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Journey: Generations

Veteran rockers Journey are back with a surprisingly aggressive and hard hitting album titled Generations. While many of the elements that have made the band a radio and concert favorite the last 30 years are still around (the catchy melodies and fiery musical accompaniment), there's a new found edge on Generations that will appeal to many who thought the band gave up their hard rock roots a long time ago.

Upon your first listen, other than the fact that the trademark Journey hooks are abundant throughout much of the album, there really is not one constant voice on this release. While singer Steve Augeri handles the majority of the songs, the rest of the band takes a turn or two behind the microphone as well, giving the album a very varied feel. "Faith in the Heartland" kicks things off in typical Journey anthem style, with plenty of crunchy riffs from Neal Schon, keyboards from Jonathan Cain, and the soaring vocals of Augeri, who still sounds a bit like Steve Perry but less so than in the past. On "The Place in Your Heart", Augeri delivers a powerful and emotional performance, and the song itself could have been a long lost track from Escape or Frontiers, sounding like a distant cousin to "Separate Ways".

Jonathan Cain takes the vocal helm for the hard rocker "Every Generation", a song that features some gritty guitar and piano work, plus a full backing vocal on the chorus that has a nice richness to it. A couple of decent but predictable ballads ("Butterfly" and "Knowing That You Love Me", which has single written all over it ) are sandwiched around a fast paced and crisp rocker called "Believe", which sounds nothing like anything the band has done before, sounding almost like Canadian proggers Saga.

The second half of the CD is worth the price of admission alone. This is where the band flexes their muscles and gets dirty. "Out of Harms Way" is a blistering heavy rock number with great vocals from Augeri and plenty of meaty riffs and solos from Schon. The guitarist shreds like a man possessed on the rampaging "In Self-Defense", as well as takes the lead vocal slot, and the band approaches metal on the juggernaut "Better Together", thanks to Schon's metallic riffs and Augeri's soaring vocals. Bassist Ross Valory handles vocals on the ZZ Top-metal of "Gone Crazy", and while he has probably least desirable voice in the band, the song is still a fun boogie rocker. A remixed version of the symphonic hard rock piece "Never Too Late" is included, and shows what a good voice drummer Deen Castronovo has.

Journey have proved here with Generations that they still have plenty of gas left in the tank, and can rock out with the best of them. Schon and Augeri especially are in fine form here, and Schon has shown lately, here and on the recent Soul Sirkus album, that he is still a guitar force to be reckoned with.

Track Listings
1. Faith in the Heartland
2. Place in Your Heart
3. Better Life
4. Every Generation
5. Butterfly (She Flies Alone)
6. Believe
7. Knowing That You Love Me
8. Out of Harms Way
9. In Self-Defense
10. Better Together
11. Gone Crazy
12. Beyond the Clouds
13. Never Too Late [Remix Version]
14. Generations EPK [CD-ROM Track][*][Multimedia Track]

Added: January 18th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Journey Website
Hits: 4103
Language: english

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Journey: Generations
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-18 13:51:28
My Score:

To classify the band Journey as legendary is probably one of the most qualifying statements a music fan can make. For over thirty years the band that was formed by ex members of Santana has delivered some of life's most defining songs. Signature albums such as Escape and Frontiers have withstood the tests of time with songs that sound as fresh today as they did when originally released. While time has changed this band as far as the lineup goes it is clear that their music is as strong as ever. There are some fans that chose to stop listening the minute Steve Perry was no longer part of the group and these people are missing the boat on the magnificent talent that is Steve Augeri. Augeri has been a part of the bands touring lineup for seven years now and those that have stuck around will tell you how amazing he actually is and what a dead ringer vocally he can be on the classic material. The band in 2005 is Neil Schon (guitar), Jonathan Cain (keyboards), Ross Vallory (bass), Deen Castronova (drums) and Steve Augeri (vocals). When you listen to them you will find them tighter than ever before and given my love for the Perry years and drumming of Steve Smith this is saying a lot from me.

The new release which comes courtesy of Sanctuary Records is an excellent album to say the least. There are new arena anthems, ballads and moving rockers that old fans will get into immediately but more importantly that new "Generations" of fans will catch on to easily. The title of the album actually comes from the band noticing the younger attendees at shows over the past few years. It was clear that there was an impact to their music that was resonating in the hearts of new music fans as well. Kicking off with "Faith In The Heartland" Augeri grabs your attention with his passionate voice and his amazingly high pitch. "The Place In Your Heart" sounds like classic Journey and hold some similarity to "Separate Ways" in its groove. On "Every Generation" we find Jonathan Cain delivering vocals while "A Better Life" and "Never Too Late" handles these numbers. The interesting thing about this is not only the fact that everyone gets a turn at singing but in the aspect that every song works well across the record. The tender ballad "Butterfly" is a great test of Augeri's vocals and bears some Robert Plant like moments. I can see this becoming a favorite of the female audience members over time. Heavy numbers come in the form of "Gone Crazy" and "In Self Defense" with both blistering guitar and drum work by Schon and Castronova. If you ask me Neil Schon has never sounded better and it is great to see Deen Castonova playing stuff a little more complex than he was able to do in Bad English.

I was not sure what to expect from one of my favorite bands of all time and I admit I was pleasantly surprised. The CD comes packaged with a 16 page color booklet with lyrics and given the fact that this is building a new generation of fans you can expect to hear these songs from the lips of most who hear it. I raise my glass to both old and new fans. Journey is proving that they are not your Parents Rock and Roll by any stretch.

Journey: Generations
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-11-13 21:01:47
My Score:

There's a reason that Journey hired Steve Augeri the Steve Perry lookalike and soundalike to replace the legendary (and, at least until the Chicago White Sox borrowed "Don't Stop Believin', reclusive) vocalist: The man has a voice that would melt steel. So why is he forced to share the microphone with the other four members of Journey on the band's latest album, the surprisingly solid, rock-and-soul infused Generations? I don't know.

The band apparently loves playing musical vocalists. But with few exceptions, the songs Augeri doesn't sing are the album's weakest. I'm not so sure we need to hear guitarist Neal Schon's tough-guy voice on the irritating "In Self-Defense," and bassist Ross Valory sings the blues stomper "Gone Crazy" in such a way that it doesn't sound remotely similar to anything else Journey has ever recorded and in the case of a band like Journey, that's not a good thing. Keyboardist Jonathan Cain fares better on the rocker "Every Generation," complete with Elton-like piano cascades, but even he seems to try too hard. The only guy who truly deserves to share the microphone with Augeri is drummer Deen Castronovo, who sings the smooth and memorable ballad "A Better Life" and the dynamite melodic hard rocker "Never Too Late," a bonus track on the U.S. version of Generations.

Now that I've got that off my chest, let me add that Generations, produced by Kevin Elson the man responsible for Escape and Frontiers recalls much of Journey's early-Eighties output. Augeri fills big shoes with greater confidence than he did on 2001's Arrival and 2002's experimental EP Red 13. He even taps into his past life as lead singer for the shoulda-been-huge, one-album-wonder Tall Stories on Generations' heaviest track, "Better Together." Schon, meanwhile, engages in some of his most fluid and searing playing in years. His signature is all over tracks like the powerful opener "Faith in the Heartland" and the driving mid-tempo rocker "The Place In Your Heart," and his solo elevates "Believe" from standard AOR to another level entirely. Lyrically, Journey addresses 9/11 ("Beyond the Clouds"), the war in Iraq ("Out of Harms Way") and the struggle of everyday people to live everyday lives ("A Better Life"). As surviving elder statesmen of a musical era from which so many other bands disappeared, devolved into mediocrity, became punch lines or all of the above, the members of Journey deserve credit for their perseverance. Generations is a testament to that fact that some Eighties bands can, indeed, age gracefully and respectfully. Just don't let Neal Schon sing again

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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