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Torman Maxt - The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 CD (album) cover


Torman Maxt


Progressive Metal

1.58 | 38 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
1 stars Review 38, The Problem of Pain, Torman Maxt, 2007


I Know What I Don't Like (In My Torman Maxtrobe) [apologies to James for the blatant joke theft]

Usually I have the blessed advantage of exploring classic groups, or else looking at high-rated groups. Hence I rarely find things I really dislike. This, however, even on a free download, was among the rarely. The singer's voice is intolerable (really, I can't stand it. Whiny, unemotional and irritating), the music is very reminiscent of 2112, only without the high calibre of individual playing, atmosphere or direction, and lyrically it is simply very badly done. One of my pet quibbles is lyrics not being reflected in the music, and this takes that to another level. The interpretation is constantly cheerful, and really does not convey any pain or anguish whatsoever in the subject matter. The most interesting, and pretty much only, high point is Satan's First Song, which has some darker tones that are extremely refreshing.

The overture begins with a random bit of dancy rhythm before the completely unrelated guitars kick off with a cheerful, bland piece. One of the guitars provides rhythm, the other just wails nonsensically. Rather weak drumming marks the piece. Spots of acoustics turn up every now and then, but I have no idea why.

Job's First Song features the vocals. I wish it hadn't. Slightly different, but equally boring guitars feature at times, barely connected. A brief, cheery guitar solo features, but it does little to alleviate the lack of interest.

The Angel's First Song is an acoustic-based piece with a slightly mantric set of multiple vocals with some rather failed Scarborough Fair-esque layering. A bland drum part again runs behind it, and the mindless acoustic strumming isn't really contributed to by the bursts of electrics.

Satan's First Song is the unmistakable highlight of the album, with unfortunately terrible vocals dragging down even further the opening generics of the piece. However, a rather dark metallic feel takes over, including a decent solo and some potent, shifting guitar. This leads rather artificially to set of maddened guitar and some haunting background throbs and glockenspiel, which in turn leads to another decent song part with some more passable guitar work and drums that actually highlight it. Not great, but I could imagine myself listening to an album of this song's quality without the cringing I get from the rest of Pain, Pt. 1.

Job's Initial Shock begins again with the vocals (alas), more darker guitar parts, though they are repeated for too long. More of the not-quite-working vocal layering takes place. Back to the dross, I believe.

Job's Resolve is another of the happy guitar parts with more post-proto-neo-Mick Pointer drumming. Again, we have to employ our voluntary deafness to drown out the vocals and terribly-written lyrics. This is not a resolve, it's a party. A really, really bad party. Without beer.

Job's Commitment is basically the same as the previous song.

The Angel's Second song features a brief soundscape, which provides a gradual release and a rather transcendal feel that suits the piece, even if I get the sense I've heard that soundscape before a dozen times. A slightly folky feel, without a little reminiscence of the more annoying sections of Remembering - High The Memory (Yes), only without good parts within that, comes in to conclude the song.

Satan's Second Song again begins with the dark theme of Satan's First Song, continues with the whiny vocals trying to carry an atmosphere, which they can't. Another set of heavier guitar comes in, again very similar to the first song, only without the interesting break section.

Job's Contemplation begins quite well with a more thoughtful piece complete with much repeated guitar parts and some acoustics. I don't like this.

Job's Second Response is whiny and annoying, with its attempt at defiance crushed by the vocals and overly-many repeats. Two unconnected parts move before our ears: electrics and acoustics. Both are boring.

Job's Wife's small measure of anger is a slight pick-up until the first disastrous chorus. A few mindless repeats with barely-altered lyrics annoy us. A repetitive metallic section wears on us for a little while.

A Great Silence is a poor end to a poor album, with more of the whiny vocals, a repeated guitar part, some of the attempts at brief, punchy guitar being repeated too much for effectiveness. However, we do get some moments of decent guitar. A heartbeat-ish effect and then a whinging, annoying synth lead us out.

In brief, nothing really satisfying. Terrible vocals, a poor exploration of the concept, lots of repetition and a failure to create good songs out of most of the few good ideas on the album. It's also not really progressive at all, per se, outside of the soundscape, Satan's First Song (which has a moment or two or unusual daring), and the multiple vocals, which while weak, are at least unusual, and only on occasion remotely metallic. I can't see the appeal at all to this album, though I think the band do have slightly more potential than they let on, and could really do with more daring or unconventional compositional choices. I certainly wouldn't pay money for it, but if you really want to try it, there's still a download available.

Rating: One Star Favourite Track: Satan's First Song

Edit for politeness. I have to admit that this does seem a little unnecessarily nasty in retrospect. Just summing up my views: there's nothing here that really corresponds with my taste, and I'm not as forgiving of a music-based band that doesn't quite hit the mark than one that focuses on atmospheres or experimentation. A line of intent-guessing seems a little bad in hindsight.

So, apologies for not writing this a little more nicely. The band probably aren't as bad as I make them out to be. My rating remains unchanged, though, as I figure I can't have enjoyed it a lot to write such an unpleasant review.

TGM: Orb | 1/5 |


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