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Torman Maxt - The Problem of Pain: Part 1 CD (album) cover


Torman Maxt


Progressive Metal

1.57 | 39 ratings

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Andy Webb
Special Collaborator
Retired 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.


Andy Webb | 1/5 |


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