Jacob's Dream - _Theatre of War_
(Metal Blade, 2001)
by: Alvin Wee (
After the band's astounding major-label debut last year, one would've thought Jacob's Dream capable of producing more than the mediocre rehashing of passe ideas that _ToW_ turns out to be. While the self-titled disc could be forgiven for its considerably derivative nature, this sophomore effort (discounting the elusive demo-MCD) lapses into directionless banter and strained operatics on the part of Geoff Tate-soundalike David Taylor. Mellow rather than melancholy, the Queensryche worship plods along at a tedious pace, livened up by the occasional flashes of melodic brilliance characteristic of their earlier material. Ballads are evidently a strong point, and the emotionally-charged "Sarah Williams" puts the debut's "Mad House of Cain" to shame. The sheer forgettable nature of the rest of the material places the band alongside nearly-made-it power/prog wannabes like Avalon; the hints of greatness peeking through at times can prove infuriating to a listener familiar with the promising first album. Still, it must be said that _ToW_ is more of a disappointment than a complete disaster; with the rash of sub-standard, post-HammerFall Eurometal, _ToW_ looks rather good in comparison.
(article published 1/14/2002)
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