Wetton, John - Rock Of Faith

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Giant Electric Pea
Catalog Number: GEP 1033
Format: CD
Total Time: 47:09:00

King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK and Asia: These are not just small time bands that only few people know. No, these are world class bands and they are all connected by one man: John Wetton, one of the classic voices of British rock with a career that spans three decades! Now Wetton releases his fourth studio album, with more personal material than his previous albums. On Rock Of Faith, Wetton works together with some notable musicians such as Clive Nolan (Arena, Pendragon), who not only plays keys but also co-produced the album, Steve Christy (Jadis) on drums and Jonh Mitchell (Arena, The Urbane) on guitars. This album also marks the first collaboration in years with Asia co-writer Geoff Downes, who plays keys on two songs.

Of course, all of this can be found in the biography, but who has it with him? So, with this in mind, we listen to the album and I can tell you I listened to it with high expectations. The album opens with an instrumental piece called "Mondrago." The keyboard and guitar arrangement reminded me of Pendragon, but it sets the mood for the album: laid back, intimate and plain beautiful. The next song, the title track, is co-written by Clive Nolan and he stars in the song with monk chanting, which gives a spiritual edge to the song. This song also features a guest performance by Peter Gee (Pendragon) on fretless bass. "I've Come To Take You Home" is the first song written by Wetton and Geoff Downes and it features Hugh McDowell (E.L.O.) on cello, an enchanting song mainly accompanied by piano and some keys and great harmony vocals. John Mitchell shows his talent in the second part of the song with a beautiful, but modest solo.

Rock Of Faith is marked by captivating arrangements, fantastic vocals and passionate yet intimate songs dealing with, as Wetton himself states in the booklet, autobiographical themes of love, uncertainty, desperation, lust, morality, anger, hope and death. Some songs have hardly any drum or guitar in them, still they are there. "Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way" can be called a bit more up-tempo and has a weird guitar riff in it. This was the only song that gave me the "I have heard this before" feeling, but the weird riff still makes it interesting. "Take Me Down To The Waterline" sounds a bit heavier, with more drums and guitar, but not too heavy. The last song of the album, "When You Were Young," is sung a Capella, with harmony vocals and once more shows the vocal qualities of John Wetton.

Here we are then ... 46 minutes and 16 seconds later ... only a bit disappointed that it is over. Rock Of Faith is a beautiful album, with strong, but gentle sounding melodies, excellent musicians, who use their talents in the service of the songs instead of standing out with lengthy solos. John Wetton proves here he is still one of the best vocalists in the world and has given us not only an album that is a pleasure to listen to, but also lyrics that have meaning and depth. The album answered to my expectations and did not leave my CD player for a long time, as I am sure it will not leave yours.

Similar bands: Pallas, IQ, Toto, Kayak

[This review originally appeared March 2003 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Mondrago (2:12) / Rock Of Faith (3:57) / A New Day (5:16) / I've Come To Take You Home (4:19) / Who Will Light A Candle (3:39) / Nothing's Gonna Stand In Our Way (5:36) / Altro Mondo (3:42) / I Believe In You (5:22) / Take Me Down To The Waterline (6:08) / I Lay Down (4:04) / When You Were Young (1:34)

John Wetton - lead, harmony vocal, acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards
Clive Nolan - keyboards, monk
John Mitchell - all electric guitars
Steve Christey - all drums
Geoff Downes - virtual grand,B4 (4, 10)
Other guest appearences:

Martin Orford - flute
Peter Gee - fretless bass
Hugh McDowell - cello
Tim Garland - alto saxophone

Caught In The Crossfire (1980)
Kings Road (1972-1980) (1987)
One World (w/Phil Manzanera) (1987)
Battle Lines (akaVoice Mail in JP) (1994)
Chasing The Dragon (1994)
Akustika - Live In Amerika (1996)
Chasing The Deer (1998)
Arkangel (1998)
Monkey Business 1972-1997 (w/Richard Palmer-James) (1998)
Live In New York (1999)
Live In Tokyo (1999)
Sub Rosa - Live In Milan 1998 (1999)
Nomansland Live In Poland (1999)
Sinister (2001)
Anthology (2001)
Rock Of Faith (2003)
Agenda (Live In Poland) (2003)
Amata (2004)
Icon (w/ Geoff Downes) (2005)
Icon II - Rubicon (w/Geoff Downes) (2006)
Icon Live - Never In A Million Years (w/Geoff Downes) (2006)
Icon 3 (w/ Geoff Downes) (2009)
Raised In Captivity (2011)

Live In The Underworld (DVD) (2003)
Amorata (DVD) (2003)

Hensley - Wetton - One Way Or Another (2002)

Hensley - Wetton - More Than Conquerers (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: May 29th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.johnwetton.co.uk
Hits: 605
Language: english


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