Top positive review
One person found this helpful
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.