4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Not the most popular Journey album, just the best.,
This review is from: Trial By Fire (Audio CD)
Trial by Fire is the album that many of us die hard Journey fans thought we would never see. It marks Journey's return to the studio, with their most popular band line up, after a break of a whole decade. Long after we had given up hope, Journey rose from the ashes invigorated with new life and new experiences gained from the band members separately pursuing their own solo careers during the separation. This album is full of new ideas, and whilst being characteristically Journey, it brings a new dimension to the bands repertoire.
If you used to listen to Journey but lost touch with the band during the '86-'96 Journey drought and you still think that Journey's Escape is the best album they ever released, then give this one a spin. For me, this is the best album that has ever been laid down onto plastic by any band. Not only that, it has the best album cover too!
Where do I start? You have 14 tracks on here (actually 15-if you're not too quick to turn it off at the end). To pigeon hole things very crudely, there are four 'rockers' and four 'power ballads' and several others that don't really fit into either category. But beyond that, this album shows the first signs of what I think of as the new Journey 'wall of sound' era where they hit your senses with many layers of sound at once. Despite the change of lead singer, the later albums 'Arrival' and 'Red13' continue this trend and expand upon it. The band matured significantly during the break and the music is altogether more thoughtful these days.
The quality of the musicianship is first rate throughout as you would expect from the line up that brought you 'Escape' and 'Frontiers'. Perry's vocals soar through the whole album and if this is the last album he ever records with Journey then it's a superb finale. Also, listen out for Jonathan Cain's beautiful keyboard work on 'Still she cries' where he robs the tempo and breathes life into the music. If you like this, try listening to Cain's excellent solo album (Back to the Innocence) released a year earlier. Neal Schon makes his presence felt on every track, his interplay with Perry on 'Castles Burning' is great and I won't even mention his solo on 'Can't tame the lion'. Everyone writes about that, but why are they surprised? They should know what he's capable of. Check out 'A prayer for peace' on his 'Electric World' album if you want to be seriously impressed. It's also very good to see Smith and Valory back on this album, rhythm sections don't come any better.
I rushed out and bought this one when it was released in 1996 and have been listening to it ever since...not tired of it yet.