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TORMAN MAXT

Progressive Metal • United States


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Torman Maxt biography
The progressive metal band TORMAN MAXT has always been three brothers: Tony, Vincent and Dominic Massaro. Originally hailing from Ft Myers, Florida, the trio made the cross country move to Los Angeles, California where they recorded several demos before meeting vocalist Martin DeBourge. After recording and releasing their debut album titled "Just Talking About the Universe... So Far", TORMAN MAXT performed extensively at local Hollywood clubs and throughout Southern California. The band's sound has been compared to progressive rock greats like RUSH, DREAM THEATER, QUEENSRYCHE & YESwhile still reminding rock fans of their other main influences BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN.

For their second album "The Foolishness of God", Tony Massaro began to handle all of the vocal duties in addition to his role as guitarist and song writer. Together with brothers Vincent and Dominic, they have been playing since they were teenagers. This has created a tightness and unity that is evident on their recordings.

Their newest album entitled "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 has already met with rave reviews: TheProgFiles.com has said "...not since Rush 2112 has there been a concept album of this caliber." The album is the first of a two album set, with Part 2 due out in 2008.

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Foolishness Of GodFoolishness Of God
independent
Audio CD$2.99
$7.00 (used)
Just Talking About the Universe So FarJust Talking About the Universe So Far
Mars Hill Records 2007
Audio CD$14.95
$0.33 (used)
Problem of Pain: Part 1Problem of Pain: Part 1
CD Baby 2007
Audio CD$0.78
$11.75 (used)
Problem of Pain 2Problem of Pain 2
CD Baby 2010
Audio CD$6.92
$9.75 (used)
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TORMAN MAXT top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.42 | 5 ratings
Just Talking About The Universe... So Far
1994
2.61 | 7 ratings
The Foolishness of God
2001
1.58 | 38 ratings
The Problem Of Pain: Part 1
2007
3.43 | 4 ratings
The Problem Of Pain; Part 2
2010

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TORMAN MAXT Reviews


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 The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2007
1.58 | 38 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain: Part 1
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

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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 The Problem Of Pain; Part 2 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.43 | 4 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain; Part 2
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars US band TORMAN MAXT has been around since the mid-90's, and for the last decade or so with a firm and singular line-up, The Massaro brothers. The band has four albums to its name so far, and the last three of them made as a purebred family trio. "The Problem of Pain Part 2" is their most recent production, the second and concluding part of a conceptual cycle based on a book by noted Christian author Clive Stapledon Lewis.

Light-toned and positive-sounding harder-edged progressive rock is what's served by Torman Maxt on "The Problem of Pain Part 2", where high-pitched vocals, ethereal guitar soloing and Christian concept lyrics are parts of the package. Well-made and well-produced, but with singular features of this kind presumably an album that will have a limited appeal. If you enjoy 70's Rush and don't mind the Christian conceptual theme you might want to check this one out however, and I suspect some fans of bands like King's X might also find this one to be intriguing.

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 The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2007
1.58 | 38 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain: Part 1
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by Andy Webb
Forum & Site Admin Group Site and Forum Admin

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.

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 The Problem Of Pain; Part 2 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.43 | 4 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain; Part 2
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by J-Man
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Torman Maxt's The Problem of Pain: Part 1 from 2007 was not my favorite album, to say the very least. The generally uninspired compositions, amateur musicianship, and corny lyrics didn't leave the best impression for what part two may have in store. Thankfully, Torman Maxt has improved significantly over the last three years - not only as musicians, but also as songwriters and lyricists. The Problem of Pain: Part 2 seldom exceeds above average, but it's a solid heavy prog rock/metal album that fans of the genre will most likely enjoy. If you weren't exactly blown away by part one, I wouldn't completely dismiss this effort just yet - Torman Maxt has plenty to offer this time around.

The band still plays a style of progressive rock/metal with influences from acts like Rush and King's X, but also with touches of AOR scattered throughout. The atmosphere is generally light and positive, with very few dark and heavy sections. If you're looking for a prog metal concept album that will evoke dark emotions (think bands like Pain of Salvation or Opeth), definitely look elsewhere. Although the lyrics deal with a fairly dark section of the Bible, the music seldom creates a haunting atmosphere. This can be problematic at times (the album can feel a bit "samey" to me), but the compositions are still generally strong. The musicianship is also much stronger this time around - it's clear that Torman Maxt has increased their chops over the last three years. The vocals from Tony Massaro are very much an acquired taste (I don't enjoy them very much), but I could see some people enjoying his Geddy Lee-inspired singing. His voice just sounds too frail for my taste most of the time. The production is also pretty thin and occasionally lacks power, though it still sounds pretty professional.

The Problem of Pain: Part 2 isn't a progressive rock masterpiece or anything like that, but it's a solid album that's worth a look from most of the community. The vocals and lyrics do test my patience occasionally, but it may be worth looking past for some quality retro-oriented progressive rock/metal. 3 stars are deserved here - this is probably the best offering Torman Maxt has to date.

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 The Problem Of Pain; Part 2 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.43 | 4 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain; Part 2
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Torman Maxt is a strange band and most definate an acquired taste. The reason for this being a stand out band is the vocals to be brutally honest. And when dealing with the Bible; only brutal honesty will do.

The lyrical matters on the part 2 of this two parts albums series is Jobs Book from the Bible. As with many other prog bands; Torman Maxt is a Christian band and not ashamed of that.

The first part of this series got some serious panning. But I am happy to report that part 2 is miles better than part 1. Trying to ignore the vocals, which is not bad, but still very different from most other vocals I have experienced before in the prog world; the music is actually good. The focus is on Yes like symphonic prog and less on progressive metal this time. Kansas springs to mind. Yes, Kansas is the best reference point for this album.

The quality is good throughout. There is no bad or any great tracks. The musicians does a competent job throughout. My gripe is the love/hate type of vocals, which is a recurring theme throughout my reviews of their four albums (deja vu !), and the lack of some truly great songs. But this is easily their best ever album. Good but not great.

3 stars

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 The Foolishness of God by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2001
2.61 | 7 ratings

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The Foolishness of God
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars Torman Maxt is back again with their second album.

This time with a blend of Dream Theater, Black Sabbath, Rush and Led Zeppelin..... someone says. And that is pretty close to the truth. But add some heavy King's X influences, post rock too and a slab of AOR. It is obvious that the band has learnt from the many mistakes they made on the debut album. Most of the instrumentation errors has been fixed here. The vocals are still there though and they are tiresome and almost painful at places. A bit more integration with the rest of the sound has helped to fix the worst vocal excesses.

The music is pretty good throughout this album. The music are guitar based throughout and the guitars has improved by many country miles. My gripes with this album is the vocals (again !!) and the lack of really memorable songs and a lot of wishy washy sameness. But this is still a good album which the band should be happy with. It is still a free download so check it out yourself.

3 stars (barely and under doubt)

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 Just Talking About The Universe... So Far by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.42 | 5 ratings

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Just Talking About The Universe... So Far
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by toroddfuglesteg

2 stars The debut album from the most controversial and most panned band in ProgArchives.

Torman Maxt's debut album is a free download from the website so I suggest the reader downloads it and makes up their own mind instead of just reading this review. Which makes music reviewing surplus to requirement.

Anyway, Torman Maxt has not done it easy for themselves with a debut which is firmly rooted in a prog metal, AOR, Heavy Prog and Neo-Prog mishmash landscape. They sounds like a watered down King's X at times. The music is both guitars and vocal harmonies based.

I should had continued now with some more descriptions of this music. But there is no denying that this album has some serious flaws which I cannot bypass when describing this music. The vocals........... sorry, but get another daytime job, sir. It is technically not horrendous and the vocalist can actually hold a tone. But they are just annoying like some fingernail scratching on the panels of a car. The guitars too leave a lot to be desired. Not to mention the bass and drums whose rhythm patterns lacks any imaginations. In short; the band needs to be more imaginative on their instruments.

The songs too are not impressive at all. On the contrary, they are pretty dull and I am struggling to find a good song here. I give up on this task. There are some guitar harmonies and melody lines which I find decent and even good. That is the only ray of light I find on this album.

It is a free download and that is the saving grace here. This album is somewhere between one and two stars in my books, but I end up on two stars due to some positives on this album.

2 stars

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 The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2007
1.58 | 38 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain: Part 1
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

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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 Just Talking About The Universe... So Far by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 1994
1.42 | 5 ratings

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Just Talking About The Universe... So Far
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

Review by JLocke
Prog Reviewer

1 stars I'll be frank: I'm sick of music like this. I'm sick of modern bands trying to replicate old music and regurgitate it as if it's something new. It simply isn't. I'm also sick of the 'epic' attitudes taken towards the composition of the songs. Every track doesn't need to feel like the next 'Close to the Edge', yet time and again I run into bands (particularly in the Prog Metal sub-genre) that aim so high so often, and it results in a large amount of pretentious cheese and little substance in the way of actual music or memorability (in this album's case, such a musical direction is even harder to digest because every song is an epic in its attitude, yet no track goes past the five minute mark). Granted, this album first came out when I was a child, so this release in particular may not fit under my 'modern' description, but the same band is still making music today, and I 'm quite honestly not looking forward to hearing the rest of the material. But I've decided that I will do so, mainly because one album of theirs in particular (not this one) has raised a lot of controversy around these parts. If it's anything like this first release, I don't see how anybody could come to any other conclusion than the obvious one.

This first release, Just Talking About The Universe... So Far, sounds like a mish-mash of all the power and prog metal that was big at the time (1993-1994) put into a blender with all the obvious prog bands of the 70s, and no real direction is ever decided upon. It honestly sounds like a small group of guys just crowded up in a room, started fiddling around on their instruments, and starting making noises that sounded like their favorite metal bands to their ears. ''Hey, man! That totally sounded like Dream Theater! Put it in the song!'' If that isn't how it happened, I would be very surprised indeed; because honestly, nothing on this album sounds like it was all that inspired or well thought-out before the songs were recorded. Just a bunch of messing around until they got to a point they thought sounded like 'prog' to them, and that was good enough. The vocals are just like any other generic, high-pitched, vibrato-ridden vocal style you've heard a thousand times before. Nothing new to offer in that department. The guitar work is fine. Better than I could do, surely. That doesn't mean I have to like it, because I don't. It's just not to my taste. Again, none of this sounds even remotely unique or individual to this band. I could turn on a Rush record and hear the same sound, except I would actually enjoy the songs.

Now, I'm not trying to be mean. I'm an independent musician myself, and I'm certainly not saying I could do any better than these guys. But I cannot pretend like it's good music when I honestly don't think it is. This is as bland as it gets, as far as I am concerned. Hell, you could turn on any of the best records by The Beatles, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, records that were made decades before this one, yet the music held within those releases sound centuries ahead of the stuff Torman Maxt offers on their debut 'progressive rock' album, Just Talking About The Universe... So Far. Even prog metal groups specifically, the best of them, sound miles ahead of this. As far as I can hear, this record is just a carbon copy of something else that's better quality and more artistically relevant. Rush, Dream Theater, Quensryche, take your pick. It's all being imitated here, and not all that well, in my view.

Some folks have been criticizing this band's music in general for being too simple. I'm not going to do that, actually. Because that doesn't matter to me, and it shouldn't matter to you. If the artist has passion, talent, and strong concepts worth presenting through his or her art, then technique doesn't really amount to much without talent, and the end result is the only thing most people will experience. Some folks' tendency to hold technical ability over everything else puzzles me indeed. Unfortunately, at least in this first album's case, the music doesn't sound very passionate or inspired. Not to me, anyway. As I said before, it's imitation music. Like a cover band who decided to attempt to make their own material, but only listened or cared about the handful of bands they had already been covering.

The best song (in other words, the least-irritating) is the first one, ''Riders of the Cosmic Circuit'' (ooh! What a super 'proggy' name!), and the worst track is the last one, ''Life Sketches 2''. And the quality of the music steadily declines over the course of the CD. Yes, it's one of 'those' albums. After a while, all the tracks started to blend into each other without any of them having much of an identity on their own. You could easily play any one of them, and I could have listened to the album fifty times, and still have trouble telling you which song is which. Considering how most albums I buy (including pop albums!) take me virtually only one listen to at least be able to differentiate between the songs, hopefully you get the idea of why I felt a bit irritated by the time the ordeal was over. A whole album's worth of soft guitar, then a sudden blast into frantic drum and guitar work, solos, screechy vocals, rinse and repeat, gets very trying on one's nerves. I'm not exaggerating, either. Eight of the ten tracks present on this release all have that same exact formula of the softer intro, followed by the 'awesome' blast of mighty guitars, and so forth. And if you just quickly switch between each song after getting a taste of the intros, it's very difficult hearing much difference. The outro of ''Ancient 120'' is the only stand-out moment on the album, since all the 'epic' nonsense gets pushed aside, and a nice, peaceful synth section leads the track out.

I wish I were just goofing around, but I'm not. This music is not just generic; it's unpleasant for me to listen to. The vocals are all over the place, the instrumentation has no creativity or flare of any kind, and often times the music sounds pieced together as I mentioned earlier in the review. Bits and pieces of their influences sewn together by very thin, stringy thread. I can't say I can recommend this to anyone who has any substantial amount of musical knowledge as a listener or as a musician. All you'll find, in my opinion, is more of the same, except not as good. In and of itself, that wouldn't even warrant the worst rating I could give it, but the fact that the music itself just isn't fun at all for me to listen to means that I'm most likely never going to listen to the album ever again. In other words, it's poor. So, that's the rating I'm going to give it. I honestly thought my controversial Bedlam In Goliath review would remain my only one-star review for a very long time, as I usually find something redeemable about even the least quality music I come across, but Torman Maxt's Just Talking About The Universe... So Far has proved me wrong. I don't even care about the goofy Christian lyrics. At this point, the lyrics wouldn't have raised my rating, even if they were good.

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 The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 by TORMAN MAXT album cover Studio Album, 2007
1.58 | 38 ratings

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The Problem Of Pain: Part 1
Torman Maxt Progressive Metal

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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