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Journey - Trial By Fire CD (album) cover




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2.53 | 70 ratings

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2 stars After their "Frontiers" album and tour, Journey took some time to rest as a band. Steve Perry recorded a very commercial mellow album called "Street Talk" (1984) which included the very mellow ballad called "Sherrie", which also has one of the worst video clips I have seen. I listened to "Street Talk" when a female friend lent me that album for a brief time in 1985. I didn`t like it so I never bought it.

By 1986, there was a new album by Journey called "Raised on Radio", and by that time the band only had three members (Perry, Schon and Cain, the main songwriters) with Steve Smith and Ross Valory being fired before the album was recorded. I only listened to a song from that album called "Be Good to Yourself" in a FM Radio station in my city, a song which I didn`t like very much, sounding for me as very similar to the songs from Perry`s "Street Talk" album. I never bought "Raised on Radio", and I forgot to play Journey`s music for several years.

By 1989, Schon and Cain had another band called "Bad English" with lead singer John Waite. They recorded two albums which were not as successful as the albums they recorded with Journey. I watched on TV to two of their video clips, and for me that band was just another commercial Arena Rock band whose style was similar to Journey`s in some parts but with another lead singer. I never bought their albums.

Then, in late 1996, this album titled "Trial by Fire" was released. I remember being in a record shop buying another CD and when I paid for that CD I received in the bag an ad announcing the release of "the new album recorded by the classic line-up of Journey". I didn`t buy it then, not being interested very much in Journey`s music since the mid eighties.

In mid 1998 I went to a record shop which had at low prices several CDs released by Sony / Columbia. One of them was Steve Perry`s second solo album titled "For the Love of Strange Medicine" (1994). I bought it and I liked it a lot. That album is much better than "Street Talk", in my opinion.

By late 1998, I went again to the same record shop which again had those Sony / Columbia low priced CDs and cassettes. I didn`t find the CD version of "Trial by Fire", but I bought the cassette version instead.

"Trial by Fire" is a good album, but it seems to me that by 1996 Journey was reforming to try to repeat their old formula of Hits in an album with some sugar ballads and some heavy rock songs. I have to say that I still like some of the songs ("Message of Love", "One More", "It`s Just Rain"). But even in the songs I liked I could find similarities with old songs like "Separate Ways" (in the case of "Message of Love" and "One More"). There are other songs with a lot of influence from old ballads composed by them, and also with some influences from Steve Perry`s "Street Talk" album ("When You Love a Woman", "If He Should Break Your Heart"). The only ballad that I really like a lot is "It`s Just Rain". The rest of the songs are not as interesting for my taste. The band also had the help of a songwriter which was not part of the band (John Bettis, who I think that he wrote some songs for "Street Talk" with Perry) in a few songs. So, for me this album sounds more like they were really working hard to try to capture in a new album their old sound but with a lot of not very interesting songs.

I have to say that I prefer Steve Perry`s second solo album more than this "Trial by Fire" album. It is much better that "Trial by Fire" and much less commercial than "Street Talk".

After this album was released, Perry had some health problems which prevented the band to tour again. Perry needed a hip surgery, but he kept the band waiting for two years before he was given an ultimatum by Cain and Schon and he finally was fired in 1998. He finally went to that surgery after he left Journey, and the band carried on with other lead singers which despite being very good couldn`t repeat the success of Journey with Perry. Steve Smith also left the band after Perry was fired not seeing a future for the band without Perry.

This album was very successful in the Hit Parade charts, but...I don`t like it very much in comparison to their "Escape" and "Frontiers" albums.

Guillermo | 2/5 |


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