JOURNEY – Generations

JOURNEY - Generations


Frontiers Records
Release date: August 29, 2005

Vocals: B
Guitar: A-
Bass: B
Drums: B+
Keyboards: B
Recording Quality: B
Originality: B
Overall Rating: B

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Well it’s been over four years since Journey released their last full album (Arrival). Where have the years gone you might ask? Touring, releasing an EP (Red 13), solo projects, side projects — it all adds up quick. It’s also hard to believe that Journey has been a band for over 30 years and Generations represents their 18th release! After that many years as a band, it’s easy to build a fan base that spans many different “generations,” hence the new album’s title.

In an interesting “experiment,” this is the first album that all the band members get a shot at doing lead vocals. Of course, this might not be as risky as it first sounds as most of the band members have probably done some past vocal performances on other releases, given their extensive careers. Even so, passing the microphone around seems to have led to a rather different Journey sound in some areas. All in all, this has resulted in a much more “rockier” release from Journey than fans have seen in quite some time. This is the one that should make fans of Frontiers-era Journey forget the rather dismal and sullen Arrival release of 2001.

The album starts off in a traditional Journey way, with main frontman Steve Augeri handling the vocals on “Faith In The Heartland” and “The Place In Your Heart.” Both of these represent fine slabs of “Journey-esque” Melodic Hard Rock, and both are suited for radio airplay. Each scores for their catchy, multi-tracked choruses, steady backbone drumbeat, and soulful, passionate guitar playing from Neal Schon. Of the two, “The Place In Your Heart” has all the ingredients to make it the clear-cut winner. Start with an opening driving guitar/keyboard tandem, add an overall awesome melody, a passionate chorus sung by Augeri, a powerful solo by Schon, and it all adds up to one of the album’s finest moments.

The third track, “A Better Life,” is where things change slightly, by handing the lead vocals off to drummer Castronovo. Deen does a respectable job on lead vocals, as all the band members do on this release. He comes off as a more soulful, soft-spoken vocalist with very slight and even fluctuations. For whatever reason, his drumming on this track, though, is a more simplistic beat than usual, as if he were concentrating more on singing. Overall, this track seems to exude more soul than others on the CD. This is where the power of this album resides, in the ability of the band to tailor the music to each individual singer’s style and to make each member sound like an accomplished vocalist.

Next up is “Every Generation,” with keyboardist Jonathan Cain on lead vocal duty. It’s a slightly Bluesy, soulful Rock number with a catchy beat and plenty of guitars. Jonathan delivers an emotional performance that coincides with his evident and upbeat keyboard playing.

The reins are then again handed over to Augeri for the next four tracks … “Butterfly (She Flies Alone),” which is a slower, ballad type number and is standard Journey mediocrity that will probably lure in the female fans in the audience. “Believe” is a mid-tempo, keyboard-driven jaunt with some wailing wah-wah-backed lead guitar. “Knowing That You Love Me” is another track that rides the slow tempo train, but ends up standing on its own due to its rather soulful approach and stinging lead guitar solo. “Out Of Harms Way,” which is a song about the soldiers over in the Middle East, gets things rocking again. The song is complete with hyperactive guitar playing, stabbing keyboards, a heavy back beat, and another moving vocal performance by Augeri.

“In Self-Defense” is Neal’s turn at vocals, and as one might expect, this is a gutsy, bare-knuckled, rocking track with a fast tempo. “Better Together” sees Augeri again at the mic, and this track treads close to being worth its weight in gold — there’s plenty of guitar stabs and some nice off-beats included.

Possibly the most interesting track is “Gone Crazy,” where bassist Ross Valory takes his vocal turn. And “crazy” is not far from the truth, as the opening harmonica and hyper drumming propels this track into a Blues-Rocking frenzy. Valory’s slightly distorted vocal performance lends this song to an almost high voltage Bluesy, ZZ-Top feel. Good stuff, and definitely a surprise track for a Journey album!

In another unprecedented move, the “bonus track” on this album, “It’s Never Too Late,” with Castronovo on lead vocals and Cain playing guitar, is actually worth owning! It’s very upbeat, catchy, and comes with a fast, bombastic lead guitar solo (which sounds like trademark Neal Schon, otherwise Mr. Cain is being sorely underestimated).

Overall, this is one of the “heavier” releases that Journey has put out in quite awhile. If anything, it should appeal to Neal Schon fans as his signature guitar playing is all over this album. For whatever reason, Schon’s playing never seems more passionate or melodic then when he’s playing with Journey. Could it be that he’s more at ease, as Journey fans probably don’t expect as much out of his playing, as opposed to fans of Schon’s other band Soul SirkUS? This is definitely a winner release, and should appeal to Journey fans of all “generations” as there is something here for everyone to enjoy! It’s nice to be able to listen to a release and actually understand the words to the songs … a very uncommon, novel idea nowadays in most music.

By the way for those in the States, you’ll have to wait until October 4th to pick this one up, as Journey have signed a deal with another label for Stateside distribution.


Neal Schon – Guitar, Vocals
Jonathan Cain – Keyboards, Vocals, Guitar
Ross Valory – Bass, Vocals
Steve Augeri – Vocals
Deen Castronovo – Drums, Vocals
Kevin Elson – Production


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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