World Trade

1.The New Norm
2. Where We’re Going
3. Pandora’s Box
4. On Target On Time
5. Gone All The Way
6. Unify
7. For The Fallen
8. Lifeforce
9. Same Old Song
10. Again

Billy Sherwood – bass and lead vocals
Bruce Gowdy – guitars
Guy Allison – keyboards
Mark T. Williams – drums

World Trade (1989)
Euphoria (1995)



Released 2017-08-04
Reviewed 2017-09-16




When I listen to this album I come to think of a quote from Blaze Bayley’s album Silicon Messiah: “doomed to be mediocre or nothing at all” is a text line from that album in the early 2000s. Incidentally the same era as a project called Conspiracy that housed Billy Sherwood and Chris Squire, I reviewed their album The Unknown in 2003 and I think this sounds like it has some leftover rejects from that album. The fact is that it probably is an album of songs Sherwood rejected from his solo albums and some rejects from the other members of the band as well. It is hard to see where World Trade stands alone these days, some reviewer asked the difference between World Trade and Sherwood’s solo stuff and the answer was that the difference was in the band members, World Trade had the same line up on the debut album from the 1980s as they do for this album.

It is all about pop music infused progressive rock, a good idea in itself and one that bands like Yes, said Conspiracy, Asia and some others have made work very well at times. World Trade does not make it work as well since their music feels very tired and unoriginal – uninspired song-writing combined with soulless production makes this album feel quite mediocre and when the last song ebbs I come to think of that quote and feel that nothing at all might have been better. Sure he sings well, the band performs well but it feels like something mass-produced – something that often comes out of Frontiers.

Take a band that did reasonably well many years ago, then they either disbanded or was forgotten, then have them create something new, market it with past glories or famous associations and you have more than half of what Frontiers are releasing – the half where World Trade can be categorised. This may seem like a mean opinion towards the label but it is a good business idea, it is much easier to sell anything through marketability rather than trough quality – and quality is often expensive, either to sell or to buy depending on demand and music fans isn’t very demanding. Henceforth you have a good business plan that can make you some money on something mediocre.

As a critic I always have to look at criteria like quality and originality, feel and those other things that makes the music great whoever stands behind the microphone or handles the knobs and buttons, the marketability does not really matter. And this album is another reminder that musicians are more often craftsmen than they are artists and this time they make a barely adequate craft from what feels like songs rejected from bands I mentioned and the members’ other associations. No, this isn’t exactly what I would call brilliant or exciting, not even good actually – Unify is best described by the word mediocre.

Perhaps this could be appealing to those who likes the similar bands or the associations of the members of this band but I doubt that even they will be very enthusiastic as there is so much better similar stuff to chose from and if there ever was an album that offered exactly nothing of interest in the genre, this is probably it. In the end I think the looming question is how such a merited and skilled gang of musicians can come up with something this mediocre, as mediocre is probably the word that best describes Unify.



Label: Frontiers Music
Three similar bands: Yes/Conspiracy/Asia
Rating: HHHHHHH (3/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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