“Back Against The Wall” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “Back Against The Wall”
Label: Purple Pyramid/Cleopatra
Release Date: 9/13/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 8/10

One of my all-time favorite albums in the music collection is most definitely Pink Floyd’s epic release “The Wall”. Twenty-five years after its initial release the music sounds as fresh and as innovative as ever. Roger Waters truly had created a masterpiece with his band mates David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason. Musically and lyrically profound this albums impact still resonates today and is revered in the minds of many great musical artisans. To celebrate this impact some of these greats in Progressive and Hard Rock joined forces and performed a song for song representation that not only stays true to the original but also offers a glimpse into their own style as well. The result is extraordinary and very enjoyable. Similar to the great masterpiece itself the best way to listen to this CD is from beginning to end as one ends up doing when they try to merely sample “The Wall” release. You gain so much more from absorbing it in this manner than by simply playing the radio hits.

The project was put together by Yes’ Billy Sherwood and features a cast of players that reads like a “who’s who” in Progressive and Hard Rock. Among the many luminaries present on the CD we have Tommy Shaw, Ian Anderson, Adrian Belew, Steve Howe, Robby Krieger, Rick Wakeman, Chris Squire, Alan White, Dweezil Zappa, Aynsley Dunbar and many, many more. Given that this interpretation is so close to the originals it was a little difficult to discern my favorites on the CD against my long standing favorites from the original album. Of course the original album is better but this album did so well that I feel it might bring a new age of fan to this classic album. I have to say that my continued respected tracks are “Comfortably Numb”, “Hey You” and “Nobody Home”. I have seen some criticisms on the fact of how the album is practically note for note and I raise this notion to those detractors. Would this album have been considered respectful if a blazing Black Metal guitar run was used for “Comfortably Numb” or Hip-Hop Rap used for “Hey You”? I don’t think so and instead the manner in which it was done might seem a clone but it allows it to be a CD that is a definite must-have for even the most hard to convince Floyd fan. They will appreciate the level of integrity displayed by these musicians and singers. It is also a great release for Progressive fans since the album does feature so many of the legends in this genre. With most of Yes present on the CD it is almost like having “Yes plays Pink Floyd” plus special guests. The only down side is the fact that limited liner notes are included and no pictures. Only the song titles and who is performing them is featured. Stop waiting for the worms and go check this out. It is a great listen from start to finish.

Track List:
1. In The Flesh
2. The Thin Ice
3. Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 1
4. Goodbye Blue Sky
5. Happiest Days Of Our Lives
6. Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2
7. Mother
8. Empty Spaces
9. Young Lust
10. One Of My Turns
11. Don’t Leave Me Now
12. Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 3
13. Goodbye Cruel World
14. Hey You
15. Is There Anybody Out There?
16. Nobody Home
17. Vera
18. Bring The Boys Back Home
19. Comfortably Numb
20. The Show Must Go On
21. In The Flesh
22. Run Like Hell
23. Waiting For The Worms
24. Stop
25. The Trial
26. Outside The Wall
27. Isn’t This Where We Came In?

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