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Journey - Trial By Fire CD (album) cover




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2.53 | 70 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars Return

Trial By Fire was Journey's first album in ten years and the last one ever to feature the distinctive lead vocals of Steve Perry. I think it is fair to say that this album was a return to form of sorts, but it is debatable if Journey had much of a form to return to! What I mean is that Trial By Fire was undoubtedly the best Journey album since the band's "golden" period in the late 70's and early 80's, but saying this is not saying much, if you ask me. Even adding that this is one of Journey's better albums overall does not even involve much praise in itself. Still, Trial By Fire is a decent album on its own merits and one that even might hold some interest for at least some visitors to the parts.

There are several good songs here, though not a single great one. Unfortunately, there are also some not so good songs that bring the album down. The total running time is much too long for the album's good. It would have been very easy for the band to make a much more coherent, consistent and enjoyable album by just removing the lesser tracks from the track list. But I suppose that the compact disc offered a strong temptation to put this much music out at once, but this material would have benefitted considerably from being limited to the length of a single vinyl LP, say around 35 to 40 minutes or so.

The first two tracks are quite promising, especially One More which reminds of John Payne- era Asia. Message Of Love and When You Love A Woman have lyrics that are hard for me to accept. I really don't like such explicit and standard love songs lyrically speaking, but musically these two songs are quite alright. The next track worthy of mention is Castles Burning which starts out as a rather generic heavy Blues rocker but eventually develops nicely into something that reminds me of the Neo-Prog band Pallas toward the end of it!

Many of the songs are very typical Journey tunes of varying quality and I will not mention them all explicitly, I mention only those that stand out for me for one reason or another. There is a considerable amount of songs in the middle of the album that just pass me by without leaving any particular impressions. Colours Of The Spirit is an exception here as it features some interesting World-Music sounds, but it does unfortunately not develop into anything particularly interesting. It is not until Can't Tame The Lion that the album once again becomes interesting to me. This is a good song with a strong melody and great vocals. Another two good songs follow in It's Just The Rain and Trial By Fire and these would have ended the album in a reasonably strong fashion if it wasn't for the awful "hidden" track that closes the disc.

To sum up. There are just too many fillers here that add nothing of value to the album for this to be a good album. It does, however, have its moments and is indeed a very worthy addition to the collections of Journey fans. But beyond those fans, it has very limited interest.

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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