This is the fourth full length album from Canadian stadium rockers Theory of A Deadman and the good news, for fans of the band, is that this typical TODM material, fans of the band will love it. However the bad news, for people who like good music is that there is another TODM album thats gonna be all over MTV, Kerrang FM, youtube, planet rock etc... and drive us all to distraction.
I honestly can't see the attraction in this lot. On the whole this album, is insipidly bland, average in performance and musicianship at best and produced in that 'lets try to be edgy when were not' style of production that modern stadium rockers love so much (hello Nickleback, Bon Jovi et al.)
I've played through this album several times now, trying to find something positive to say, and yes I will say that on two or three tracks there are a few memorable riffs. But that's about it I'm afraid. Even those songs that start with a good riff, soon degenerate into bland pop rock fodder. Tyler Connolly's lead guitar work is some of the most uninspired I've heard in a long time, with the sole exception of eight bars in the middle of Drag me To Hell he is content to blandly play the melody of the verse he has just sung, and the rest of the band never do much else to raise this turgid music mess even a few inches of the cesspit of pap this album creates around itself.
And then we come to to Mr Connolly's lyrical musings. Over the whole album his blind sexism and hatred of women shines out like the neon banner of a wife beaters convention. Scan through the lyrics and you soon get the idea that he LOVES women. Providing they are 'On Their Knees' performing acts of oral sex on him and 'shutting the fuck up', other than that they are are all bitches that should either shape up or ship out, or get a 'good slap'. Now over one or two songs I could dismiss this as writing 'in character' but over every song on 46 minute long album (and previous releases as well).... that says to me the guy either has serious issues he should get looked at, or he is a complete arsehole that needs to learn that real men don't slap and abuse women. Maybe you could get away with this stuff to an extent in the 1980's, but even the likes of AC/DC and Guns And Roses never went that far and with that much venom. It's an outdated attitude that's not only offensive, but shows the complete lack of self esteem of female 'fans' who let him get away with it.And a curse on all the TV stations and Radio stations who continue to encourage him by playing his sexist bullshit all the time.
So that's it, it's albums like this that make me shun the mainstream as a whole. Why bother with this crap when you can listen to the recent releases by the likes of Yes, Iron Claw, Powerwolf, Work of Art, The Effect and even Kids in Glass Houses? come on I'm waiting for an honest and intelligent answer.
In short - a terrible album, avoid like the plague
for fans of... bland music and spousal abuse.
First thing you have to understand is that this new album is no "Close To The Edge" or "Relayer" but then again nothing the band did afterwards with Jon and Rick measured up to those masterworks.
What we have here is catchy melodies that twist and turn into your mind and stay there in a good earworm sort of way. Steve Howe delivers some of his best lead guitar work for a number of years and is prominent on many tracks.
The title track is nearly 24 minutes of musical heaven, with all the Yes sensibilities you could want.
"The Man You Always Wanted Me To Be" features a lovely Chris Squire lead vocal and i kid you not, also a beautiful McCartney bass line near the end.
"Life On A Film Set" starts off with a sound very reminiscent of early King Crimson or one of the beautiful Greg Lake moments of ELP before sucking you right into the vortex of that quirky Yes sound. I always loved the earlier prog laced with pop sensibilities of Yes when they first started out and this song ticks all the boxes.
The Steve Howe penned "Hour Of Need" is a beautiful little 3 minute number ( although this author would have preferred the full 6 plus minute version only available on the Japanese release - Only a minor gripe though )
"Solitaire" is a Howe penned acoustic number evoking memories of "Mood For A Day" from the "Fragile days" and finally "Into The Storm" ends the whole kooboodle off in rousing fashion with Steve Howe again to the fore with a great solo at the end, and the whole band sounding as if they are truly enjoying themselves.
Benoit David is not Jon Anderson and Geoff Downes is not Rick Wakeman, but hell who cares when you have a collection of songs as good as these lovingly produced by Mr Trevor Horn.
My verdict is this "Yes" sound refreshed, rejuvenated and bloody damn great.
REVIEW BY - IAN BARTLETT
for fans of - classic progressive rock