More Than Ever
Local composer and prog-rock mastermind Johnny Newman may have outdone himself when he hired metal veterans Yanic Bercier and Steve DiGiorgio to perform on his new album, More Than Ever. Drummer Bercier and bassist DiGiorgio are top-notch hired guns with decades of professional experience (DiGiorgio has played with Death, Testament, and Iced Earth), and their rhythm-section performances here are as good as could be expected. The trouble is that their instrumental chops outstrip Newman's Dream Theater- and Trans Siberian Orchestra-influenced compositions, his melodramatic synth riffs, and his classically inspired guitar riffs. Newman is capable, but he is caged by a dated symphonic art-rock sensibility that often values chops and pomp over human-scale emotion and craft.