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John Wetton - Rock Of Faith CD (album) cover


John Wetton


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3.00 | 29 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Keep the faith!

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

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

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

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

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

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

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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