I 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 do not. 

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. 

John WettonIf 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..? 

John WettonYes. 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.    

 

Eef Vink

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Rock Of Faith - Cover Art

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John Wetton
Rock Of Faith

2003

www.
johnwetton.
co.uk

Giant Electric Pea 

11 tracks
46:15 Minutes

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"Mondrago"
"Rock Of Faith"
"A New Day"
"I've Come To Take You Home"
"Who Will Light A Candle?"
"Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way"
"Altro Mondo"
"I Believe In You"
"Take Me To The Waterline"
"I Lay Down"
"When You Were Young"
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