Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Learn more Shop now Learn more

on 7 August 2017
Jeff Wayne's musical version of 'The War of the Worlds' is a timeless classic, which tells the story of H.G. Wells' popular 1987 science fiction novel, following various characters such as a journalist, a soldier, a parson, and others, as the Earth is invaded by Martians. Originally released in 1978, 'The New Generation' is a 2012 re-recording, which brings us a whole new cast, added compositions and better production.

I may be in the minority here, but I prefer this version to the original.

Some of the music here I'd been familiar with since childhood, thanks to my parents, though it wasn't until I played guitar for a string of 2016 amateur theatre performances that I had to really give the album the attention it deserves, and with that, I came to enjoy what the updated version had to offer.

I've seen complaints over how "lifeless" the vocalists all sound, or how the programmed drums sound robotic, but none of this really matters to me. I like the vocal work. I love Maverick Sabre's eccentric performance as Parson Nathaniel, and Ricky Wilson's energetic offering as the Artilleryman. Sure, there's a few goofy parts in there. Such as when the character Beth sounds excited informing Nathaniel that "they're not devils, they're Martians", but I find this just adds to the quirky charm of the album. Admittedly, Liam Neeson as the Journalist is a bit laughable at times too, but then, I'm not one to talk ill of Liam Neeson! He'll look for me, he will find me, and he will kill me!!!

The music is exciting and the story is compelling and easy to follow. There's a vast smorgasbord of various instruments, sounds and effects, a combination of singing and spoken dialogue, with a crisp and clear production that gives the whole album a lush and vibrant sound. Honestly, I'm a sucker for polished studio albums, and the 1978 original, as good as it is, just sounds too dated and primitive for my liking.

'The Spirit of Man', 'Brave New World', 'The Artilleryman and the Fighting Machine', 'Horsall Common and the Heat Ray', 'Forever Autumn'... it's impossible to really pick out any highlights, as the entire record flows effortlessly and is a joy to listen to. Jeff Wayne did a great job of not only writing this incredible concept album, but revisiting it and improving upon it so many years later.

Fans of the original may hold that version close and dear to their hearts, but if you've never heard 'War of the Worlds' yet, then I'd definitely recommend diving in with the new generation.

0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 20 December 2012
It seems after all these years Jeff Wayne has finally conceded he is Mr. War of the Worlds and it's in that context you have to listen to this album. Mr. Wayne has remained doggedly faithful to his original work, some musical styles and instruments have changed, but this is as vivid an reinterpretation of that original work as you can get. There are some profound differences - Richard Burton passed away nearly 30 years ago and Liam Neeson brings his own gravitas to the role. They are very different voices and actors and I don't think it's fair to compare the two. There's no doubt that Burton's original version is utterly iconic but Neeson I think is just as sincere. With a new voice Wayne has been able to expand on some of the Journalist's spoken parts; no massive additions but small extra pieces of exposition which I think adds to the drama.

The 1978 version had some era-defining voices, Burton/Essex/Heyward/Thompson/Lynott/Covington and it probably is true the voices on this album, as good as they are, will not be as influential. However they are all superb and it does them an injustice not to regard them so. There are no weak performances at all and they are a fresh take on the original 30+ year old originals.

Similarly the musicianship is beyond rerproach; that and the production is probably better than the original. It has had more than 30 years of technological development and its probably true the technology has caught up with the ambition of the original. There are some tonal and instrument changes but the are mostly subtle and welcome. A worth companion to the original but needs to be listened to with an open mind. Bravo!
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 3 December 2012
Like many of the reviewers I have been a fan of this work since my teens when the original came out and, also like many, I have the DVD and ULLAdubULLA version and I have seen the stage show (T-shirt/signed programme etc) so I read with trepidation some of the one and two star reviews.

Having listened to the mp3 excerpts on the Amazon site I decided to take the plunge and give it a go to see for myself what the New generation has to offer. To give it a fair hearing I listened to it all the way through, then just to check it wasn't cloudy nostalgia I listened to the original as well (any excuse).

I agree with a number of the reviewers who felt that Liam Neeson suffered in comparison to Richard Burton, but let's face it after 30-odd years of being intimately associated with the project there are few who could compete with him - even Morgan Freeman's voice over at the start of the woeful 2005 movie was not as good as Richard - and Morgan has played God! Having said that I thought that Liam Neeson carried his role well - certainly better than my attempts as a kid (go on - you know you've done it!) and the addition of extra dialogue was a bit of a bonus.

The individual performances, I thought, were also better than the negative reviews led me to believe - out of all the talent currently available I would have made a few different choices but I don't think there were any duds there from an ability point of view and Gary Barlow's 'Forever Autumn' was, for me, the stand-out performance.

The 'updated' musical style may take some getting used to but, again, it didn't spoil the experience - changed it certainly, but not so much that I couldn't listen.

In summary - it isn't the original (clue is in the title) and for those of us who grew up with Messrs Burton, Essex and Lynott I doubt there ever will be a version to top it but I'm glad I have it as an addition to my collection - undoubtedly it wont get listened to as often as the original but few of my albums do!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 15 December 2012
I bought this CD not really knowing what to expect. The original work was pretty finite and couldn't really be bettered so my hope was for something which provided a version of the work with something new whilst still providing something which was still in keeping with the feel of the original. In this respect I think it largely succeeds with some new dialogue and twists on the music which I think are very successful.

However, the casting on this is a shambles. Ricky Wilson's performance as the Artilleryman is dire, suffering from a bad case of ham acting. Seriously, he sounds as if he's in a primary school play. He certainly sounds nothing like a traumatised young soldier. Liam Neeson does a reasonable job but even he's not at his best. Maverick Sabre was trying just a little too hard to be Phil Lynott, it would have been much better if he'd portrayed the Parson in a tone that he was more comfortable with. Joss Stone puts in a good performance as Beth though and although the guy annoys the life out of me, Gary Barlow was actually very very good and was well matched for the vocal requirements.

So on the whole, do I regret buying this? The answer would have to be no, it is an okay piece of work in its own right and it would unfair to compare it to the original. It could have been 5 stars if messrs Wilson and Sabre hadn't been in the cast, a great piece of work wrecked by two completely inappropriate cast members.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 19 October 2017
It's not the same as the original and it doesn't really try to be. Some great performances from the cast - I do still prefer David Essex's Artilleryman but there are some standout performances here too. Liam Neeson presents a pleasant alternative to the original narrator.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 26 November 2012
Whilst this new version has its fair share of detractors, in particular the 'purists' who maintain that the original is the only version worth listening to, my brother has enjoyed the new version immensely. He, too, was schooled in the original version, having had the original vinyl twin-LP set bought for him as a Christmas gift in the 1970s. We both enjoyed listening to that as kids, and have both bought the original on CD since.

My brother is open minded and flexible in his approach to productions, and accepts that the updated version will have its differences from the original. He also sees that, had Jeff Wayne produced his original now instead of in 1970, it would not be as we first encountered it, but it would be closer to the new version; particularly due in part to new musical technologies available and also the current musical artists.

So, to completely write the new version off as rubbish is somewhat unfair, especially as Jeff Wayne was instrumental in its production. It needs to be taken in the context of its time and not compared to a 33 year-old version.

In short, my brother loves it!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 30 November 2012
I listened to the original when it first came out and was captivated by it. The music, the story, the characters and the atmosphere that Jeff Wayne created was superb, so with this version I was expecting something similar but modern and different but what I got was an attempt at a duplication of the original using different people and quite simply they're not as good as the originals.

I believe if you are going to re-hash something of such musical significance or even something like a sequel to a film, you should ensure firstly that's it's superior, the people you have are better and in this case, the sounds effects are vastly improved but in my opinion, none of this happened. It's still good but a shadow of it's former self which is a shame.

The overall story could have been the same but set in modern day London, with aliens invading from another part of the galaxy, not Mars which we all now know at most has microbe life if any at all. Shame because its a missed opportunity, if I'd known it was a mirror of the first edition I wouldn't have bought it.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 21 December 2012
Having just seen the live version of TWOTW in Sheffield I can say that it was an exact rendition of the new album - with the the awful diction of Gary Barlow removed " .... and darker days are DRORING near" - sorry, I'm a pedant for things like this. In summary, this album lacks the urgency and pace of the original but is still enjoyable however, the show has Marti Pellow singing the thoughts of the journalist and (even though I'm a great fan of Gary Barlow) I found Marti's performance had greater authority and depth; it's a great pity Marti isn't on the album version - sorry Gary. In fact, the stage version in better than the album so I suggest you pop along to see that instead with Jason Donovan (Maverick Sabre) and Kerry Ellis (Joss Stone) also omitted on the album. Nonetheless, the album is still a good listen and worth the money.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 November 2017
I Don't really know why this has been recovered and it surely does not live up anywhere near to the original .. However on the plus side , it is pleasant on the ears
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on 18 October 2017
Not as good as the original, but too similar not to notice it's weaknesses. No one track is better than the original. Some things are best left alone.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse