Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Journey - Trial By Fire CD (album) cover

TRIAL BY FIRE

Journey

 

Prog Related

2.53 | 69 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Whenever I'm feeling snarky I always know I can take my dour mood out on groups like Journey instead of my lovely wife or close relatives. But the joke's ever on me because, as usual with this band's records, what I foolishly presume will be a relatively painless aural exercise turns out to be an agonizing ordeal of yearning for it to be over. One of the drawbacks of the CD era is that commercial-minded ensembles like this bunch were now able to fit a lot more of their anemic, anti-prog material on a single disc. I should get a special Boy Scout merit badge just for sitting through this! In reference to this album singer Steve Perry boasted that "we didn't try to reinvent ourselves." He wasn't kidding. I'll say this up front: If you liked the music Journey was making just before they went on hiatus in '87 you're gonna be happy as a clam with what's on this, their 1996 comeback release, "Trial by Fire." Times changed. They didn't.

"Message of Love" - A spacey intro leads right into a "formula rock" ditty that holds no surprises. The only thing more predictable is the sun rising in the east every morning. "One More" - Following a sappy orchestral snippet that includes a "dramatic" spoken-word section I was mercilessly subjected to Perry's overwrought, Broadway stage-worthy vocalizing. In my mind I could picture him slowly rising from a smoking volcano and then strolling down a long lava-lined staircase while gesturing provocatively to the audience. (Hell, I had to think of something to take my mind off the banality of the tune.) "When You Love a Woman" - A very Michael Bolton-ish power ballad snooze fest complete with a faux gospel chorale swaying in the background. (I find I'm already having to restrain my gag reflex and I'm only 3 cuts in!) "If He Should Break Your Heart" - What's truly breaking my heart is that this kind of shlock is on a progressive rock music site. I mean, even cotton candy isn't this sugary. "Forever in Blue" - These guys evidently bought into the record label's motto of "If it worked a decade ago it'll work again. Trust us." Sadly the suits were right but to my ears this is a vile piece of embarrassingly dated crapola. "Castles Burning" - An example of what happens when a pop act tries to get "heavy." It's extremely difficult for me to imagine anyone playing this for a friend and exclaiming "Isn't this FANTASTIC?" And, like most of the tracks on this record, it's about four minutes too long. "Don't Be Down on Me Baby" - Here's where they roll out their obligatory "bluesy waltz" number. I found it almost as entertaining as clipping my toenails. Neal Schon is an okay musician but he always comes off as an insecure lead guitarist trying to impress his peers with how fast he can play. That approach gets real old real fast.

"Still She Cries" - Perhaps if they'd made this an instrumental it would've provided me with a much-needed ray of light but no, they just had to turn it into a song only a lovesick 12 year old Daddy's little princess could relate to. "Colors of the Spirit" - Oh, great. Now I'm on safari with these jokers. I reckon this is their attempt to create a "world beat" sound but Perry's pasteurized voice makes that a mission impossible. Good grief, this is torture. "When I Think of You" - I can almost hear one of the band members saying "Hey, fellas, let's manufacture another clone of 'Forever Yours!' Cha-ching!" Um, somebody nudge me when this dull-as-a-butter-knife dirge is over. Or not. "Easy to Fall" - At this juncture it's almost as if they're intentionally parodying themselves. This is so awful it defies description. "Can't Tame the Lion" - This tune begs the question; "Don't y'all have any flavors other than plain vanilla?" "It's Just the Rain" - Deafening white noise would be preferable to this. I feel like I'm trapped in an elevator. Alone. Evidently they felt it necessary to add a lot of "stormy night" sound effects to make sure I "got" the theme. Segue into "Trial By Fire" - Who actually paid good money for this stuff anyway? Did Steve just warble the line, "Hello, Mister Moon?" Yes. He did. Just shoot me. "Baby, I'm Leaving You" - Enough already. They just had to go full pseudo reggae on their way out, huh? This is about as soulful as a Lawrence Welk YouTube video. Pitiful. Journey has no shame whatsoever. I'm definitely leaving. To go throw up.

Dig this, though. This CD made it to #3 on the album charts! What? And the syrupy "When You Love a Woman" not only rose to #12 on the singles chart, it was nominated for a Grammy! If you don't believe me look it up for yourself. In addition, three other singles culled from this album charted! Yark! That means a substantial amount of people actually missed Journey's hit- making monotony machine and welcomed them back with um, open arms. If there's a bright spot to behold it's that this was the end of the Perry period. Seems he broke a hip in Maui before the support tour began and that forced the band to cancel the whole strolling-down-the-volcano thing they had planned. Bummer. It would've been neat-o. As I indicated earlier, if this is your cup of tea then be my guest. Dive in. Stay in. As for me, I'd rather hear fingernails scraping down a chalkboard. No stars.

Chicapah | 1/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this JOURNEY review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives