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John Wetton Battle Lines [Aka: Voice Mail] album cover
3.56 | 52 ratings | 7 reviews | 22% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1994

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Right Where I Wanted To Be (4:54)
2. Battle Lines (5:24)
3. Jane (4:19)
4. Crime Of Passion (4:42)
5. Sand In My Hand (3:48)
6. Sea Of Mercy (4:40)
7. Hold Me Now (5:58)
8. Space And Time (4:06)
9. Walking On Air (3:09)
10. You're Not The Only One (4:59)

Total time 45:59

Bonus track on 1996 CD reissue:
11. Battle Lines (Acoustic version) (5:31)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Wetton / lead & backing vocals, bass, acoustic guitar, keyboards

- Michael Landau / guitar
- Steve Lukather / guitar
- Robert Fripp / guitar, devices
- Robbie Buchanan / grand piano
- Bob Marlette / keyboards, grand piano, synthesizer, programming
- Claude Gaudette / keyboards, programming
- Jed Leiber / keyboards, programming
- Dave Boruff / alto saxophone
- Michael Cartellone / drums
- Simon Phillips / drums
- Paul Buckmaster / orchestral arrangements

Releases information

Artwork: 96hundred Design with Cat Gwynn (photo)

CD Cromwell Productions ‎- CPCD 020 (1994, Europe)
CD Canyon International ‎- PCCY-00573 (1994, Japan) Re-entitled "Voice Mail" and new cover art
CD Blueprint ‎- BP-240-CD (1996, Australia) New cover art and a bonus track

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JOHN WETTON Battle Lines [Aka: Voice Mail] ratings distribution

(52 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (29%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

JOHN WETTON Battle Lines [Aka: Voice Mail] reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Right where he wanted to be

This is not John Wetton's first solo album, but it was the first one he did after his participation in Asia. Wetton eventually left and Asia soldiered on with John Payne on vocals and after a collaboration album with Phil Manzanera, Wetton's solo career begun for real with Battle Lines. Robert Fripp appears on this album, but Battle Lines has clearly more to do with Asia than with King Crimson. Indeed, Battle Lines can be seen a continuation of late 80's Asia in the 90's. This is hardly a Prog album and as such it is bound to disappoint anyone expecting it to be. However, Wetton is a very talented songwriter and this album features a good set of songs. He is right where he wants to be musically, but it is mostly not right where I want to be, I'm afraid!

Still, the only songs I have a problem with here are the two ones with girl's names appearing in the choruses - Jane and Sand In My Heart (Mary Ann). Despite being released in 1994, Jane also has a strong 80's sound that I'm sure will make many Prog fans cringe. The opening track is also a bit too catchy for my taste. Otherwise the songs are generally good, but mostly rather unexciting.

The title track is in my opinion a great song! This was the only song from this album that I knew before from various live recordings. For example, from the excellent concert DVD Amorata and the even better Steve Hackett DVD The Tokyo Tapes on which Wetton sings. Another song here that I really like is the beautiful keyboard based ballad Walking On Air.

Despite the presence of a couple of very good songs and the generally high quality of the song writing, Battle Lines is only recommended for fans of Asia and John Wetton. For the average Prog fan this is not the best place to start.

Review by Rune2000
3 stars It's all about setting the right level of expectations...

Most of us here are well familiar with the great studio album trilogy of the 73-74 King Crimson lineup and some of us are also fans of the two late '70s U.K. albums. Wouldn't it have been swell to hear more of that great music on a John Wetton solo album? Well, you can pretty much forget all that on Battle Lines since 1982 was the year that Wetton discovered his niche in the AOR genre which he's been relying on ever since!

Does this mean that Battle Lines is a bad release? No, not at all. In fact, this is easily the best collection of tracks that Wetton has released since the famous Asia debut. Just keep in mind that this album has nothing even remotely prog related on it and you'll be just fine. I happen to enjoy this type of music when it has just enough momentum to it and Battle Lines certainly delivers the goods in the somewhat cheesy songwriting department. Most of these tracks will make you realize the Wetton has no intention of leaving the '80s since this release sounds almost exactly like the early Asia recordings. The material tends to lean heavily on the softer ballad-driven side of the band's repertoire with Right Where I Wanted To Be being as bombastic as this material will ever get.

If you're a fan of Asia and know their debut, Alpha, Phoenix and Omega by heart then this is definitely a great follow-up purchase for you. If you're looking for that wonderful bass player and singer from the '70s, who could mesmerize us with his vocals and skillful playing, then you'll have more luck exploring all the great live King Crimson records that have been reissued over the last decade. John Wetton has no intention of reinventing the wheel with his material so keep those expectations at a reasonable level and you'll find Battle Lines to be a pleasant little album well worth a few spins.

**** star songs: Right Where I Wanted To Be (4:56) Battle Lines (5:25) Crime Of Passion (4:43) Hold Me Now (5:58) Space And Time (4:07) Walking On Air (3:10) You're Not The Only One (5:02)

*** star songs: Jane (4:19) Sand In My Hand (3:50) Sea Of Mercy (4:40)

Latest members reviews

4 stars The passing of John W. has affected me deeply, so I went back and gave a spin to some of his work, that may have not been on the top of my list over the years. "Battle Lines" turned out to be an unexpected pleasant surprise. Initially released under the name of "Voice Mail" in 1994 in Japan on ... (read more)

Report this review (#1693237) | Posted by tvtennis | Wednesday, February 15, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Your girlfriend doesn't like prog ? Try this one. Of course, you won't tell her that the only prog element here is Robert Fripp's name in the credits. Seriously, Battle Lines is the most unchallenging album I have heard in years. Everything here is purposely mellow to the core and very easy o ... (read more)

Report this review (#120494) | Posted by Bupie | Wednesday, May 2, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars An outstanding masterpiece of melodic-rock !!!! Very catchy melodies in 10 beautiful timeless songs. The songs on "Battlelines" are mostly melodic-rock/AOR based and well-structured. A CD which you can play again and again all over the years. With no doubt, this is JOHN WETTON's best and most ... (read more)

Report this review (#79660) | Posted by Grendelbox | Sunday, May 28, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A fine album. The presence of rock musician/producer Bob Marlette (Alice Cooper, Joe Satriani...) is maybe the reason of the great sound on this album. For the songs, it's a good mix of straightforward rock and beautiful ballads. The album starts with a little soundscape from Mr Robert Fripp (! ... (read more)

Report this review (#71022) | Posted by zaxx | Friday, March 3, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Quite possibly one of the greatest albums ever. It is not be a prog rock album but what it is is a fine rock album. In my opinion there is not a single weak track on this record. Each track flows from one to the next in what seems like the perfect order for this record. A must for any John Wet ... (read more)

Report this review (#63294) | Posted by | Thursday, January 5, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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