Age of Reason

1. The Sentinel
2. Run
3. Playin' It Over
4. As We Fall
5. Call
6. End Of The Day
7. Alive Again
8. Silver Moon
9. Frozen
10. Long Road

Terry Brock (Vocals)
Jim Drummond (Drums)
Ian J Stewart (Guitars)
David Moore (Keyboards)
David Stewart (Bass)

Strangeways (1984)
Native Sons (1986)
Walk in the Fire (1989)
And the Horse (1994)
Any Day Now (1997)
Greatest Bits (1999)
Gravitational Pull (2000)
Living in the Danger Zone (Compilation 2003)
Perfect World (2010)
Where Do We Go from Here - Live at Firefest 2010 (Live 2011)


Produced by: Ian James Stewart
Mixed by : Ian James Stewart, John Lee
Mastered by: Strangeways

Released 2011
Reviewed 15/8-2012

dangerous dog

It's the same thing every time I play 'Age Of Reason' by the classic AOR act Strangeways, I always get stuck on the song Alive Again. Every time, always that song and no one else.

The thing is that 'Age Of Reason' isn't a particularly good album. It's definitely not bad, but neither very good. It's too long (almost a full hour), it's not very exciting (many low tempo songs and most songs sounding similar to the others) and they have a quite boring, nasal vocalist who is particularly annoying when he's singing higher notes (let the execution begin - I know Terry Brock is popular but I just don't share the enthusiasm on this album). But just as you've fallen to sleep or given up or whatever you're presented to Alive Again who livens up the album every single time I hear this, the eight album by Strangeways. If you're the owner of a lonely mp3-player and don't add Alive Again to your playlist you almost deserve to be shot for your stupidity! However, the rest of the album isn't much to cheer for.

Maybe I'm disrespectful when I say like that? Maybe I'm mean? After all they've got reactions like "OMG" and "Yeehaw" by people like Steve Price (who?) and Kieran Dargan (who??!!)… two such, let's say "famous" people couldn't be wrong - could they? Well, at least the cover is pretty fun with the letters AOR from the title 'Age Of Reason' marked extra big below that strange, dark character pointing in two directions with a literally glowing glance and one of the strangest tattoos I've ever seen. The British humor of the band can't be mistaken by a cover like that and the fact that they call their own, newly started record label Dangerous Dog records, but then they are Scottish these nowadays elder lords whom we saw make a comeback after several years with 'Perfect World' in 2010. This time the full original setting is reunited which probably will make all the old fans back from the good old days to cheer… at least for a while, until they all fall asleep.

The biggest issue with 'Age Of Reason' isn't that it lacks good songs, because there are plenty of nice ones - like Run, Playin' It Over and Long Road, but where's the tempo? Where are the rock songs? This album just cover ballad after ballad with a couple of slow mid-tempo songs here and there - like the opening song The Sentinel. But then we come to Alive Again about half an hour in to the album (or sleeping aid - you pick your title) and you really comes alive again, literally! What a song this is! An amazing, fantastic song! Probably the best of the year, maybe the century? Well, let's not get carried away here, but it is a seriously great song! But as soon as it's over… zzznooaaaarzz again.

I'm not saying that I hate 'Age Of Reason', it's just that the quantity of slow songs is so overwhelming. Too much power ballads or ballads without power and too little rock. You can just hear the guitars bubbling with bluesy melodies and strained energy to such an extent that the frustration over not being allowed to break out in to crazy solos and heavy rock is possible to touch physically. All they are allowed to do is these slow and quite dull moody things that sounds like floating clouds above the surface. I've noticed that every single review I've found on this album, which is quite a lot since I'm so late reviewing this album, says the same thing as I do in a negative aspect - that the tempo is too slow and nothing happens. Even one of my favorite reviewers, the Sea of Tranquillity is negative to the tempo, which is really bad since they never have a strong opinion either positive or negative.

Like a stream, I'll go with the flow on this one by joining in on the criticism that 'Age Of Reason' would have gained a lot from varying the tempo a little bit more and put some more rock in to the thing and not so many ballads. A few more songs in the vein of Alive Again and it would have been perfect, but now it's just a slow - but well played - album packed with really clever things that no one really notice. I think it's a disappointing album, not because of any expectations (since I didn't have any) but when you hear what this band can do and then chose not to do, just putting one memorable song on a ten track album spanning almost an hour, then you get disappointed. Alive Again saves the four...




Label: Dangerous Dog Records/Connecting Music
Three similar bands: Journey/WET/John Wetton
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

läs på svenska