The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
TOTO XIV REVIEW 2015

 

TOTO - XIV

FRONTIERS RECORDS

MARCH 20 2015

 

 

Tracklisting: Running Out of Time; Burn; Holy War; 21st Century Blues; Orphan; Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey); The Little Things; Chinatown; All The Tears That Shine; Fortune; Great Expectations.


DVD: Making of the album documentary


Vinyl: Lp1 – Side A: Running Out of Time; Burn; Holy War // Side B: 21st Century Blues; Orphan
Lp2 - Side A: Chinatown; The Little Things; Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey) // Side B: All The Tears That Shine; Fortune; Great Expectations



As a very young kid I was obsessed with five songs from the Classic age of Rock:  Bad Company’s ‘Can’t Get Enough’; Mott The Hoople’s ‘Roll Away the Stone’; Boston’s ‘More Than a Feeling’; Argent’s ‘Hold You Head Up’ and Toto’s ‘Hold the Line’. If I hear any of them today I still get those tingles, but of hem all Toto’s offering is the one that always stops me in my tracks.

 

Over the years Toto have of course gone on to do so much more, but that’s by the by. 2015 sees them in all their Melodic glory with a decidedly rockier finish that their most famous eighties period. ‘Running Out of Time’ sounds as fresh and relevant as the best current da Melodic rock and is polished to perfection, chugging along like a well-oiled machine, with Lukather’s shimmering guitar adding the gloss to a great band performance   

 

In the 8 years between this new album and 2006’s ‘Falling In Between’ the bands various members have all kept busy and so it is a little surprising that ‘XIV’ sounds so well-realise and cohesive. Its tracks like ‘Burn’ that have that slow-sizzling power and grandeur that few bands master so well. This is clearly an album for the fans with as many memorable riffs and melodies as you might expect from these veterans.

 

If you want sweet progressive-tinged light Melodic Rock then tracks like ‘Holy War’ flow like warm honey; whilst ‘21st Century Blues’ struts and shimmies, falling on a soft refrain. Some of the best though is to come: ‘Orphan’ opens up as a trademark touching ballad that can’t fail to connect but adds a hard edge to the bridge before falling back onto six-part melodies. ‘Unknown Soldier’ has an epic feel to it that really uplifts the album midway, with more than a dab of Prog to the quasi-ballad    its executed beautifully and a real highlight for us; and is juxtaposed nicely with the light and airy ‘The Little Things’.

 

‘Chinatown’ paints an interesting picture through a funky sheen not a million miles away from their early eighties pomp; ‘All the Tears’ by contrast is sheer silken Melody. Add that to those tracks like the closing pair: ‘Fortune’ which comes on more like Foreigner and ‘Great Expectations’ which at almost seven minutes again captures that stirring epic feel beautifully with some sweeping tempo changes and dynamics and you have a great return from a band that will have plenty of old time fans flocking back.

 

Toto might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s hard to deny the class on display here and the sheer quality of the material. Fans on the other hand are really in for a treat and with a World Tour kicking off this year it will be a big one for Toto.    

 

The Deluxe edition of the album comes in ecolbook format, including an expanded booklet featuring a 3,000 words essay with exclusive interviews, exclusive pictures and a bonus DVD including a documentary “Making of” the album. The Box set edition includes deluxe edition cd/dvd, exclusive t-shirt (L size only), 2LP, poster and lithograph.

 

TOTO
Joseph Williams – lead vocals
Steve Lukather – guitars, bass, vocals
David Paich – keyboards, vocals
Steve Porcaro – keyboards, vocals
David Hungate – bass
Keith Carlock – drums
Lenny Castro – percussion
Tom Scott – saxes and horn arrangements
Lee Sklar, Tal Wilkenfeld, Tim Lefebvre – bass
Martin Tillman - cello
CJ Vanston – additional synths
Michael McDonald, Amy Keys, Mabvuto Carpenter, Jamie Savko, Amy Wlliams – background vocals.

 

 

by Mark Rockpit

 

TOTO XIV - HARD ROCK ALBUM REVIEW 2015