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    #16
    My theory is that Billy is such a huge fan of Tormato that he aspires for his albums to sound as muddled as that album. And I enjoy a lot of his work, but the mixing and mastering is just… off. I think the music and lyrics are a mixed bag, but they aren’t well served by how the album sounds.

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      #17
      Originally posted by JMKUSA View Post
      My theory is that Billy is such a huge fan of Tormato that he aspires for his albums to sound as muddled as that album. And I enjoy a lot of his work, but the mixing and mastering is just… off. I think the music and lyrics are a mixed bag, but they aren’t well served by how the album sounds.
      After all these I still enjoy listening to Tormato. I think every sound on that album is in its right place. Sure, there’s a lot to unpack, but that’s a challenge, not a problem.

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        #18
        Originally posted by Ceasar’s Palace View Post

        After all these I still enjoy listening to Tormato. I think every sound on that album is in its right place. Sure, there’s a lot to unpack, but that’s a challenge, not a problem.
        Also the sound becomes less of a problem if the song writing and execution is really good.

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          #19
          Originally posted by JMKUSA View Post
          My theory is that Billy is such a huge fan of Tormato that he aspires for his albums to sound as muddled as that album. And I enjoy a lot of his work, but the mixing and mastering is just… off. I think the music and lyrics are a mixed bag, but they aren’t well served by how the album sounds.
          Tormato practically sounds like an Eno/Lanois job in comparison.
          “Well ain’t life grand when you finally hit it?”-David Lee Roth

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            #20
            Originally posted by Soundwaveseeker View Post
            Ordered it this morning - then learned later that there will be a Japan import with a bonus track. Awl, man. Oh well, it's an acoustic version of one of the tracks. Probably about as essential as the acoustic version of To Ascend from the import Heaven & Earth. But still, the collector in me...

            Anyway, glad to have it coming.
            Practically inconceivable that Sherwood could stay away from his toy box to the extent needed to deliver an authentic acoustic version of something. Dylan he ain’t.
            “Well ain’t life grand when you finally hit it?”-David Lee Roth

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              #21
              Originally posted by Frumious B View Post

              Practically inconceivable that Sherwood could stay away from his toy box to the extent needed to deliver an authentic acoustic version of something. Dylan he ain’t.
              I do find Sherwood's voice more listenable than Dylan's.....😉

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                #22
                As mentioned in the 10th post on this thread at more length, I really liked the album.

                However, in the spirit of constructive criticism (Which is the way this thread seems to be going), if I were to change a couple of things, I would say a harder charging guitar with some melodic pop vocal and musical hooks would make it even better. On Union, Jimmy Haun was said to have been selected in part because he could do Trevor Rabin (At the time a hard rocking guy- though less so as time moved forward from 1991) and Steve Howe type guitar parts, and played that Yes album as a mix of the two. On these Arc of Life albums, it tends to be almost all Steve Howe, or at least a lighter guitar touch than 80s guitar heroes like Eddie Van Halen and the like. Starting off the next album with a "Owner of a Lonely Heart" or "Heat of the Moment" (The latter of which, I know, was literally Steve Howe) type guitar riff, and meatier more aggressive guitar riffs throughout, would be nice.

                I love this album and I love most of what Billy Sherwood is putting out, but I have I think noticed a trend of already kind of soft rock getting softer (The recent Prog Collective album, Seeking Peace, is another example- and a bit "worse" than this in that respect- "worse" being an entirely subjective thing that I'm just tying to a single attribute of otherwise enjoyable music), which isn't ideal for me personally. It happens to a lot of artists as they age, and even Arc of Life is full of aging artists (No one under 50). However, it doesn't happen to everyone as they age. And it's the sort of thing that, as long as people's hands and fingers can still move fast enough in the studio (or a little studio magic can help them sound like it), a conscious effort can sometimes reverse course on.

                There's also not really an AOR type single like "You Make It Real" on here. Yes, I realize they took some shit over doing it and another song like it on the last album, but a song or two like that can help an album's overall mix. You don't have to make it the first song released to the Internet, where more intricate proggy music is sometimes more appreciated, but it'd be nice to still have it on the album.

                Yes' actual albums are getting softer and softer, so if you are sort of a Yes-like or Yes spinoff band, it might make sense to have your original material lean into what Yes isn't doing in their official albums, but which have precedent in the Yes canon- maybe trying for some percentage of your stuff to sound more like Drama, 90125, and Big Generator.

                If Arc of Life wants to conceive of themselves as just a prog or a classic rock band (as opposed to a Yes spinoff), it might make sense to look at what new prog is popular. Prog-metal is a huge genre, which I wouldn't expect this group of guys to get into, but you can see that and lean a little more in that direction than you're doing without actually joining the sub-genre. Glass Hammer has recognized that and leaned in a bit on it's three most recent albums without actually doing anything truly metal. You know, Rush is no longer recording albums, and they had a lot of fans- you could do some stuff a little like some of what they did in the 70s and the 80s and it might be well received.

                Doing some studio segments in songs that are similar to the way YesWest played WURM live would also be well received by me. I mean, these guys don't solely have soft rock backgrounds. Jay Schellen got a video on MTV in the 90s due to his membership in an alt-rock band called Hurricane. I'm guessing that Dave Kerzner and Jimmy Haun might have fun playing off each other in a Jon Lord-Ritchie Blackmore (Deep Purple) kind of way. Circa:'s "Brotherhood of Man" came up on my background shuffle as I was typing this reply- that has some rock and roll energy to it (In parts, in kind of slows down in other parts) and featured both Sherwood and Haun. Sherwood did The Key back in the 90s.

                If you listen to Jon Davison's guest appearance on the most recent Glass Hammer album, you know his voice could hold up to it. And it's not just him- Billy Sherwood sings lead more often than not, Jimmy Haun appears to have gotten a few brief vocal bits on this second album, and Dave Kerzner sings lead for some of the projects that he puts together himself. There are a lot of vocal tools in the toolbox here. These are some multi-talented guys.

                The band could also lean into the 80s style a bit more. Sherwood and Haun got their start on Lodgic's Nomadic Sands, which was produced by a couple of the guys from Toto, and had famous Chicago/Peter Cetera producer David Foster next door informally dropping in and working with the band on their project.

                One of the things I liked about Arc of Life's first self-titled album was a that it's songs covered a bunch of topics. There were a couple of love songs, something that Sherwood rarely does, but often does really well when he does them. There was "Talking with Siri", which I know had it's flaws and wasn't the album's most popular song, but without question explored an interesting topic that doesn't come up very often in music (Actually, the closest might have been Sherwood's solo song, "Sophia"). "Until Further Notice" was someone taking off for a vacation/retreat from the world for a while, sort of like a proggy Jimmy Buffet song. "Therefore We Are" had several ways to interpret it, all interesting and at least a little different- about consciousness, AI, and and a bunch of things.

                If you look at Don't Look Down, a lot of these songs are about roughly the same thing as each other, or at least closely related topics. "Let Live" and "Arc of Life" (the song) are the last two songs, and parts of the second of the two songs could have been verses from the first song. It'd be nice to have a bit more diversity there.

                Still, ultimately, it's a good album, and an even better album when you look at it in the context of the way I and a lot of other people listen to music these days- more often shuffling some sort of a playlist than playing full albums. When it's just a song at a time surrounded by songs from other groups, things like the redundancy of topics or whatever don't really make as much of a difference. I'm just happy to hear a song featuring some of my favorite artists doing their things surprise me by popping up every so often. It could be better, but that's true of everything. Don't mistake this for me not liking the album- I like the album.
                Last edited by downbyariver; 01-08-2023, 02:24 PM.
                "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

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                  #23
                  Thanks for the lengthy review, dbar. Interesting to read, although the album for me is pretty poor, devoid of ideas. Just to jump in on one small thing...

                  Originally posted by downbyariver View Post
                  "Until Further Notice" was someone taking off for a vacation/retreat from the world for a while, sort of like a proggy Jimmy Buffet song.
                  I recall (hopefully correctly) Sherwood saying the song was about mental health, and feeling unable to engage because of mental health problems.

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                    #24
                    Originally posted by Mr. Holland View Post

                    I do find Sherwood's voice more listenable than Dylan's.....😉
                    His handwriting's probably better too…

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                      #25
                      Originally posted by Homemade Parachute View Post

                      His handwriting's probably better too…
                      🤣🤣🤣

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                        #26
                        Originally posted by bondegezou View Post
                        I recall (hopefully correctly) Sherwood saying the song was about mental health, and feeling unable to engage because of mental health problems.
                        That interpretation makes sense. I was taking the song very literally, and I guess the intent was a little more figurative. The "lost in lala land" line makes a lot more sense when the whole thing is an analogy about mental health leaving one unable to engage with the world.
                        "A lot of the heavier conversations I was having with Chris toward the end were about his desire for this thing to go forward. He kept reiterating that to me. [...] He kept telling me, 'No matter what happens, Yes needs to continue moving forward and make great music. So promise me that that's something you want to do.'. And I have to keep making music. It's just what I do. [...] I'm a fan of the band and I want to see it thrive and that means new music." -Billy Sherwood

                        Comment


                          #27
                          am i the only one who actually likes this record? I held off from listening to it until xmas day, maybe i enjoyed it more because i had low expectations. I like all of the smaller tracks, only the epic i'm unsure about, feels a bit formless.

                          The first half is great as far as I'm concerned:

                          Real Time World, Don't Look Down, All Things Considered- all sound like great tunes, my faves I reckon.

                          Overall, I think this is better than any of the Circa albums from a first listen, I think Jon Davison's vocals really help here. This album gives me interest in the band for their next work, and hopeful for potential Yes albums where Billy's contributions are larger. As for the negative reception to it, different strokes for different folks i guess They all sound great here, even the production was not as compressed as I was fearing. Special shout out to Jay and Billy for the rhythm section here.

                          from early impression: 7/10.
                          Last edited by soundchaser09; 12-25-2022, 04:03 AM.
                          The Definitive YES Albums

                          -The Yes Album-Fragile-Close to the Edge-Tales From Topographic Oceans-
                          -Relayer-Going for the One-Drama-90125-Big Generator-Union-Talk-
                          -The Ladder-Magnification-Fly From Here-The Quest-

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by soundchaser09 View Post
                            am i the only one who actually likes this record? I held off from listening to it until xmas day, maybe i enjoyed it more because i had low expectations. I like all of the smaller tracks, only the epic i'm unsure about, feels a bit formless.

                            The first half is great as far as I'm concerned:

                            Real Time World, Don't Look Down, All Things Considered- all sound like great tunes, my faves I reckon.

                            Overall, I think this is better than any of the Circa albums from a first listen, I think Jon Davison's vocals really help here. This album gives me interest in the band for their next work, and hopeful for potential Yes albums where Billy's contributions are larger. As for the negative reception to it, different strokes for different folks i guess They all sound great here, even the production was not as compressed as I was fearing. Special shout out to Jay and Billy for the rhythm section here.

                            from early impression: 7/10.
                            I like some of it I need to listen to the full album a few times but it’s not bad it’s just not as catchy as the first one

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