Ever since Mike Portnoy left Dream Theater, he has been jumping to band and projects like a flea sucking the blood out of a family. His first bit of music drumming on Neal Morse's Testimony 2 was flawless as ever. His other project Adrenaline Mob was a bit of a bland metal band esque project, but I do admit, there was some not too bad songs.
Now this one was a bit different. When hearing of the project, I had known mostly all the guys involved except for Casey McPherson (and the bassist...but no one cares about the bassist, unless it was Geddy Lee or something). So I listened to Alpha Rev, and being a lover of pop music, I really loved his band, and especially his singing voice, so I knew a pop influence would be very much present in this album.
So yea...pop and prog can be a bit of a mixed bag. But to me...the popiness of prog at times is what makes me love it as a genre. And this album proves it.
This band basically has the perfect formula. Casey McPherson is an amazing lead vocalist with a voice that automatically grabs your attention. Mike Portnoy is one of the best drummers on the planet. Steve Morse is one of the greatest guitarists on the planet. Neal Morse is the most underlooked songwriters in the prog community and his keyboard skills are always overlooked and he's a genius in my opinion (good to know there is no Jesus babble on this album). And the bassist, bla bla bla.
The songs speak for themselves. The songwriting is just incredibly strong with no flaws. Nothing feels forced and every song is different, with the album showing many different styles. I enjoyed this album so much, and it definitly is one of the best albums released this year.
1. Blue Ocean ? A great opener to the album. Quite a powerful track with some great vocal moments. 9/10
2. Shoulda Coulda Woulda ? This song surprised me, especially at how much of a "rocking" song this is. Such a great chorus. Bit cheesy, but totally worth it. 10/10
3. Kayla ? One of the best songs on the album. One of the catchiest songs on the album and one of the tracks of the year in my opinon. 10/10
4. The Storm ? A bit of a chessy ballad, but it's still pretty cool. A nice chorus...still very cheesy though. 9/10
5. Forever In A Daze ? One of the best songs on the album in my opinon. Such a killer song and such a rocking moment of the album. Very kick ass song in my opinion. 10/10
6. Love Is What I'm Waiting For ? This is a very Beatle-esque song, and to me it's a bit annoying. It's alright I guess, but a bit too cheery for me. 8/10
7. Everything Changes ? A nice longer and more interesting moment on the album. Pretty intricate song at parts. 9/10
8. Better Than Walking Away ? One of the best ballads on the album in my opinion. Such a great chorus and some amazing vocals from Casey. 10/10
9. All Falls Down ? Now this song surprised me. A prog metal song on the album with some dramatic Queen moments. And hearing fast double bass pedals was rather interesting. 10/10
10. Fool In My Heart ? Sometimes when Mike Portnoy does some lead vocals, it grinds my gears a little. But this surprisingly was rather nice. 10/10
11. Infinite Fire ? A great epic ender to the album. Sadly I would've liked a little bit more of a poppy edge to it, but it's interesting to hear Casey tackle a prog epic. 9/10
CONCLUSION: I really wasn't interested in this album at all. Then I listened to it. And now I will eat my hat. Nom nom nom. (p.s. I hope these guys make another album)