No doubt about it, it’s for a reason that American drummer John Macaluso appeared on supposedly around 200 albums by now. And now he decided to do his first solo album, bringing in some on the top names in progressive rock and metal to go for an ultimate result. And the list of participants is impressive, among others it counts vocalists James LaBrie of Dream Theater, Mike DiMeo of Masterplan and Adrian Holtz of ARK; guitarists like Marco Sfogli, Alex Masi and Chris Caffery, and finally I’ll mention keyboard player Vitalij Kuprij.
I can’t really come to terms with myself what to think about this album. As a drummer I have the utmost respect for the playing skills of Macaluso, and he really shows a wide spectrum of what he can do. Furthermore especially the vocal work, the keyboards and in some places the guitar work on this album struck me as really top class. But the balance between showing what you like to play and are able to do, and making a well structured and listenable album, can be difficult for both guitar- and keyboard players, and, as in this case, a drummer. The tracks on the album are very different in style, with a tend to a darker mood, ranging from very progressive rock, over more straight melodic heavy rock to jazzy and funky stuff – In some way these differences is both the strength and the weakness of the album, it becomes demanding to listen to because of the complexity of a lot of the material, and they don't stick that easy in my mind/memory. With someone as experienced as Macaluso you’d expect a perfect work of art, also knowing that it took about 1˝ year to finish the album. I think you have to listen to it several times to uncover and connect the details of the single tracks and the album as a whole. Macaluso shows (I hope) humour when he himself sings/croons through the number “6 Foot under Happy Man”, that’s completely off in style from the rest (I consider it kind of a joke), and without drums at all, and in the intro to the drum solo track “Pretzel”.
Listening concentrated to this album made me like it more and more each time, and if you’re into progressive rock and/or a drummer you really ought to check this out.
Recommended tracks: "Soul in Your Mind"(pure Dream Theater), "Shimmering Grey", "T-34"(awesome keyboards), "Starring "PAIN""(Cool guitar) & "Away with Words"