Now and Then Records
Release date: 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Dove award-winning, Dove soap-using, Dove Bar eating, dove feeding musician Ken Tamplin brings an all-star cast to the table with his new release Ken Tamplin And Friends – Wake The Nations. (Actually, only the Dove award-winning part can be verified by fact.) This may seem like a blithe way to start a review, but Tamplin actually has a song called “We’ve Jihad Enough,” so you can blame him for that.

Big names are all over this CD. Jeff Scott Soto, Philip Bardowell, Jeff Watson, Richie Kotzen and Doug Aldrich are most of them. With such a cast of players, you’d expect some great tunes. What you get are a few pretty good ones.

But, let’s start with “We’ve Jihad Enough.” Here goes the chorus: “We’ve jihad, we’ve jihad, haven’t we jihad enough.” The guitar solo by Howie Simon is this song’s only saving grace, but still, silly doesn’t begin to describe this track. Minus the lyrics, the melody is OK, but it’s a forgettable song.

Wake The Nations actually has 15 songs on it, and two bonus videos. So, if you like Tamplin, he doesn’t sell you short. But if you are unfamiliar with him, you won’t start liking the CD until the third track “Falling Houses.” It has a very haunting bridge, good lyrics, a grinding rhythm, and is one of the best overall tracks on the disk. This is also the first time you’ll hear Tamplin can sing well. Most of the tracks are too clean and scoured of all emotion, but when Tamplin belts out his vocals, he shines.

In case you didn’t figure it out by the “Dove award-winning” beginning, this is Christian music. With songs like “Hare Kristians,” “God in Heaven,” “Peace on Earth” and “Saints and Heroes,” it’ll become apparent early on. And as was previously mentioned, there is a certain sterility to this kind of music, but it’s not bad. You’ll hear nothing groundbreaking and no real chances are taken, but the talent is obvious nonetheless.

The title track “Wake The Nations” is another strong track. The riffs are catchy, fairly heavy, and the shout-along chorus does tend to make you want to crank it up. Scott Van Zen does the solo here, and it rips.

As far as Metal is concerned, song nine, “Mystery,” is your best shot on this CD. The opening guitars are intense, and Tamplin takes the shackles off his voice, until the chorus that is, and then it sounds like the rest of the album. When the guitar is the focus of the song on this CD, those are the best ones.

Some other good tunes are “7 Eleven People” (with Reb Beach doing the guitar solo,) and “Come Together.”

Ken Tamplin And Friends – Wake The Nations is a good rock CD, with some forgettable moments. But with 15 songs, he had to nail a few. You may be left wishing you could hear him try to sing a little more diversely and with more emotion, because on the final song “Sing,” a ballad, he sounds great. Maybe next time. Amen.

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