Released: 2010, Dead Media Music
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
torman maxt is a progressive rock three piece from Florida, comprised of the Massaro brothers – Tony, Dominic, and Vincent. With influences leanings closer to Rush than Dream Theater, the band’s been independently releasing their own material since 1994, the most recent of which being 2010’s THE PROBLEM OF PAIN: PART 2. As the title indicates, the album is a continuation of its predecessor and tells the biblical story of Job, a regular Joe who, as the story goes, went through some pretty significant tests of faith at the hands of the big man upstairs. It’s an interesting premise for a concept album, and while the band readily identifies themselves as Christians, they’re wary of the stigma that comes with being labeled a “Christian Metal” band and prefer that the music be allowed to speak for itself. That being said, THE PROBLEM OF PAIN: PART 2 is a relatively mellow prog-rock platter that’s not without its faults, but has enough uniquely refreshing moments to merit repeated listens.
The album feels like it owes a great debt of inspiration to the aforementioned Rush; from the vocal delivery of singer Tony Massaro, to the overall dreamy and atmospheric presentation of the music. That’s not a bad thing, but cards on the table y’know? TPOP2 starts out adventurously enough with the 10-minute “Job’s Lament.” The tune travels a long road from start to finish, incorporating hazy keyboards, psychedelic space out runs, acoustic interludes, and some rocking ascension, all elements that carry over throughout the duration of the album. From there things get a little sketchy, teetering between ambient laid back mood music to more straightforward rockers. The tunes themselves are enjoyable enough, but I kept feeling that the overall vibe of the album just felt a little inconsistent. Some of the tracks taste like filler, while others have some definite panache.
The boys get their second wind towards the end of the album. “God Speaks” has some dark and doomy riffs interlaced with some subtler lines amidst a background of thunder and tolling bells, while “Restoration” closes things in positively charged, anthemic fashion. At the end of the day, there’s certainly more good than not on TPOP 2. The production is wide and airy and adds to the overall tone of the songs. Little nuances like the resonance of nylon guitar strings stand out in the mix and help to create the musical textures of the album. If I had read torman maxt’s bio prior to listening to THE PROBLEM OF PAIN: PART 2, I might have been swayed by my own musical preconceptions and passed it by. But I’m glad I didn’t, I ended up pleasantly surprised. If you’re up for some hard rock that might be a little out of your comfort zone, check out torman maxt’s website for more info.