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Music Review: Journey – Revelation

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Journey has returned with a new singer, Arnel Pineda, and a spectacular new three disc album release. Revelation covers all the bases introducing Pineda to Journey’s legions of fans. There is one disc of new songs, a live disc from a Las Vegas concert and a disc of eleven of their classic songs re-recorded with Pineda as the vocalist.

Arnel Pineda fits Journey’s sound like a glove. He is a Steve Perry clone and sometimes his vocals, especially on the classic Journey songs, are indistinguishable from the originals. In fact if I have any criticism of Pineda, it is he is too perfect. There are times I would like to hear some of his vocal personality inserted into the songs.

The live disc is an hour concert that Journey recorded in Las Vegas shortly after Pineda joined the band. He is a little stiff on stage but no doubt will settle in as time goes by. Such Journey hits as “Wheel In The Sky,” “Lights,” “Open Arms,” “Faithfully” and “Don’t Stop Believin'” are faithful presentations of the original hits. Two newer songs, “After All These Years” and “Never Walk Away” find Pineda more relaxed, which is understandable since they are truly his songs.  Neal Schon proves that he is still one of the better guitarists in rock ‘n’ roll. His improvisations are consistently excellent plus he has the experience not to let them get out of control as he always returns to the basic song melodies.

What also struck me about Journey live was the full sound that they were able to produce both instrumentally and vocally. The voices of the members just meld together perfectly. Also, drummer Deen Castronovo gives a superb lead vocal performance on “Mother/Father.” It almost makes you want to see him step out from behind his drum set and have a go at some of Journey’s well-known songs.

The disc of new material is a mix of power ballads and rockers and are fine additions to the Journey catalog. “Never Walk Away” is classic up-tempo Journey. I consider “Wildest Dream” to be the song that puts Pineda over the top. “After All These Years” is a fine ballad. This studio version was performed on the concert disc and proves that the group can still produce their material live. “What It Takes To Win” is a keyboard driven-song featuring the wizardry of Jonathan Cain. While the spotlight tends to settle on guitarist Neal Schon and now vocalist Arnel Pineda, I can’t help but think that ultimately Cain is the soul of the group. “Where Did I Lose Your Love” is a showcase for Neal Schon’s guitar playing.

My least favorite of the three discs was the re-recording of 11 classic Journey tunes with Pineda at the vocal helm. The songs are fine but I have heard them before and many people own them on any of Journey’s Greatest Hits albums. Pineda has already proven that he fits in with the group and the live disc certainly shows that he can copy any vocal that Steve Perry put on tape. There’s nothing offensive here, just duplication.

In the final analysis, Revelation is a spectacular return by Journey. The album makes a person realize just how good this group has been. Hopefully they will take Pineda and continue to thrive as one of the better and more enjoyable rock groups of the last thirty years.  

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About David Bowling

  • Khan Tot

    The comment that Arnel Pineda (AP) is a Perry clone is somewhat off. AP comes close to Journey’s ‘legacy’ sound but he’s not definitely a SP clone. In fact, a lot of music reviews and critic blogs say that he has a wider vocal range than Perry. If you haven’t read up on AP’s background then that could be the reason. He’s been around the music scene for 25 years and has cut albums along the way. No wonder Neal was impressed with his vocals, AP can emulate Bryan Adams, Toto, Survivor, Air Supply…even Led Zep and Queen. Just look around Youtube and see what I’m talking about.

    Great review.

  • jon yoshihara

    thank you for an honest review…I like your review the fact that it contained no sarcastic note in your comments. I think that Arnel being commented as Perry clone is the greatest compliment one can give to a new frontman..justice is done..Arnel has the showmanship added to his vocal talents…he is the perfect frontman for Journey now..and seem to bring magic back for Journey .in a different way..I think SP is a great singer..and i feel sad some sadness when i watch Steve Perry on YT of his glorious days…because he gave the Legacy sound for the band and they looked and sounded so powerful together…but I am glad too that Arnel can bring the Legacy Sound and continue to carry the torch for Journey..it’s a different kind of feeling…My heart goes to both of them..missing one but loving a new one again…

  • BD

    Good article, but I’m not interested in clones I prefer the real thing!! I agree with your comment on the re-released classics. Long time Journey fans didn’t want that. (In fact I haven’t even played my copy and probably never will.) What’s the point??? Except a cheap shot by Neil Schon to cut SP out of some royalties. Neils recent comments on SP when this tour started lost him a lot of fans and only gave the public an insight into the attitudes SP had to deal with when he was in the band. Cudo’s to SP for leaving the Circus Life and finding out what is important to him!
    Can’t wait for SP to put out some new material (sounds like it may be soon)!!! He was the heart and soul of Journey that allowed them to be where they are today. He was their pathway to the fans and never let the fans forget how important they (fans) were. I only hope he is happy and healthy and enjoying life. Thanks, BD

  • Boo Rhat

    Here we go again with the AP-is-a-SP-clone diatribe. Pineda can very well sound like SP if he wishes to but he has his own unique style given the opportunity. I read an article from a student newspaper in San Diego where the writer attributes the current Journey success to their new frontman. The so called ‘long-time’ Journey fans who object to this new guy who’s from a third world country and definitely not of Anglo-Saxon heritage are not really Journey fans, but rather Steve Perry lunatics. Considering that Steve brought down the ax onto himself when he QUIT the band, these SP loonies blame Neal for this debacle. Comical!

    I wonder what the motivation is for these current Journey fans who flock to their back to back sold out concerts. Could it be AP? Who knows. There are about 4 million Filipino Americans in this country and assuming a quarter of these folks patronize the new Journey then it’s easy ride for the band from hereon. Of course, don’t discount the real Journey fans who cold care less whether the band’s frontman is Filipino, Chinese, or Martian. They are the true fans and are behind the band 100%.

    Awesome review all in all.

  • Pek Pek

    By BD:

    “Can’t wait for SP to put out some new material (sounds like it may be soon)!!!”

    ““““““““““““

    Knock your socks off. By the time he comes out of seclusion and face reality he might be too hard to look at. Who would want to go to a concert to listen and see a 70 year old dressed in 70’s/80’s style? That would be really gross…unless you’re Elvis.

    Go on Journey with what you’re currently doing. Arnel will only get better.

  • Lance

    “Can’t wait for SP to put out some new material (sounds like it may be soon)!!!”

    I heard that too, BD… Randy Jackson mentioned that last month in one of his interview.

    Rumors are circulating that SP is secretly working with “The Zoo” band @ hard rock cafe.

  • Karma

    Geez guys… Take it easy on SP. He is the main reason Journey rose to such heights in their hey day. Sometimes people make the wrong decisions in life. Whether he did or not, I do miss his voice. Do you think anyone else besides AP could’ve brought this band back into the limelight now if he didn’t sound so much like SP? I don’t think so… I’m happy for Journey’s new found success and lead singer. And I look forward to a SP release. Peace…

  • Karma

    By the way, SP still looks damn good! Saw recent pics and he is aging well…. Unlike some other rockers I won’t divulge….

  • loi

    i have seen many of the visual and reading materials about AP and SP.it is not fair to compare the two in terms of their capabilities as singer of journey. why dont we just relax and enjoy their respective songs. we saw arnel can handle the tourch of journey as SP did. dont spoil journey`s journey by comparing the two.

  • Nick Marrone

    I’m not going to pigeon hole this as a return to ’80’s Journey. This effort is top tier. Production is superb. Musicianship, superb. The original content rivals anything they have done in the past. Jonathon Cains songwriting ability, in my opinion, is exceptional and continues to flourish. Probably one of the most underated songwriters in the business. The energy put forth on the live DVD given the short time with Arnel is truly amazing. Deen Castronova’s voice is equaled by his perfectly timed and thunderous drumming. Neil Schon appears to find new life and truly rocks with enthusiasm. Also, Ross Vallory’s work is synchronized perfectly with the driving soul of this band. Great job men. Looking forward to seeing you in Detroit!!!

  • redneck lady

    I don’t care who the frontman is, whether he was a half-naked-man from the amazon or a laborer from the Himalayas or from a lost tribe of Inca as long as they can sing..who cares. Who cares if he is not a blond-ponytailed arrogant egocentric white man, as long he can sing…who cares. Who cares if you’re a follower of Perry..you can have million of his albums to come..no one cares..no one is gonna take them away from you. You can have Perry the man and the singer he is, you cannot bring back his youth and voice no more. Journey is too big a band to get troubled by just one man. Who cares if we have Pinneda to believe and trust as a frontman.. as clear as the ear could hear and as far as the eyes could see, he is the only journey there is. No one cares…because the fans are the one who care.Pinneda you’re the one, who was, who is and is to sing for us.

  • Inquisitor

    I’m very much amused with all the passion going between the NEW Journey and SP. Makes for good publicity.

  • glenn

    Ohrahh!!! From a Navy Corpsman in San Diego.
    Keep on rockin Journey…

  • 80sManJourneyFan

    like this new guy or not,
    If you are a true rock & roll fan, you have to understand that true rock & roll is like GENUINE ART or TRUE LOVE, it is UNIVERSAL, it knows no boundaries, knows no color nor culture nor language barriers. Obviously that’s what Neal Schon and the rest of the Journey Band feels like, so if you really are a genuine journey fan it shouldn’t matter who the frontman is. You wouldn’t ditch your favorite football team if it’s starting quarter back get’s injured or retires would you? Disliking this guy while comparing him with SP I think is ignorance and prejudice, which is wrong,it’s 2008 cavemen and women your should know better, but you have the freedom to be that way if you want to , just don’t hide it, else you become ignorant and a hypocrite at the same time.

  • CHRIS

    A TRUE JOURNEY FAN WOULD NEVER BASE THE AMOUNT OF SUPPORT THEY WOULD GIVE ON ONE PARTICULAR MEMBER OF THE BAND..ARNEL PINEDA’S VOCAL TALENT IS MULTI DIMENSIONAL..WAY BETTER THAN STEVE PERRY..JOURNEY IS BACK!! BETTER THAN EVER!!

  • Alan

    You guys are lucky, you live in a country with full of graces, you looks fabulous, very nice and shinny colors, you got everything and please stop worrying about anything. we came down here in your place not for the reason that we have to take everything that you’ve got,we just want to share our knowledge, skills and talents that you guys dont have we just want to fill up your emptiness!!!!