar attempts to be dark but is too tinny to exude any power. The production is so lo fi it is stunning this got off the ground. The instrumental section of psychedelic twinges is ridiculous. It changes to a grinding riff with a cool sound but then moves to the tinny drums and bass again.

Next is 'Job's Initial Shock' with a punky sound and abysmal vocals send it off to the abyss. It is short though. Next is another boring melody sounding similar to the other songs, in fact I can't even tell the difference so let's move on. 'Job's Commitment' sounds like an 80s Ace Frehley riff but not as powerful. The melody locks in then more whining pitchy vocals and he sounds like he is out of tune.

Next, 'The Angel's Second Song' with interesting opening, creepy synth and ethereal atmospheres. This is far more promising, and without vocals is the best so far. Then the drums come in and some chanting vocals, as bad as the rest. The lyrics are okay but terribly sung so nobody cares.

'Satan's Second Song' has a nice little guitar riff and waves crashing. The lyrics are Biblical; "Yes Job does love you, But not without a cause, Sound mind and body, Help him to cope with loss". Then the same melody as previous crunches in though the guitars are heavier and this is certainly a classy rocker. 'Job's Second Response' sounds like the drums of Ace Frehley's 'Wipeout'; did he release some musicians for this album? The melody comes in and it's exactly the same as other songs. This is getting very tiring now. There is an interesting clean guitar motif, with some dangblasted vocals that can't sing a note.

'Job's Wife' is more of the same, pathetic vocals, boring melody and terrible infantile lead guitar work. Then it ends with a repetitive riff that just goes on and on and on without variation. The last song is an instrumental that is okay but it is too late to save a train wreck when the train is already off the rails.

Well, folks believe the hype. This is perhaps as bad as it gets. "Love Beach" may have been bad but at least it has decent production and one good song. Torman Maxt are infamous for producinng one of the worst albums, that is mercifully free as a download, and if you are like me you will want to hear this to see if all of us reviewers are just exaggerating. No, I assure you, we are not; this stinks like yesterday's stinking nappies.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#870332) | Review Permalink
Posted Monday, December 03, 2012

Latest members reviews

1 stars The band says their music is in the vein of Rush, the 2112 era. OK........... ?????? Everyone is entitled to express their confusion. The first amendment to the US constitution, if I am not mistaken. I would say that the band has missed their target by many miles. This forty one minutes long a ... (read more)

Report this review (#187909) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Tuesday, November 04, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When I heard that Torman Maxt was releasing a third album entitled "The Problem of Pain, Part1", I was admittedly eager. I could sense from the title borrowed from C.S. Lewis' book of the same name that this would be a special venture worthy of a Part 1 and Part 2. The expectation was that this w ... (read more)

Report this review (#168905) | Posted by DaleJuday | Monday, April 28, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Torman Maxt has accomplished something that most bands 'try' to; first of all they put the rocking out factor at the forefront of their musical prowess while in-turn, keeping a large scope of a technical edge to their music - meanwhile presenting this elaborate, yet dark concept, not losing sigh ... (read more)

Report this review (#168840) | Posted by Hashman | Sunday, April 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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