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Rivera Bomma - 'Infinite Journey Of Soul' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 12, 2013    
 
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"Disappointing" is the most appropriate adjective I can find to describe this album.

This overtly Christian hard rock/metal band (they are on the cusp on both genres, and very occasionally dabble in more AOR-inclined sensibilities) are not newcomers to Fireworks as I reviewed their 2006 release 'I Am God' in #24. It has taken the subsequent seven years to produce this, their third album, so I was expecting a corker, bearing in mind that 'I Am God' was frequently exquisite despite the religious dogma that frequently permeated the lyrics.

To be quite blunt, this is almost a complete let-down once the superb attention-grabbing intro 'I.J.O.S Intro' morphs into the title track proper. There are some better moments, as mentioned below, but overall this is a somewhat mediocre release, where Johnny Bomma's vocals often sound rather forced, while many of the songs lack originality, melody and are consequently instantly forgettable: even after numerous listens.

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Instrumentally, the Rivera Bomma band is quite a force with which to be reckoned and Rod Rivera's guitar playing is once again both magnificent and diverse across this album's 50 minutes duration, while the rhythm section of Mike Lepond (bass) and Edward Faust (drums) are as effective as any you will hear in similar bands. On their previous album, I described vocalist Johnny Bomma's performance as "impressive" – except on the title track where it was "over-stretched". It is that same issue that recurs time and time again here, and I would have hoped that the tendency for him to strain his voice on the more up-tempo and demanding songs would have been recognised and suitable adjustment made. Sadly not: thus the title track, 'In Blood', 'Angel And Demons' and 'The Maker' all suffer significantly from his over-reaching. The two songs where his vocals are quite natural ('Via Dolorosa' – where former drummer Steve Riker appears – and the fabulous 'In My Dreams' and the best song here by a country mile) are ones that stand head and shoulders above the rest of the album.

Lyrically the album is suspect too (and I am not referring to their religious focus) as is the production, which I found most noticeably suspect on 'The Maker', and where the vocals and the instruments fail to effectively complement each other.

Sorry guys; I was so looking forward to this album, but "disappointing" is the most appropriate adjective I can find to describe it.

Paul Jerome Smith

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