Label: Columbia Records
Release Date: 6/3/2008
If you haven’t been keeping track of this kind of stuff, let me begin by saying that the new Journey release “Revelation” finds the band stronger than ever with their new and fourth singer. Yes, I did say fourth, as Steve Perry left for good after the brief touring for “Trial By Fire” and was replaced by Steve Augeri. He would record two albums with the band before blowing out his voice and finding himself replaced by former Yngwie Malmsteen front man Jeff Scott Soto, who after the cited “musical differences” was replaced by newcomer Arnel Pineda. Are you still with me? Good, let’s continue along then. According to press, Arnel was found on YouTube.com singing Journey covers with his band and the voice he demonstrated having made the bands hierarchy decide that he was the perfect person for the role. The new album would be a colossal effort that was sure to impress even the most doubting of fans who wonder how the group can continue in good conscious without Perry or even Augeri. To those people I have to say when you get an earful of how Arnel sings you will be impressed enough to give the guy a chance. With “Revelation” the band has chosen to not only give you a full album of new music, but also an additional CD of re-recorded, or “re-visited” classic numbers as done by the bands roster of 2008 and a full length concert DVD that covers both worlds. Given the scope of the release I have broken it down into a few sections to make more sense of it.
CD1: “The New Album”: I have read a lot of bulletin boards and sites that are all incensed about the band moving on without Steve Perry and to them I say “get over it” as the singer made his decision years ago and a band cannot be expected to sit waiting idly for any one member to decide what the fate of the whole band is to be. I admit that this sounds rather tough but it should be noted that I was a huge Perry fan. Moving on I had to admit that I found issue with the way Steve Augeri was dismissed and I never got to enjoy them with Soto which I would have liked the chance to do yet it was not time to review the past but instead see just how this new guy Arnel would work within the structure of one of the world’s greatest bands. To be brutally honest I can say to everyone who is wondering about it themselves that he is absolutely fantastic. His pitch, his range, and the overall inflections of his voice on the bands newest material make songs like “Never Walk Away” and “Faith In The Heartland” instantly affects you and become your newest favorites from the group. Musically this is a big sounding release and one that can be considered a true successor to the blockbuster “Frontiers” if one needed to draw a comparison. I had no problems with “Raised On Radio” but to some that was only a so-so album. Schon never ceases to amaze me with his abilities on the guitar and while I had at one time pined for Steve Smith on the drums I am sure glad that Deen Castronovo is on board because he not only rocks as a drummer but is a powerful vocalist in his own right. The album is strong in its song-writing all around and probably would have done well as a single disc release based on the aforementioned tracks and other winners like “Where Did I Lose Your Love” and “Wildest Dream”. There is am ample supply of quality rockers here as well as the touching ballad that the band perfected with their classics “Faithfully” and “Open Arms” so long ago. “After All These Years” is the track that continues the bands success in delivering such a moving number. As soon as the first CD completed, I ran it through once again and then loaded it onto my Zune Player so I could listen to it all the more while running errands or travelling to work. They could have ended it here but instead opted for the revisiting of their hits.
CD2: “Classics Re-Recorded”: Only The Young, Don’t Stop Believin’, Wheel In The Sky, Faithfully, Any Way You Want It, Who’s Crying Now, Separate Ways (World’s Apart), Lights, Open Arms, Be Good To Yourself, Stone In Love.
*** Depending on your mindset or the overall level of curiosity about Arnel and how he sings might have you playing the second CD before the first to see. However, if you are one who truly started at the beginning you would have most likely listened to what I am calling “Chapter 1” of the new release first and while impressed with the music and vocals on it, probably found yourself saying “yeah this new guy is good but how will he handle the older classics that I love so much”. If this was your question then I can once again say that he would handle these numbers like the most seasoned professional and not only mesh perfectly with melodies you have known for ages, but also do the songs justice with numerous levels of true respect for their legendary status. The second CD is one that might be hard for the hesitant ones to take since the perception given by a band who re-records their songs is that they are moving on from what you know and loved but I think in this case they wanted to give you an idea of what to expect from them in concert. I liked how they chose to give you a full CD of this material as opposed to just a handful of tracks. Arnel clearly hits all the right notes as he delivers “Don’t Stop Believin’” and “Separate Ways” with apparent ease and even goes way back into the bands catalog for “Lights’ and “Wheel In The Sky” (two personal favorites of my own). They would have really sold me faster had they included “Lovin, Touchin’, Squeezin’” or “Still They Ride” but in truth they couldn’t re-record every single number they had to please everyone. Despite that small reservation I was really, really impressed and will let you know that I was one of those fans who chose to play this CD first as opposed to their new songs. The re-do’s are not much different from the originals in the musical sense and all of them find Schon, Cain, Vallory and Castronovo playing at their best.
DVD: “Live In Concert” : Sky Light, Any Way You Want It, Wheel In The Sky, Lights, After All These Years, Never Walk Away, Open Arms Prelude, Open Arms, Mother Father, Wildest Dream, Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), Faithfully, Don’t Stop Believin’, Be Good To Yourself.
*** The adventure doesn’t stop because now you have heard the new stuff, and heard how the classics would sound in concert but what does the whole thing come together on the stage like? Well, the answer to that my dear readers comes by way of this DVD and it pretty much rocks from beginning to end. They open up the show with the classic “Any Way You Want It” and keep it to the known tunes for a coupe of more numbers before slowing it down with the new ballad “After All These Years” and the tune really sounds great live. I had to say that Arnel looks comfortable in the role and like he is having a whole lot of fun. Here is a guy with what could be considered the ultimate gig so I was glad to see him being an entertaining front man. There are another few of my favorites delivered such as “Separate Ways” and “Faithfully” but I really was glad they did “Never Walk Away” as this one has new Journey mega-tune written all over it, and it is a powerful number when performed live. Don’t plan on sitting down for too long while you watch this DVD as it is sure to get you out of your seat more than a couple of times. This was a fully produced and professional effort as well and not fan or bootleg footage. Great job guys.
So there you have it and this should be more than enough to recommend that you grab a copy of “Revelation” by Journey since it does not disappoint at all. The whole thing comes packed in a fold out digipak case and there is a booklet that features lyrics to the new songs, a photograph of the band and their liner note dedications. There is also some cool artwork allover the thing to keep your eyes entertained all the more. During the summer months of 2008, Journey will set out on what is commonly called a “shed tour” of those outdoor venues that are rather large but not quite full-scale arena size. They will be playing a lot of the classics and those soon to be classics from “Revelation” and since they are bringing both Heart and Cheap Trick with them you know that this will be one of the hottest tickets going. See you there folks.
1. Never Walk Away
2. Like A Sunshower
3. Change For The Better
4. Wildest Dream
5. Faith In The Heartland
6. After All These Years
7. Where Did I Lose Your Love
8. What I Needed
9. What It Takes To Win
10. Turn Down The World Tonight
11. The Journey (Revelation)
Official Website: www.journeymusic.com