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06 Mar 2015 - 12:04:39 pm

TOTO - Toto XIV [Japanese Edition Blu-Spec CD2] (2015)

TOTO - Toto XIV [Japanese Edition Blu-Spec CD2] (2015) full

AOR Gods TOTO are about to release their first studio record in nine years entitled "TOTO XIV" through Frontiers Music next March 20th, but we have to preview this Japanese Edition exclusively featured on a high quality Blu-Spec CD2 format including a bonus track.

Every long-hoped-for return from a legacy band brings with it the thorny issue of expectations. They must, alternatively, sound like themselves — and like something brand new. 
It’s an almost impossible proposition, but one that Toto deftly pulls off with this awesome "XIV".
In some ways, it couldn't have been more surprising, and not just because David Paich, Steve Lukather and Steve Porcaro have been together, off and on, since the 1970s. Or that their last meaningful work with returning frontman Joseph Williams dates back '80s.
It’s in the way they've come together, along with a group including founding bassist David Hungate, long-time recording partner Michael McDonald, new drummer Keith Carlock and others, to pull this off.

After the first listen, you get the impression Lukather is the main driving force behind “XIV” as it is more of a guitar based album than previous Toto ones, his playing is a lot sharper, more inventive and clearly taking time out to release his solo album Transition seems to have worked wonders.
"Running Out Of Time" is a real strong opening Melodic Rock track, with Lukather’s terrific guitar playing all over painting beautiful colours.
"Burn" is a ballad with glorious keyboard sections and heavenly melodies, while "Holy War" heads back into Melodic Hard Rock territory with a driving drum rhythm from Keith Carlock and some Lukather nasty riffs.
"21st Century Blues" again has Steve’s guitar as the main focal point, but is closely matched by some seriously cool sax playing from Tom Scott.
Written by Joseph Williams, "Orphan" begins as a touching ballad, before becoming more heartfelt with a hard edge verse, then dropping a tasteful sing a long chorus.

"Unknown Soldier" has an epic feel with more than a hint of melodic prog running through it, this is what Toto do best, layered textures with the blending of different musical styles to create a unique sound.
"Little Things" is a delicate vocal midtempo tune that could have very easily been on Fahrenheit or The Seventh One albums. AOR to be in paradise.
You have more variation on "Chinatown", a peach of a track pulling in influences from jazz-rock and blues, very reminiscent of ‘Toto IV’ era, while "All The Tears That Shine"’ as you may have guessed from the title is a delightful ballad, with a deeply passionate vocal performance from Williams plus great harmonies.

Let's rock again with the chopped guitar riff based rocker "Fortune", a killer track with a massive chorus and a hell of a guitar solo.
As always, Toto are not afraid to take their chances and stretch their songwriting abilities, and this can be heard in spades on "Great Expectations" which at almost seven minutes long has enough intricate guitar work, symphonic, progressive instrumental passages to keep even Classic Prog fans happy.

Toto return with one of their best albums yet.
Let's put it clear: Toto is one of the greatest bands in Rock history, no matter the genre. They are unique, and "XIV" proves that this bunch of super-talented musicians are constantly testing themselves pushing the musical boundaries.
By so doing, "XIV" has escaped the sense of embalmed valedictory that often surrounds such enterprises. 
Instead, Toto has produced a visceral, entirely present return, one that acknowledges their best moments even as it builds upon them.
MANDATORY purchase.


KING RECORDS JAPAN ~ KICP-1724
TOTO XIV ~聖剣の絆【通常盤】(Blu-spec CD2仕様)

01. Running Out of Time
02. Burn
03. Holy War
04. 21st Century
05. Orphan
06. Unknown Soldier (for Jeffrey)
07. The Little Things
08. Chinatown
09. All The Tears That
10. Fortune
11. Great Expectations
12. Bend (Japanese bonus track)

Steve Lukather - vocals, guitars, bass
Joseph Williams - lead vocals
David Paich - vocals, keyboards
Steve Porcaro - vocals, keyboards
Keith Carlock - drums
additional musicians:
David Hungate - bass on tracks 4, 7, 8
Tal Wilkenfeld - bass on tracks 9, 10
Leland Sklar - bass on track 2, 3
Tim Lefebvre – bass on track 1
Lenny Castro - percussion
Martin Tillman - cello
Tom Scott – sax
CJ Vanston – additional synths, production
Michael McDonald – background vocals
Amy Keys – background vocals
Mabvuto Carpenter – background vocals
Jamie Savko – background vocals
Amy Wlliams – background vocals
.
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