Well, if you are like me you have been starving lately for some more great progressive music. I've spent a lot of this last year listening to bands like Balance of Power, Shadow Gallery, and many others. It seems like I can't get enough. Thankfully, one of the least likely of sources has released a new disc at a good time. Torman Maxt seemed like they dropped off the face of the earth. It's been quite a few years since their last release, and I for one thought they had threw in the towel. You can read their recent interview here on the Whipping Post to find out more details on the long delay, but all I can say is that it was worth the wait. Balance of Power and Shadow Gallery this is not, but Torman Maxt does lay down some impressive progressive rock/metal to feast your ears upon. Musically, they don't really sound like anyone else. Yeah, you can grab influences from other progressive bands, but they seem to have a sound all their own. Vocally, you'll hear influences from bands like Rush or Trytan. I actually never could get into Trytan's vocals, but Tony Massaro's vocals, although similar, are much, much better. He gets high-pitched at times, but it sounds natural.
Upon first listen, I had a hard time getting into it, but they definitely have grown on me and I find myself looking forward to each time I put the disc in my CD player. At times, especially on the song "Vanity Explored", the music seems to sound kinda dated, but what bothered me at first sounds great now. The band really impresses me musically. They are a very tight unit with a great sound. They can get heavy and fast on you, but then slow it down with ease with some fine acoustic guitar playing. Great guitar solos, great production, and terrific lyrics. Actually, the lyrics impress me probably even more than the music itself. And that is not to take anything away from the tunes, it just seems that they spent lots of quality time on what they wanted to say. The main theme centers on man's attempt to fill his life with everything but God. To seek ways to get to God other than the path He has laid out. My favorite lyrical song is probably one of the simplist, but it is so strong in it's message. The song is "Silence Isn't Golden": "...They call it tolerance/respect all thoughts/silence is fueling/spiritual fraud. It shows/Death grows/Hell knows/that this silence/oh this silence numbs the heart...The spiritual blind man/follows his heart/into death's valley/yet no one speaks out...Silence isn't golden/when truth is in the dark." Kind've a slap in the face to all of us who at times don't say anything cause we are too afraid to "hurt someone's feelings".
My favorite songs here would be "Silence Isn't Golden", "The Foolishness of God", "40 Days", "The Stage", and "Space and Time". There is really no downpoints on the album in my opinion. It's musically and lyrically great all throughout. Tony, Dominic, and Vinny Massaro are all three brothers physically and spiritually and this seems to really bring a lot of unity to this band that seems very evident when listening to this album. If you are into progressive rock or metal this is definitely one to check out. Go to www.tormanmaxt.com to get ordering info. I'll leave you with the last line of the album and explaination for the confusing title: "The Foolishness of God...is God's method of saving man." (Review by Matt)