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Torman Maxt ‎– The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 (*NEW-CD, 2007) Prog Christian Rock ala Kansas, King's X)

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Torman Maxt ‎– The Problem Of Pain: Part 1 (*NEW-CD, 2007) Prog Christian Rock ala Kansas, King's X)

Overture 3:53
Job's Song 3:35
The Angel's First Song 3:42
Satan's First Song 4:17
Job's Initial Shock 1:56
Job's Resolve 3:49
Job's Commitment 2:25
The Angel's Second Song 3:02
Satan's Second Song 2:04
Job's Contemplation 1:18
Job's Second Response 2:56
Job's Wife 4:09
A Great Silence 4:46

"The Problem of Pain" takes its name from a book by C.S. Lewis. It's sort of a "high concept" theme for an album, along the lines of literate/ thinking progressive rock bands like Rush, Kansas, or Yes. Well, guess what? It turns out they ARE a progressive rock band, and they are a thinking band, but not so cerebral (thinking) so as not to be visceral (feeling). Why is it called Part One? Because there's a follow-up album called Part Two, which is subtitled "Book of Job". This one ought to say that also, for it is the biblical story of Job cast as a rock opera.

The story of Job has inspired and drawn many people. Tolkien translated the book of Job for the Jerusalem Bible. There was a modern play, "J.B." based on it. Torman Maxt provides an eight page booklet of the relevant Bible text and lyrics. The problem is it's a pain to read, with nearly illegible fonts and low contrast. Maybe it's meant to be that way, to echo the puzzling, dark, theme of the album.
Someone said the vocals are Geddy Lee-ish. Well, Tony's voice is not quite as high as the singer from Rush (whose is?) but it's well in the ballpark of prog rock/ psychedelic rock, likable and warm. In good prog rock style, the album opens and closes with long instrumental pieces. As done in instrumental symphonies, the various characters, or players to view it dramatically, have characteristic musical signatures or themes which are repeated with subtle variations. The angel's song is joyous and beautiful, familiar as "Holy, Holy, Holy" from the book of Revelation, as well in the Mass, but it's wonderful to hear it in this creative, passionate arrangement. Satan's songs are suitably musically disturbing, with minor chords and backwards instrument tracks. "Job's Initial Shock" has a chaotic, confused sense of puzzlement. "Job's Resolve" is a very good song on it's own, as is "Job's Song". The album closes with a musical question mark, presumably leading to "Part Two".
The only players listed in the credits are Vincent, Dominic, and Tony Massaro. This is a lot of music for three guys. My four stars are only due to the fact that I don't know how this album compares to their others until I hear more. I can't think of many other gospel rock operas. Alice Cooper's "The Last Temptation" comes to mind. I used to see ads for Torman Maxt in HM or some gospel rock mag or zine, and wonder who they were and what they sounded like. Now that I know, I certainly want to hear more.