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Journey - Trial By Fire CD (album) cover




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2.54 | 71 ratings

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Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Despite the proliferation of sappy-ballads, Trial By Fire remains for me a fun listen when I am in the mood for Journey's signature brand of saccharine rock.

Specifically, the songwriting and mood clicks here better than most of their other albums, which are very song-oriented and formulaic in their delivery. All of the songs are longer than their older hits, giving the musicians more time to experiment with solos and instrumental passages, which they thankfully do quite well. Message of Love and One More are energetic openers in the vein of Separate Ways, with big melodies and Schon's guitar sounding aggressive and sharp. Can't Time the Lion is especially enjoyable, since it possess a style and sound different than anything they've done before.

Perry's vocals are thankfully much smoother and easier on the ears than in the past, but some of the ballads are terrible. Don't Be Down on Me Baby and When I Think of You are worthless, plodding, sentimental yuck, reminiscent of his solo offerings. Fortunately, there are some classy vocals here as well-- nothing so big and pompous as Faithfully/Open Arms (which is good, in my book). Still She Cries, It's Just the Rain, and Trial By Fire are all good examples, with reserved deliveries by Perry and very cool, smooth guitar playing from Schon.

So, I'll stick my neck out here and say that Trial By Fire is actually one of the band's better albums; it is more reserved, stylistic, and artistic than their packaged-to-sell albums from the '80's. Prog fans who enjoy the campiness of Journey may actually find themselves appreciating the musicianship in this one (and one can always just delete the lame ballads from their iPod).

Songwriting: 2 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Prog Leviathan | 3/5 |


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