|Musical Style: Heavy Metal||Produced By: Bill Menchen|
|Record Label: Retroactive||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2007||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 17||Rating: No Quote|
|Running Time: 52:46|
Titanic was founded in late 1995 by guitarist Bill Menchen, vocalist Simon “Keith Miles” Tyler, bassist Ray Kilsdonk and drummer Tim Palmatier. The new four piece unit recorded the classic metal and hard rock of its full length debut, Maiden Voyage, in December of the same year, a heavy and driving effort independently released by the band in the summer of 1996. By the turn of the century, however, Maiden Voyage – out of print and becoming more and more difficult to find – was re-issued by Magdalene Records with three bonus tracks featuring Robert Sweet (Stryper) on drums. Encouraged by the sales of the Maiden Voyage re-issue, Titanic regrouped and recorded its sophomore album, the melodic based metal of Screaming In Silence, which it released on Retroactive Records in the fall of 2002. Retroactive later approached founding member Bill Menchen about a third album from Titanic. With original vocalist Simon Tyler out of music, Menchen recruited newcomer David St. Andrew and put together Full Steam Ahead, a 2007 Retroactive release that stands out as by far the finest offering from the band to date. Finally, in late 2007 Retroactive put out Wreckage (The Best Of & The Rest Of), a 17 song Titanic compilation made up of 5 tracks from Maiden Voyage, 5 from Screaming In Silence, 3 from Full Steam Ahead and 4 bonus tracks in which Robert Sweet also participates.
Now, one of the problems I have with most compilation albums is that they are almost always flawed. What I mean by that is rarely, if ever, have I been completely satisfied with the song selection process of any compilation I have obtained: either a critical track or two ends up missing or several will be included that, in my opinion, should have been left off. With that in mind, how does Wreckage (The Best Of & The Rest Of) measure up? Quite well to be completely honest. With a couple of notable exceptions (which I will go into detail later), Wreckage does a fairly accurate and thorough job of compiling the best material of the groups three album history. All in all, for the most part I agree with the decisions made behind the songs chosen. The only thing which might come under scrutiny, nonertheless, is the fact only three tracks were taken from Full Steam Ahead, arguably the groups finest effort musically. But, as the old saying goes, there is a “method to the madness” here. And that is the decision to purposely focus on material from Maiden Voyage and Screaming In Silence, two albums currently out of print and on the challenging side of things to locate. (It also must be noted that Full Steam Ahead was released only a handful of months ago.) Maiden Voyage and Screaming In Silence, in addition, are both scheduled to be re-mastered and re-issued in 2008 with Robert Sweet handling all drum tracks- so it is natural to expect a bit of build up as well.
Maiden Voyage delivers the rawer and heavier sound when compared to Screaming In Silence. To understand my point just give “Hollywood Blvd” several spins, a very worth selection that, with its machine gun-like rhythm guitar sound and catchy chorus, ranks with my favorite tracks of the bands earlier days. “Nightmare” is also a notable inclusion. Another driving hard rocker, this one features a hook every bit as big along with a classic metal environment that would do fans of old school Barren Cross and Saint proud. You cannot go wrong with “Ocean Of Blood” and “Gods Of War” either. These two are almost thrash flavored (think Sardonyx or older Ultimatum) with their heavy duty riffs and aggressive vocal delivery of Simon Tyler. The only questionable choice here is “I Am Watching You” (a song I have never been able to grow into). While another piece from Full Steam Ahead might have made better sense, if one were to insist on a fifth track from Maiden Voyage I would have gone with either the frenzied “You’ve Got Nothing On Me” or muscle-laden “And The Dead Shall Arise”.
Screaming In Silence
Screaming In Silence moves in a more melodic based metal direction while maintaining much of the guitar driven heaviness characteristic to Maiden Voyage. Five very good songs were taken from the album: “Hypnotic”, “Carnival Of Souls”, “Screaming In Silence”, “Web Dreams” and “Time”. As a matter of fact, if it had been my call I would not have done anything differently. “Hypnotic” delivers a driving but catchy mid-tempo sound and “Time” a plethora of up-tempo momentum. “Web Dreams”, as powerful a track as you will find, stands out with its chugging guitar riffs, while “Screaming In Silence” is a decisive hard rocker with an emotional edge. “Carnival Of Souls” combines a knife-like rhythm guitar sound with a chorus of the choppy variety. In the end, some good songs were left out here – “Broken Toys” and “Questions” come to mind – but you cannot go wrong with the five chosen.
Full Steam Ahead
Full Steam Ahead finds Titanic taking a significant step forward in all areas of its performance: production, songwriting, musicianship and lyrics. With a new vocalist aboard (no pun intended) in David St. Andrew, who brings a vocal style inviting comparison to Kevin DuBrow (Quiet Riot), Scott Wenzel (Whitecross) or even Alice Cooper, Titanic re-defines its sound while still sticking to its foundational principals of straightforward metal and hard rock. The end result is the creativity and power characteristic to “The Sea”, “Dead Men’s Bones” and “Shovel The Coal”, three worthwhile picks for a Titanic compilation. “Shovel The Coal”, with its huge chorus hook and snarling stretch of lead guitar, represents all that words well on Full Steam Ahead. The intensity level is maintained on “Dead Men’s Bones”, a spirited piece underscored its full length by an avalanche of dogged riffs. “The Sea” proves an apocalyptic hard rocker in terms of both its musical and lyrical direction. While I can understand the reasoning behind the decision to include just three tracks from Full Steam Ahead, if I were to add a fourth or fifth song from the album it might be the energetic “Captain Of The Ship” or aptly entitled “Wisdom”.
Closing out Wreckage are four bonus tracks featuring Robert Sweet (Stryper) on drums.
“Don’t Care”, initially appearing on the Magdalene re-issue of Maiden Voyage, is an alternate take of “Nightmare” in which the rhythm guitar has been moved to a reduced place in the mix and the tempo slowed down somewhat. You will find the songs lyrics have also been reworked, particularly during its chorus.
The signature creative drumming of Robert Sweet really makes “Freak Show” come alive: a song I once rated on the average side of things (in its original incarnation on Maiden Voyage) has now moved well into very good territory.
Closing things out are never before released versions of “Ocean Of Blood” and “I Am Watching You”. Robert, of course, helps bring out the best in both as well. “Ocean Of Blood” was already solid to begin with and “I Am Watching You”, while not one of my favorite Titanic numbers, also improves as a result of the aggressive punch Robert brings to the table.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Ocean Of Blood” (2:31), “Hypnotic” (3:15), “I Am Watching You” (3:33), “The Sea” (3:38), “Hollywood Blvd” (2:35), “Carnival Of Souls” (2:52), “Gods Of War” (2:39), “Screaming In Silence” (2:41), “Nightmare” (3:06), “Dead Men’s Bones” (3:12), “Web Dreams” (2:22), “Time” (2:35), “Shovel The Coal” (3:59), “Don’t Care” (2:59), “Feak Show” (3:49), “Ocean Of Blood” (2:33) & “I Am Watching You” (3:35).
Simon Tyler – Lead Vocals
David St. Andrew – Lead Vocals
Bill Menchen – Guitars
Ray Kilsdonk – Bass
Tim Palmatier – Drums
Timothy II – Drums
David White - Drums
Robert Sweet – Drums
Also Reviewed: Titanic – Screaming In Silence, Titanic – Full Steam Ahead, Final Axe – Beyond Hell’s Gate, Final Axe – The Axe Of The Apostles, Menchen - Red Rock, Redeemer - Double Edge Sword, Redeemer - Anno Domini, Rev Seven - Heavy Laden Volume 1, Rev Seven - Heavy Laden Volume 2, The Seventh Power – The Seventh Power