have been following John Wetton's career off and on since I first
heard Asia's "Alpha". Most of the recordings that followed
I own or at least am familiar with, and I've been digging quite a
bit in his pre-Asia works as well. Most of it I like. Some of it I
In the liner notes of "Rock Of Faith", John refers to his
prior three releases as a trilogy. This trilogy consists of
"Battle Lines", "Arkangel" and
"Sinister". And it's exactly this trilogy that at first
thrilled and chilled me to the bone, then disappointed me hugely and
finally gave me hope for things to come.
you allow me to focus on these three for a bit, I think "Battle
Lines" was a landmark recording in John's career and the
Melodic Rock genre in general as well. Wonderful songs, wonderful
performances and production, a wonderful album. But
"Arkangel" was definitely not up to par! Though there are
some wonderful songs there, such as the title track, and "The
Circle Of St. Giles" to name but two, it was John's vocals that
sounded uninspired and sometimes simply *off*. Where were you, John,
when you recorded the "Arkangel" album? Finally,
"Sinister" - to me - was a step back in the right
direction. The vocals and production were *much* better, but the
songs - though decent - lacked that Wetton inspiration that hooked
me all those years ago.
This trilogy ended, it appears that John has found solid ground
again. From the first tracks it's apparent that John is back in
shape. His smoky voice caused instant goosebumps upon my first
hearing the songs "Rock Of Faith" and the wonderful intro
"Mondrago" building up to it. Could it be..?
It could. And it is. Obviously some songs appeal more to me than
others, but generally this is "Battle Lines" quality John
Wetton stuff if ever I've heard it. Half a century of experience in
life and the better half of those same years of experience in
writing and performing music have left their mark. The voice has
aged a bit, the songs have matured, but / and the lyrics have gained
a poetic aspect that was always in there but now finds its way to
me, and hopefully many of you, as naturally as can be. And though
it's a thrill that John's teamed up with his former (Asia) bandmate
and writing partner Geoffrey Downes or that he's produced the album
with Arena's Clive Nolan and Karl Groom; I think he could have
pulled it off any way he'd have wanted to. He simply sounds inspired
and back in shape.
I sincerely hope that this is the beginning of a new decennium of
wonderful John Wetton recordings. "Rock Of Faith",
"I've Come To Take You Home"; "Who Will Light A
Candle?", "Take Me To The Waterline" and "When
You Were Young" sure sound like a new beginning to me.
Welcome back John... Welcome back.