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Arc Of Life - Arc of Life CD (album) cover


Arc Of Life


Crossover Prog

2.59 | 43 ratings

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2 stars It's good that they have found something to do with the on and off again "Yes" clone band members before they decided to release another album under that name and ruin it even more. John Davidson is here on vocals, the same one that they thought they could use as a replacement for Jon Anderson with the prior "Yes" album "Heaven and Earth", which I have a very hard time calling a "Yes" album because it sounds more like a debut album from this new incarnation "Arc of Life". We also get Billy Sherwood along for the ride, who Chris Squire apparently said could be his replacement, even after he was part of another one of what was considered the worst "Yes" album ever "Open Your Eyes". Hopefully, with him stuck in this band, he will also stay away from the "Yes" name. There are also 3 other members that had certain not-so-important ties to the band "Yes" in this band. Together, they put out this album, which, even after trying hard to give it a fair chance, I just can't manage to find anything about it that doesn't make me cringe.

It's true that Davidson's voice is similar to Anderson's voice. But, I always thought that Anderson had a soulful and believable aspect to his angelic vocals and that is missing from Davidson's vocals. It's almost like a washed-out version of Anderson's voice. Plus you get the irritating, yet obvious auto-tune sound which makes it even worse. I find that Davidson's voice is just too weak and they use that digital vocalization to help strengthen it here, but it doesn't work. Sherwood also tries to come to the rescue with his vocals as a deeper tone to Davidson's, but it doesn't help much. His voice tends to give it that 80's era feel, but it ends up getting lost in all of the terrible digital-vocal effects with the result of feeling sloppy. This is really evident in "Talking to Siri" and "The Magic of it All". The latter mentioned song tries desperately to be complex, which it is to some extend, but ends up being quite wonky. "I Want to Know You Better" is a very bad attempt at a radio friendly pop sound. Here, they cut back all complexity and thick layers to leave Sherwood's vocals too exposed, and the computer enhanced vocals are enough to turn any die-hard progger off.

The instrumentation is the only redeeming thing about the album, but even so, you can't rank it up there with the masterful instrumentation of "Yes". However, if they weren't trying so hard to be someone they aren't, it wouldn't be half bad. There are places that the instruments are a bit muddled in too many layers, but there are also places where the guitar or the keyboard is allowed to shine through. But those times are too few and far between, and also too short giving it all a choppy feel.

With the new name "Arc of Life", you would think that they would attempt to get their own style and sound, but instead they continue to be a clone-band. The sad thing is, it only comes across as being messy and false. While it is a relief that they are not hijacking the "Yes" name, they are still trying to hijack the sound. I have heard "Yes" cover bands that sound even better than this. The best thing to happen here, I think, is for the guitarist, keyboardist and drummer to run away from this project before their names get associated with Sherwood and Davidson as the musicians that could never live up to the "Yes" name.

TCat | 2/5 |


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