Don’t let the title of this eclectic CD fool you into thinking that Torman Maxt are pagans of some sort who play Norwegian black metal. The Foolishness of God actually is a Christian record of sorts. Indeed, the liner notes quote the first book of Corinthians, assuring listeners that “the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.”
Featuring the Brothers Massaro from Florida – singer and guitarist Tony, bass player Dominic and drummer Vincent – Torman Maxt base their progressive art-rock sound around acoustic melodies that recall Rush, Dream Theater and The Beatles, swirl them into atmospheric arrangements, and drop in some spoken-word passages about Jesus Christ. Pretentious? Check. Preachy? Sort of. Profound? Amen. The abundance of vocal and musical dexterity showcased on these 12 songs – including the 11-minute title track – is almost beyond belief. “Vanity Explored” opens the album with a simple, pretty melody and Tony’s distinct vocals harmonizing with each other. By the time the complex and heavy five-part title track closes The Foolishness of God, listeners have been taken on a spiritual and theological journey that’s painless yet inventive and compelling. Even non-believers should be able to find some salvation here.
As a four-piece with an outside singer, Torman Maxt released their first CD, Just Talking About the Universe … So Far several years ago. Its poetic cacophony challenged listeners with vocals both shouted and sung, mixing hardcore with progressive AOR and even a dash of pomp. The Foolishness of God isn’t quite as noisy, its production sounds much better, and Tony Massaro proves he can sing as well as he plays. If, after this record, Torman Maxt remain toiling in underground obscurity, blame the foolishness of man.