CD Reviews

Titanic - 'Maiden Voyage', 'Screaming In Silence' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 15, 2010    
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The first of two albums from Las Vegas, Nevada's Titanic.

'Maiden Voyage' marks the first of two albums from Las Vegas, Nevada's Titanic that Retroactive Records has opted to pluck from the vaults in 2010, with 'Maiden Voyage' being just that: the group's debut full length. This collector's edition sports new artwork, while the music has been remixed, remastered, and partially re-recorded. Stryper's Robert Sweet, meanwhile, provides drum parts.

A formula is quickly established upon the album, a hard rock cocktail that wields hook-laden riffs that bulldozer along as the backbone of each and every tune (‘Nightmare’, ‘You've Got Nothing On Me’, ‘Hollywood Blvd.’, or any other you'd care to name). Words roll off the tongue of Simon Tyler during the verses, verses complimented by anthemic choruses. Tyler fully exploits lyrics that the average listener can sing along to, whether they be lyrics like "I am a walking nightmare" (‘Nightmare’), "So now you live on Hollywood Blvd." (‘Hollywood Blvd.’), or "I don't believe" (‘Don't Believe’). Bill Menchen supplies capable, adept guitar solos throughout, with breakdowns achieving their purpose to decent effect (‘And The Dead Shall Rise’). A mid-paced demeanour is generally adopted, but exceptions to the rule apply in the shape of ‘Gods Of War’ and ‘Hollywood Blvd.’, for example.

A softly strummed guitar inaugurates ‘Ocean Of Blood’, with ‘Freak Show’ adopting such an approach throughout its duration as well. Starkly contrasting against its fellow numbers, in the latter a circus ringmaster talks in the track's background during certain parts. Titanic properly enters at fifty seconds or so, favouring a slower grind.

Boasting ten tracks, 'Maiden Voyage' clocks in at a mere thirty-two minutes, which is arguably too short a length for an album. However, this ensures that no specific track outstays its welcome. No frills, 'Maiden Voyage' is chock full of stomping, straightforward rockers that aren't half-bad. All in all, the album proves to be an inspired choice for reissue by Retroactive Records, something that might introduce Titanic to a wider audience.
2002's 'Screaming In Silence' is the second Titanic full-length to experience a 2010 reissue by Retroactive, this collector's edition also having been remixed, remastered and partially re-recorded as well as featuring new artwork. Stryper's Robert Sweet sits behind the drum stool once again.
In all honesty, 'Screaming In Silence' features nothing that its predecessor doesn't. Hardened, gritty riffs yet again provide a firm base while vocalist Simon Tyler roars upon anthemic choruses (be it on ‘And The Band Played On’, ‘Broken Toys’, ‘Carnival Of Souls’, or any others - take your pick). Tyler utilizes masked talking / partial singing upon select tracks like ‘Broken Toys’ and ‘Carnival Of Souls’ during certain parts, however, but usually favours more conventional vocals. Throughout each respective track, the frontman interlaces messages like "You gotta take me as I am" (‘Hypnotic’), "You don't wanna see through my eyes" (‘Question’), and "Don't waste your life and waste away" (‘See Through My Eyes’). Axeman Bill Menchen employs slick, accomplished soloing too, soloing that becomes somewhat bluesier on numbers like ‘See Through My Eyes’, but is usually customary hard rock.

As is the case upon predecessor 'Maiden Voyage', its duration is criminally short. 'Screaming In Silence' boasts ten tracks that cumulatively last twenty-nine minutes, something you'd expect from a punk full-length. Despite the fact this erodes the possibility of excess, with the price of albums nowadays being sky-high you'd expect more for your cash. Another great issue is the fact that 'Screaming In Silence' arrived six years following 'Maiden Voyage'; while possibly equalling the debut in terms of quality (or lack thereof, depending on your opinion), it doesn't improve upon that album, nor show any signs of evolvement for that matter. Given the six year period between albums, a much greater progression would've certainly been expected. However, if 'Maiden Voyage' ticks all the correct boxes, then it's a certainty that 'Screaming In Silence' will too.

A. C. W. Morgan

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