Power of Metal.dk Review

William Shatner
Ponder the Mystery
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: 8 October, 2013
Playing time: 65:02

William Shatner. That name evokes so many different responses. Most of my friends simply know him as Captain Kirk, which is what I'm tempted to call him throughout this review (we'll see). Others know him only for his supposed overacting and his hammy delivery of lines on Priceline commercials. However, I want to suggest right now that the prog world start to know him for his music, too.

“Ponder the Mystery” is Captain Kirk's first foray into progressive rock. He's had some other albums of jazzy type stuff, but this is the first time he's entered the prog work purposefully. He is responsible for the concept of this album, which revolves around an older man that ponders the mysteries of life over the course of an afternoon and evening. In other words, it's nostalgic and possibly old-fashioned (not in a bad way) stuff. Captain Kirk isn't alone, though. Ex-Yes member Billy Sherwood is the brains behind the music on this album, and so they wrote this album together. Along for the ride, we also get to hear Robby Krieger of The Doors, Mick Jones of Foreigner, Rick Wakeman of Yes, and a few other notable musicians.

What gets me right off the bat are two things: the excellence of the music and the acquired taste of Kirk's performance. First of all, the music is way above average. It usually consists of lush keyboard atmospheres and solos with some added guitar work, well-composed and very well-performed drums, and also some stunningly good bass guitar that is just a treat to hear. It is very much in the vein of Yes and Genesis, and this adds to the nostalgic feelings that the lyrics convey. Sherwood also sings; so, for the most part, the music and vocals come from him. There are some seriously good tracks on here, such as “Where It's Gone...I Don't Know”, “So Am I”, “Rhythm of the Night”, “Do You See?”, and my favorite, “Alive”. Every song on the album is good, though.

However, Kirk also gives his contribution. He wrote the concept and the lyrics, yes; but he also performs his spoken word, sometimes called lyrical poetry. Now, this is the big “if” in the formula because as Sherwood is singing, you have Kirk sort of sparring with him. It can be a little cheesy at times. Yes, sometimes you will roll your eyes. But I have to give it to the old guy that this is a unique and interesting approach that really grew on me. There are literally some parts with killer hooks that are performed by Kirk and Sherwood simultaneously. I guess all I'm asking is that everyone at least give the whole album a chance, as many write it off within moments or won't listen at all.

In summary, this is a unique album of excellent 70s-style prog rock that is supplemented, not hurt, by the inclusion of Kirk, or Shatner's, style of spoken word. It's a bit cheesy, but in an endearing way. I, for one, enjoyed it and I hope to see more in depth offerings later.

01. Red Shift
02. Where It's Gone...I Don't Know
03. Manhunt
04. Ponder the Mystery
05. So Am I
06. Change
07. Sunser
08. Twilight
09. Rhythm of the Night
10. Imagine Things
11. Do You See?
12. Deep Down
13. I'm Alright, I Think
14. Where Does Time Go?
15. Alive
Label: Cleopatra Records
Distribution: Cleopatra Records
Artwork rating: 70/100
Reviewed by: Jason Spencer
Date: 23 October, 2013
Website: www.williamshatner.com/ws