Sound — 9
My first impression of this CD was not very high. I am a relatively new fan of Journey and once I found out that my idol Steve Perry was no longer the lead vocalist I pushed this album aside for a while. However, once I had come to terms with the events behind the outting of Perry, I returned to gives this album a fighting chance. I was awarded greatly. From the classic Journey style melodies to the lyric and guitar driven songs I was in heaven. The new lead vocalist, Steve Augeri, sounded very similar to Steve Perry, which made the transition between Perry to Augeri very smooth. Deen Castronovo also brings some much enjoyed variety to this album with the amazing vibrato of his voice. Neal Schon, as always, is very masterful in his skills on the guitar. The tone that is achieved from his signature Les Paul Custom is almost divine. Originally I ignored this album, but now I appreciate this album for what it is: An absolutely great arena rock album from the 29th best selling artist of all time and still my favorite band ever.
Lyrics — 9
Singers like Steve Augeri and Deen Castronovo deliver vocals that can pierce the lyrics into your very soul, which is exactly where you would want great lyrics such as these. Most of the lyrics on this album lead to very story driven songs. Songs like "Place In Your Heart", "Better Life" and "Knowing That You Love Me" clearly can relate to real world situations that we all know or have experienced. Two songs on this album, "Faith in the Heartland" and especially "Beyond the Clouds" serve as touching tributes to the victims and the families hit hard by 9/11. It is absolutely amazing that these songs have never found their way to the charts as they are very emotional and can bring a tear to the eye of any hard ass. However, some of the songs don't live up to the potential given to them by the power of their lyrics and merely serve as fillers to the album. A shame because this album could have been absolutely awesome, but in reality relys on about 5 or 6 songs to pull it through. Which is what most albums do, but this one could have been much different.
Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this album proves to be a must have for any Journey fan. With such impressive songs as "Place In Your Heart", "Better Life", "Knowing That You Love Me", "Faith In The Heartland", and "Beyond The Clouds" this stands as among the most lyrically driven album in my collection. I absolutely love the guitars by Neal Schon and the melodies. I hate that radio stations have not taken these songs into their arsenal. If this CD were lost or stolen (even though it wouldn't because I never let it out of my sight), I would instantly buy another to replace it. My recommendation is to buy this CD as soon as possible.