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Kevin Gilbert - The Shaming of the True CD (album) cover


Kevin Gilbert


Crossover Prog

4.20 | 174 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars In the 90s, singer and multi-instrumentalist Kevin Gilbert seemed sure to become a big name in modern prog before he accidentally asphyxiated himself, tragically cutting short a promising career. His friends looked through his estate and found a partially completed album that dealt with the music industry and it's corruptive effects on artists. Spock's Beard drummer Nick D'Virgilio filled in the gaps with his own multi-instrumental skills. The result is quite possibly the greatest indictment of the music business ever created. The Shaming of the True is the album that Bill Hicks might have championed, had he too not died far too early.

The album follows the story of Johnny Virgil, a wannabe star who moves to LA in order to live his dream. Every song is a highlight, but there are notable standouts. Suit Fugue (Dance of the A&R Men) features a humorous a cappella segment where various agents leave messages on Johnny's message machine, and it shows Johnny bowing to their demands. Water Under the Bridge shows Johnny coping with the sacrifice of credibility. Certifiable #1 Smash is the most vicious track on the album, as it skewers the tactics that the music industry uses to sell albums, from music videos to photo shoots. A Hard Day's Life is the best song on the album, as it covers an incredible amount of ground musically, and it is intensely emotional and Kevin's vocals on this song at times remind me of the emotional howl of Roger Daltrey.

I cannot divulge the full brilliance of this album, because it would ruin the concept, but suffice to say this is the concept album Roger Waters wished he had written. It is superb in every way. Kevin's vocals capture the emotional journey of Johnny, from the naive hope at the beginning to the rage in the middle to the sobered acceptance of his fate that comes at the end. They come across as a mix of Peter Gabriel and Roger Daltrey, providing a great combination of haunting softness and raw screams. The composition is also masterful, never flashy, yet perfectly reflecting Johnny's mood. Nick's drumming is perfect and he plays both original performances and patterns that Kevin had pre-programmed. It's great to hear absolutely no seams between the two. This posthumous masterpiece is sadly overlooked all too often since Kevin didn't have enough time to build fame before his death. However, if you locate this album, pick it up. It is one of the best progressive rock albums of the modern era. Rest in peace, Kevin.

Grade: A

1800iareyay | 5/5 |


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