|Musical Style: Theater Rock||Produced By: Jimmy P. Brown II|
|Record Label: Retroactive||Country Of Origin: USA|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website: Jupiter VI|
|Tracks: 12||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 50:28|
Jupiter VI, the new theater rock project of Deliverance founder and front man Jimmy P. Brown II, came into being when the late Carl Crandell asked Brown if he wanted to record a straightforward rock album. Initially balking at the idea, Brown reconsidered when he woke up one morning with the concept of Jupiter VI in his head. He immediately began work on the storyline behind the project and soon came up with Back From Mars, the 2006 full length Retroactive debut from Jupiter VI that is loosely based around the life of Brown and his early experiences with Deliverance and the Christian music scene.
What we have in Jupiter VI is a 70’s glam-punk influenced sound that can best be described as equal parts rock n’ roll, equal parts pop-wave and equal parts modern but always resting upon a foundation of classic rock and edgy hard rock. Drawing upon the influences of Diamond Dogs, David Bowie, Lou Reed, T-Rex and Daniel Amos, Jupiter VI finds its members assuming “fake names” due to the fact the whole idea behind Back From Mars is a story based upon real events. Brown (aka Peter Braun) brings his trademark deep, low-key and at times mood-filled vocal delivery, a style he has refined over the years since introducing it on Deliverance’s early to mid-nineties released Stay Of Execution and Learn. Braun shares all the albums guitar duties with Helmet Stegel and Remedios Innocentes (you’ve got to love these names!) while Darby Flowers fills in on piano and keyboards. Innocentes also handles bass and anchors the albums low end with drummer Spirios Filios.
Production values come across clear and crisp in betraying no overriding elements of muddiness.
Kicking in to a drum solo followed by a raucous riff, the albums title track tapers off at the start of its first verse only to regain its momentum for a rollicking chorus backed by a crunchy rhythm guitar. A fervid guitar solo brings out the best in a song that in the end asks questions:
The world in love with misery
Consumed with lust for nothing
Religious freaks in search for something
Tired from sitting in chairs all day
Young kids at 13 going gray
Is there nothing left for anyone to say?
Is there nothing left at all?
“The Human Endeavor” gets underway to a choppy riff before trading off between passages carried by Braun’s spoken word delivery and those shored up by a quietly played guitar line. As the song gains initiative, it moves on to a melancholic chorus interwoven with a voice continually repeating the word “welcome”. “The Human Endeavor” takes an introspective look at humanity:
I go down to the street at night and look at the mess that we’ve made
The human figures so eloquently create the cascade
Swirls of light all around me, as I speak words that create my being
How far we have come when all are standing so still
Our greatest achievement was when we first learned to kill
The lush but haunting “Mimes XIII.II” comes across in the form of a semi-ballad. A lofty setting is put in place as the song is compelled its distance by a serene blend of acoustic and rhythm guitar, the abundant melody only enhanced as Braun complements the scene with his deep and stirring vocal delivery. Definitely one of the albums highlights.
“Corporate Stiff” is a good, straightforward hard rocker. The song takes off in quickly moving fashion, slowing slightly at the start of its first verse only to make an even transition to a smooth sounding chorus giving rise to a pleasing melodic feel. I enjoy how “Corporate Stiff” closes out its final minute to a guitar driven instrumental section. As its title implies, the song warns its listeners not to turn into, well, a corporate stiff:
Welcome to the race in which no one wins!
If you sign your life over, we might let you in
The quest taken is for the good of the firm
In this find yourself King or the worm
And today your short climb up will be your last
Don’t wear the mask or evil disguise
Don’t let yourself be made into the stiff!
The corporate stiff…
The groove flavored hard rock of “From Here Till Ever” swiftly charges through its verse portions with the rhythm guitar crashing in and out of the mix. Gaining further impetus, the song peaks as it acquires a catchy chorus driven at a determined and upbeat tempo.
“Passions” advances over its first two minutes alternating between acoustic laced passages and others fortified by a crisp rhythm guitar. The refined chorus that follows puts in place a flowing but disconsolate ambience. “Passions” talks about exactly that:
Communication at the height of the sweep
The source the touch the note that causes us to weep
Without a single spoken word, enveloped ecstasy
Lifts me to my feet, so deep within me
Whispering sighs, the covering around
The flurried rush of emotions tied to sound
A surge of swiftly moving rhythm guitar commences “In A World Of…” before it slows upon acquiring its first verse. Driven ahead with a plethora of gritty fortitude, the lost momentum is regained as the song reaches an emotionally charged chorus holding up as a result of the sweeping manner in which it is delivered.
Peter Braun and company do a good job imprinting the edgy classic rock feel that Jupiter VI brings to the table on the cover of The Kinks classic “All Day And All Of The Night”. The bands performance comes across quite tight here, helping the song retain the pop flavored vibe and radio friendly feel characteristic to the original.
“Through The Speakers”, the second cover in a row, is another classic that made its original appearance on Daniel Amos’ 1981 effort Alarma!. This one, of course, gives rise to a more hard rocking setting as a crisp rhythm guitar shoulders it from front to back. The presence of synthesizers during its instrumental section reflects a pop-wave influence as well.
The stunning ballad “Lucidia” is by far the albums strongest composition. Opening slowly to a quietly played guitar line, an almost ethereal atmosphere is put in place as the song gradually moves forward to Braun’s low-key vocal delivery. The poignant scene is sustained throughout an immaculate chorus highlighted by a haunting trace of backing vocals. An emotional guitar solo shores up a sweeping instrumental section. I enjoy the introspective feel to the lyrics here:
Of all the wreckage deep within
Buried thoughts, my empty sins
Though it seems like yesterday
It was such a long time ago
At times I hear you calling me again
All this time I left you there, Lucidia…
“Brand New Day”, another slowly moving and laid back composition, is accentuated by a smooth sounding blend of rhythm guitar and pronounced bass lines. Similar to “Lucidia” and “Mimes XIII.II”, the overall feeling I get is one that is sublime but emotional at the same time.
A German version of the albums title track, “Zurich Von Mars”, closes things out in very fine hard rocking fashion.
Track Listing: “Back From Mars” (3:14), “The Human Endeavor” (4:07), “Mimes XIII.II” (5:34), “Corporate Still” (4:53), “From Here Till Ever” (4:41), “Passions” (4:55), “In A World Of…” 5:27), “All Day And All Of The Night” (2:28), “Through The Speakers (Alien Synth Mix)” (2:58), “Lucidia” (5:10), “Brand New Day” (3:42), “Zurich Von Mars” (3:14)
Peter Braun – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Helmet Stegel – Guitars
Darby Flowers – Piano & Keyboards
Remedios Innocentes – Bass
Spirios Filios – Drums
Also Reviewed: Deliverance – Deliverance, Deliverance – Weapons Of Our Warfare, Deliverance - Stay Of Execution, Deliverance - River Disturbance, Deliverance – Assimilation, Deliverance - As Above - So Below, Deliverance - The First Four Years, Deliverance - Greetings Of Death, Fearful Symmetry – This Sad Veil Of Tears, Various Artists – California Metal
Tinker, John. “Jimmy Brown.” Heaven’s Metal (66): 10-11 & 14.