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Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 6:58 am
by tater1977
EVERYBODY'S DUMMY

Journey 10: Trial By Fire

Friday, September 14, 2018

http://everybodysdummy.blogspot.com/201 ... l?spref=tw

Steve Perry’s solo album hadn’t made much of an impact, but then again Bad English—Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain’s collaboration with John Waite—didn’t last past a second album, and Neal’s attempt at metal in Hardline was largely ignored. Even the Storm, which featured Gregg Rolie and the spurned rhythm section of Ross Valory and Steve Smith, missed out on success.

Yet in an era when the Eagles managed to get back together, the re-emergence of Journey in the studio made sense, at least from a commercial angle. But would they sound any good?

Sure enough, the “classic lineup” that gave us Escape and Frontiers did indeed make an entire album together, which immediately led to Steve’s refusal to tour behind it, and an unintentionally hilarious episode of Behind The Music. The most maddening thing was, by Journey standards, Trial By Fire was pretty good.

Coming in at over an hour, the album shows the three songwriters attempting to straddle all possible worlds associated with the brand, giving equal time to big ballads and riff-heavy rockers. In fact, the first “single” from the album was a double: “Message Of Love” aped enough of “Separate Ways” to make it to classic rock radio, while “When You Love A Woman” was destined to be several couples’ wedding song. They are separated on the album by “One More”, another loud track with top-speed fretwork and nightmarish strings.

From there it’s mostly where they left off on Raised On Radio, but with a more unified sound than the patchwork of that album. “If He Should Break Your Heart” and “Forever In Blue” are typical Perry looks back to the high school crush who still haunts him, seemingly. And just when you think they’ve got the magic back, “Castles Burning” induces a headache sure to last longer than the six minutes it takes to sit through.

You’re smarter to hit the skip button for “Don’t Be Down On Me Baby”, a slow apologetic waltz that apparently didn’t take, for all Steve’s got are the memories in “Still She Cries”, and Jonathan slathering the end of the track with John Tesh piano stylings.

Along with new age, so-called “world music” kept instrumentalists busy in the ‘90s between reunion albums, and “Colors Of The Spirit” also shows the influence of The Lion King back then. “When I Think Of You” brings back the romance and the slow dance, even if it does recall the love theme from Major League.

Yet if there’s a real winner on the album, it’s “Easy To Fall”, to which the whole band rises: music, lyrics, harmonies, chord changes, key changes, a retro outro, just a great performance, and truly a hidden gem in the catalog. “Can’t Tame The Lion” delivers a final blast of arena rock, with “It’s Just The Rain” (complete with sound effects!) and the title track hobbling to the finish.

(As if that wasn’t enough, there was a hidden track after several seconds of silence, the half-baked Sam Cooke reggae homage “Baby I’m A Leaving You”. This was given its own index on the eventual reissue, followed by “I Can See It In Your Eyes”, a surprisingly edgy track previously only included on the Japanese version of the album.)

As head-slappingly silly as it seems sometimes, Trial By Fire remains a much more worthy end to the Steve Perry era of Journey. Whatever legs it might’ve had were undermined by the band’s inactivity, leaving the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Kiss, and countless other “reunited” bands to rake in the box office receipts. The album’s mostly been forgotten; meanwhile, we’re still trying to figure out the significance of the cat lady and the giant baby in the boat on the album cover.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 12:47 pm
by Memorex
For me, the best Journey album.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 1:24 pm
by Journey2Infinity
My second favorite Journey album behind Escape. The sound, the mix, the magic. TBF is superb.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 3:18 pm
by Aaron
I'm not a big fan of TBF. My favorites are Evolution, Departure, Infinity and Escape with the others falling below.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 4:52 pm
by JourneyHard
There are too many ballads on Trial By Fire. And Castles Burning is the first Journey song I didn't like. They needed more rockers to balance out the album. If there were more rockers, when you got to When I Think Of You, it would have popped and sounded even better.

The best Journey albums are Infinity, Evolution, Departure, Escape and Frontiers. That means three albums with Gregg Rolie, and only two with Jonathan Cain.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:07 am
by scarab
One to many ballads especially towards the end.
Take out DBDWMB and add the Japan track I can see it in your eyes and you have a great album.
I actaully like Castles Burning, especially after hearing Augeri do it live

I wonder if there was anything else recorded for TBF

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 1:47 am
by jrny84
Love TBF. Some of my favorites include: "Trial By Fire", "It's Just the Rain", "If He Should Break Your Heart", and "One More". I know im in the minority, but I also liked a decent amount of stuff on ROR. Really dig "Girl Cant Help it", "I'll Be Alright", "Eyes of a Woman", and "Be Good to Yourself".

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:16 am
by Lora
Memorex wrote:For me, the best Journey album.

Ditto that. Far and away my favorite.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 5:54 am
by Gina3008
Lora wrote:
Memorex wrote:For me, the best Journey album.

Ditto that. Far and away my favorite.


Double that ditto.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:39 am
by Marabelle
Overall it’s beautiful almost hymnal. There were some rockers but Trail by Fire made me think of repentance, flagellation and forgiveness. The music weighed me down with the first chords asking for charity for the soul and spirit. Beautiful but I listen to that particular song only when I have an hour for introspection and meditation.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Sun Sep 16, 2018 10:46 pm
by Gideon
Memorex wrote:For me, the best Journey album.


Same. It’s not perfect and there are a few duds, but TBF is overall Journey at its peak IMO. (Except vocally.)

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 2:08 pm
by Sighlence
jrny84 wrote: I know im in the minority, but I also liked a decent amount of stuff on ROR. Really dig "Girl Cant Help it", "I'll Be Alright", "Eyes of a Woman", and "Be Good to Yourself".


RoR was really good and i rank it high on the list. Steve’s voice on this album is grand and he takes it to levels i thought weren’t possible after Frontiers. The tour though, while it had its fine moments, seemed rushed and ultimately IMO did some damage to Steve’s chords based on a few Live YouTube uploads i have heard where his voice strained and cracked. I cringe when i hear it because it is the first time up to that point his voice seemed vulnerable. He/they pushed too hard and in hindsight you can tell he was getting cooked. I’m sure the peruvian marching powder didn’t help either, and probably was the main reason for the chord vulnerability(my theory anyway).

I have just recently gone back to TBF to give it an honest spin instead of a one and done of MOL. Starting to warm up to it and there are actually four or five songs that i quite like. The above review seems a tad on the harsh side.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:08 am
by jrny84
Sighlence wrote:
jrny84 wrote: I know im in the minority, but I also liked a decent amount of stuff on ROR. Really dig "Girl Cant Help it", "I'll Be Alright", "Eyes of a Woman", and "Be Good to Yourself".


RoR was really good and i rank it high on the list. Steve’s voice on this album is grand and he takes it to levels i thought weren’t possible after Frontiers. The tour though, while it had its fine moments, seemed rushed and ultimately IMO did some damage to Steve’s chords based on a few Live YouTube uploads i have heard where his voice strained and cracked. I cringe when i hear it because it is the first time up to that point his voice seemed vulnerable. He/they pushed too hard and in hindsight you can tell he was getting cooked. I’m sure the peruvian marching powder didn’t help either, and probably was the main reason for the chord vulnerability(my theory anyway).

I have just recently gone back to TBF to give it an honest spin instead of a one and done of MOL. Starting to warm up to it and there are actually four or five songs that i quite like. The above review seems a tad on the harsh side.


I totally agree. I actually like the rasp in his voice and that combined with the emotion on many of those ROR songs takes you to a different place. I could also feel that from many of the TBF songs.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:50 am
by Gideon
jrny84 wrote:
Sighlence wrote:
jrny84 wrote: I know im in the minority, but I also liked a decent amount of stuff on ROR. Really dig "Girl Cant Help it", "I'll Be Alright", "Eyes of a Woman", and "Be Good to Yourself".


RoR was really good and i rank it high on the list. Steve’s voice on this album is grand and he takes it to levels i thought weren’t possible after Frontiers. The tour though, while it had its fine moments, seemed rushed and ultimately IMO did some damage to Steve’s chords based on a few Live YouTube uploads i have heard where his voice strained and cracked. I cringe when i hear it because it is the first time up to that point his voice seemed vulnerable. He/they pushed too hard and in hindsight you can tell he was getting cooked. I’m sure the peruvian marching powder didn’t help either, and probably was the main reason for the chord vulnerability(my theory anyway).

I have just recently gone back to TBF to give it an honest spin instead of a one and done of MOL. Starting to warm up to it and there are actually four or five songs that i quite like. The above review seems a tad on the harsh side.


I totally agree. I actually like the rasp in his voice and that combined with the emotion on many of those ROR songs takes you to a different place. I could also feel that from many of the TBF songs.


RoR might be Perry's best vocally, which allows the album to punch well above its actual weight class.
But while his voice is soulful, I think the music itself isn't quite as powerful. The drums are just... bad and you can tell from the direction of the album that the precarious balance between Perry, Schon, and Cain was upset heavily towards Perry.
Stand-out tracks for me are IBAWY and WCTNGOF - the latter of which might very well be the best Journey vocal ever, in my opinion. Just fantastic.

Contrast that with TBF. Perry sounds pretty good here, but not great; the power and especially range are noticeably diminished even compared to the Strange Medicine days. But for me, what that means is that everyone else gets to shine a bit more than usual to compensate for Perry. Sonically and musically, it seems to me that TBF establishes an equilibrium among all 5 players. Smitty's playing is leagues above any of his previous efforts with Journey; even Ross's bass dominates some of the songs, like "One More."

It's just a strong effort all the way around, especially for the album's length and ambition. Sure, I would've loved another handful of rockers but Message of Love, One More, and I Can See It In Your Eyes can compete with any of Journey's other rockers before or since.

And while it's tempting to call Easy to Fall the standout, for me TBF gave me the ultimate Journey song in the form of If He Should Break Your Heart.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 9:15 am
by jrny84
Gideon wrote:
And while it's tempting to call Easy to Fall the standout, for me TBF gave me the ultimate Journey song in the form of If He Should Break Your Heart.


I'm with you on "If He Should Break Your Heart." Great lyrics, strong chorus, and just an all around awesome song. How in the world did this not chart on billboard hot 100??? It was a top 20 hit in Canada.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:31 pm
by Ehwmatt
I actually find RoR and TBF to be far more cohesive units as albums than a lot of the classics, Escape included. Doesn't necessarily mean the best of those albums is better than the best of Escape, Frontiers, etc., but RoR and TBF really flow nicely and have some great moments in their own right. BGTYS, IBAWY, If He Should Break Your Heart, and Trial by Fire (the song) rank among my top Journey tunes any day of the week.

Re: Journey 10: Trial By Fire

PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2018 12:56 am
by Art Vandelay
I'm a fan of all the Perry-era albums, each for different reasons. I didn't really become a fan of the band until the Greatest Hits came out. Because of that, TBF holds a special place for me because it was the first time I was able to experience and enjoy the excitement of new Journey music. The release of TBF also coincided when there were a lot of defining moments in my life, so TBF resonates with me for many reasons more than any of their other albums.