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FM - Metropolis


Jez
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The time is nearly here for the mighty FM and their comeback album 'Metropolis' on 29th March. It is released on the bands own Riff City Records and from all the soundbytes I've heard, this is pretty much a mixture of old and new, so is gonna be pretty much a no brainer for all existing FM fans. Definitely for me, one of the highlights this year is gonna bring.

 

 

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Looking forward to this. I was actually listening to 'Wildside' just yesterday and to be honest it's kind of done it's dash with me, but hoping for some great stuff on this new CD.

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To be honest I haven't had chance to play "Wildside", but I'm pretty excited by this. Has anyone heard any of this?

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To be honest I haven't had chance to play "Wildside", but I'm pretty excited by this. Has anyone heard any of this?

 

 

The title track from the EP. is really good and there are soundbytes for all songs on Amazon Tim. Only 30 odd seconds of each though unfortunately.

 

 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Metropolis-FM/dp/B...1791&sr=8-1

 

 

By the way - If you order direct from the band, you should get this 10 days or so before the official release date.

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  • 1 month later...

So, this is definitely back to their AOR sound again. The keys, the big harmonies, the great lead-guitar work, etc. Which is nice. I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless. 2. It all just bores me really. The songs are good (outside a couple of horrible fillers), it's all undoubtedly well-played but they do seem to rely on a very similar chorus-structure for every song - which gets boring. Also after playing the new TREAT by way of comparison this all just sounds a bit flat with no major standout track. Especially opener "Wildside", which is very weak IMO. It just needs more inspiration, and to me sounds more like just-another LADDER or OVERLAND disc than a big return to form from FM...

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So, this is definitely back to their AOR sound again. The keys, the big harmonies, the great lead-guitar work, etc. Which is nice. I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless. 2. It all just bores me really. The songs are good (outside a couple of horrible fillers), it's all undoubtedly well-played but they do seem to rely on a very similar chorus-structure for every song - which gets boring. Also after playing the new TREAT by way of comparison this all just sounds a bit flat with no major standout track. Especially opener "Wildside", which is very weak IMO. It just needs more inspiration, and to me sounds more like just-another LADDER or OVERLAND disc than a big return to form from FM...

 

Unfortunatly I think your right with your review :crying:

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So, this is definitely back to their AOR sound again. The keys, the big harmonies, the great lead-guitar work, etc. Which is nice. I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless. 2. It all just bores me really. The songs are good (outside a couple of horrible fillers), it's all undoubtedly well-played but they do seem to rely on a very similar chorus-structure for every song - which gets boring. Also after playing the new TREAT by way of comparison this all just sounds a bit flat with no major standout track. Especially opener "Wildside", which is very weak IMO. It just needs more inspiration, and to me sounds more like just-another LADDER or OVERLAND disc than a big return to form from FM...

 

Unfortunatly I think your right with your review :crying:

 

They bored the pants off me at FF last year as well. So safe.

 

The soundbites didnt fill me with glee I must admit.

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So, this is definitely back to their AOR sound again. The keys, the big harmonies, the great lead-guitar work, etc. Which is nice. I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless. 2. It all just bores me really. The songs are good (outside a couple of horrible fillers), it's all undoubtedly well-played but they do seem to rely on a very similar chorus-structure for every song - which gets boring. Also after playing the new TREAT by way of comparison this all just sounds a bit flat with no major standout track. Especially opener "Wildside", which is very weak IMO. It just needs more inspiration, and to me sounds more like just-another LADDER or OVERLAND disc than a big return to form from FM...

 

Unfortunatly I think your right with your review :crying:

 

They bored the pants off me at FF last year as well. So safe.

 

The soundbites didnt fill me with glee I must admit.

 

Yeah, 'safe' is a good word. Don't get me wrong, there is some killer solo'ing and vocals (as usual) on here. Plus the overall consistency is very high with hardly any filler. It's just that they repeat the same chorus on several songs, and no one tune really rises above the rest on here to stand-out. No doubt fans of the band from "Indiscreet" will be praising this one to the hills, but personally I'd rather hear another Shadowman album (like the first one) than something this lightweight.

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Wow Tim, could honestly not disagree with you more on your production comments. Seriously, it would not be possible. :lol: Soundwise, this sounds amazing. The production and musicianship (as you say, some great solos) are the highlights. It's an average album, but right off the bat there is an easy fix. Immediately someone should have cut 'Flamingo Road', 'I don't need nothing' and 'The extra mile', all of which are terrible fillers. Without them wasting space you'd be down to 10 tracks, which are not too bad.

 

I have to admit I was under the wrong impression of what this album would be. I was expecting melodic rock, hoping to see the band shed the terrible bluesy side they incorporated into their style, which in my opinion ruined them. But it's not to be. This is about 60/40 bluesy rock/melodic rock and it pisses me off quite frankly. The bluesy stuff is just soooo ridiculously bland and boring.

 

Anyway, I actually have a track by track after my original spin:

 

1. Wildside ; this is not an awful song, but the plain fact of the matter is there is no chorus to speak of. Poor opener because it doesn't pull the listener in at all.

2. Hollow ; wonderful surprise. This starts out really mellow and you just think 'Oh no, not already' but it is totally saved by, in my opinion, the best chorus on the CD. Overall, I actually really like this song and would probably call it the album highlight.

3. Unbreakable ; very standard almost Overland-ish track, but not too bad at all. Another mellow number.

4. Flamingo Road ; FILLER! Bad stuff and a genuine filler. Poor bluesy number.

5. Metropolis ; Good atmospheric intro and big intro chorus leads you to believe this will be great... before it turns into some boppy blues number and all but swallows the decent chorus. A real pity, this one.

6. Over You ; strong enough chorus, but more slow blues. Just bland.

7. Days Gone By ; and another one. More bluesy stuff with lyrics of a failed career (because of songs like this?) but it does have a cool chorus. Though Tim is right, many sound similar.

8. Bring Back Yesterday ; Good mid-tempo melodic rocker and the closest thing to something off the 'Tough it out' album here. This will be a fave, no doubt, as it's about the first time they actually sound alive on the CD. :lol:

9. I Ain't the One ; another good sounding tune, but unfortunately this one has a really weak chorus. It's actually a real shame because this should have been another of the album's highlights. And it is, but should have been better.

10. I Don't Need Nothing ; Crap. Total filler. Bad blues.

11. The Extra Mile ; Disaster. The wheels fall off again with another slow bluesy number which is unadulterated filler material.

12. Who'll Stop the Rain ; Excellent! Why the hell is there not more of this? Great melodic rocker with great verses and killer chorus. Love this song. What could have been...

13. Still the Fight Goes On ; clocking in at 7:10min is an initial concern, but to be totally honest this is in the top 4 songs on the CD. Good, solid and big ballad. Very nice closer.

 

And there you have it. Overall, very disappointed. I just wasn't expecting the blues attack at all. I thought it was going to be melodic rock.

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I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless.

 

Just spinning this now mate for the first time, and to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production /mix and vocal level on this disc at all to my ears. I am usually one of the first to moan about the sound/production of an album, but i've got it booming out of my system now and it sounds really excellent.

 

I'll report back on the songs when i have heard them all a bit more, but I will say that 'Who Will Stop The Rain' is a corker for starters.

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I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless.

 

Just spinning this now mate for the first time, and to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production /mix and vocal level on this disc at all to my ears. I am usually one of the first to moan about the sound/production of an album, but i've got it booming out of my system now and it sounds really excellent.

Yeah, sorry Tim. Do you have an actual final recording CD advance, or have you got some pre-release demos or something, before the final mix? Because I really can't even begin to pretend to know what you're speaking of about the poor production. :)

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Wow Tim, could honestly not disagree with you more on your production comments. Seriously, it would not be possible. :lol: Soundwise, this sounds amazing. The production and musicianship (as you say, some great solos) are the highlights. It's an average album, but right off the bat there is an easy fix. Immediately someone should have cut 'Flamingo Road', 'I don't need nothing' and 'The extra mile', all of which are terrible fillers. Without them wasting space you'd be down to 10 tracks, which are not too bad.

 

I have to admit I was under the wrong impression of what this album would be. I was expecting melodic rock, hoping to see the band shed the terrible bluesy side they incorporated into their style, which in my opinion ruined them. But it's not to be. This is about 60/40 bluesy rock/melodic rock and it pisses me off quite frankly. The bluesy stuff is just soooo ridiculously bland and boring.

 

Anyway, I actually have a track by track after my original spin:

 

1. Wildside ; this is not an awful song, but the plain fact of the matter is there is no chorus to speak of. Poor opener because it doesn't pull the listener in at all.

2. Hollow ; wonderful surprise. This starts out really mellow and you just think 'Oh no, not already' but it is totally saved by, in my opinion, the best chorus on the CD. Overall, I actually really like this song and would probably call it the album highlight.

3. Unbreakable ; very standard almost Overland-ish track, but not too bad at all. Another mellow number.

4. Flamingo Road ; FILLER! Bad stuff and a genuine filler. Poor bluesy number.

5. Metropolis ; Good atmospheric intro and big intro chorus leads you to believe this will be great... before it turns into some boppy blues number and all but swallows the decent chorus. A real pity, this one.

6. Over You ; strong enough chorus, but more slow blues. Just bland.

7. Days Gone By ; and another one. More bluesy stuff with lyrics of a failed career (because of songs like this?) but it does have a cool chorus. Though Tim is right, many sound similar.

8. Bring Back Yesterday ; Good mid-tempo melodic rocker and the closest thing to something off the 'Tough it out' album here. This will be a fave, no doubt, as it's about the first time they actually sound alive on the CD. :lol:

9. I Ain't the One ; another good sounding tune, but unfortunately this one has a really weak chorus. It's actually a real shame because this should have been another of the album's highlights. And it is, but should have been better.

10. I Don't Need Nothing ; Crap. Total filler. Bad blues.

11. The Extra Mile ; Disaster. The wheels fall off again with another slow bluesy number which is unadulterated filler material.

12. Who'll Stop the Rain ; Excellent! Why the hell is there not more of this? Great melodic rocker with great verses and killer chorus. Love this song. What could have been...

13. Still the Fight Goes On ; clocking in at 7:10min is an initial concern, but to be totally honest this is in the top 4 songs on the CD. Good, solid and big ballad. Very nice closer.

 

And there you have it. Overall, very disappointed. I just wasn't expecting the blues attack at all. I thought it was going to be melodic rock.

 

I'll get back to you on the track by track stuff, but I thought most people new that this was going to be a mix of the old and the more rootsy sound of the later stuff. That seems to be the problem with FM nowadays, people keep expecting them to do another 'Tough It Out', which ain't ever gonna happen to be honest and in their defence, I wouldn't expect them to either in this day and age. Aswell as the more AOR stuff, they do the more Rootsy Melodic rock sound well and it suits Steve's vocal superbly well, so for me personally, I like a good mix of the two.

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I'll get back to you on the track by track stuff, but I thought most people new that this was going to be a mix of the old and the more rootsy sound of the later stuff. That seems to be the problem with FM nowadays, people keep expecting them to do another 'Tough It Out', which ain't ever gonna happen to be honest and in their defence, I wouldn't expect them to either in this day and age. Aswell as the more AOR stuff, they do the more Rootsy Melodic rock sound well and it suits Steve's vocal superbly well, so for me personally, I like a good mix of the two.

Yeah mate, I should add that I only thought it would be a melodic rock album out of some kind of personal hope I'd created myself, but it wasn't actually based on any facts I'd seen. To be honest, I only saw a couple of comments (pretty much whatever was written here on this forum) on this release and just let my mind do the rest about what it should be. :lol: I don't expect 'Tough it Out II' at all and I'm sure you're not alone in liking the bluesy side of the band, but for me it ruined them back in 1991 and for me personally it has just never suited them. Maybe I'm just old-fashioned. :(;)

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I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless.

 

Just spinning this now mate for the first time, and to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production /mix and vocal level on this disc at all to my ears. I am usually one of the first to moan about the sound/production of an album, but i've got it booming out of my system now and it sounds really excellent.

Yeah, sorry Tim. Do you have an actual final recording CD advance, or have you got some pre-release demos or something, before the final mix? Because I really can't even begin to pretend to know what you're speaking of about the poor production. :)

 

So the only way this could possibly be called a good-sounding album is if you only buy Frontiers (or modern AOR/MHR albums) - by which standards it's pretty okay. By anyone else's standards, in 2010, this is a gutless-sounding poorly-mixed disaster. Not suggesting I'd like it a ton more if it sounded as punchy as "Tough It Out" - but it shouldn't be too hard to better the sound quality of a 20 year-old album. Seriously, why can't people record albums properly these days, when studio techniques ought to be so much better? I listen to this back-to-back with STORY OF THE YEAR or TREAT's new albums & they totally blow it away (sound-wise). Outside of this, I pretty much agree with Geoff's rundown of the tracks above - apart from "Wildside" which I really dislike...

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I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless.

 

Just spinning this now mate for the first time, and to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production /mix and vocal level on this disc at all to my ears. I am usually one of the first to moan about the sound/production of an album, but i've got it booming out of my system now and it sounds really excellent.

Yeah, sorry Tim. Do you have an actual final recording CD advance, or have you got some pre-release demos or something, before the final mix? Because I really can't even begin to pretend to know what you're speaking of about the poor production. :)

 

So the only way this could possibly be called a good-sounding album is if you only buy Frontiers (or modern AOR/MHR albums) - by which standards it's pretty okay. By anyone else's standards, in 2010, this is a gutless-sounding poorly-mixed disaster. Not suggesting I'd like it a ton more if it sounded as punchy as "Tough It Out" - but it shouldn't be too hard to better the sound quality of a 20 year-old album. Seriously, why can't people record albums properly these days, when studio techniques ought to be so much better? I listen to this back-to-back with STORY OF THE YEAR or TREAT's new albums & they totally blow it away (sound-wise). Outside of this, I pretty much agree with Geoff's rundown of the tracks above - apart from "Wildside" which I really dislike...

 

Comparing this to the 'Slick' sound that Treat are after is a little unfair in my book, two completely different bands, with completely different sounds. As I said, the big production sound of 'Tough It Out' is well gone and I think for the style of music FM are doing nowadays, the more stripped back sound on 'Metropolis' is very good, and suits them well. Calling this a gutless, poorly mixed disaster, is rather over the top & I think you are being way to harsh on this one to be honest. To each their own and all that old boy ;)

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I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless.

 

Just spinning this now mate for the first time, and to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production /mix and vocal level on this disc at all to my ears. I am usually one of the first to moan about the sound/production of an album, but i've got it booming out of my system now and it sounds really excellent.

Yeah, sorry Tim. Do you have an actual final recording CD advance, or have you got some pre-release demos or something, before the final mix? Because I really can't even begin to pretend to know what you're speaking of about the poor production. :)

 

So the only way this could possibly be called a good-sounding album is if you only buy Frontiers (or modern AOR/MHR albums) - by which standards it's pretty okay. By anyone else's standards, in 2010, this is a gutless-sounding poorly-mixed disaster. Not suggesting I'd like it a ton more if it sounded as punchy as "Tough It Out" - but it shouldn't be too hard to better the sound quality of a 20 year-old album. Seriously, why can't people record albums properly these days, when studio techniques ought to be so much better? I listen to this back-to-back with STORY OF THE YEAR or TREAT's new albums & they totally blow it away (sound-wise). Outside of this, I pretty much agree with Geoff's rundown of the tracks above - apart from "Wildside" which I really dislike...

 

Comparing this to the 'Slick' sound that Treat are after is a little unfair in my book, two completely different bands, with completely different sounds. As I said, the big production sound of 'Tough It Out' is well gone and I think for the style of music FM are doing nowadays, the more stripped back sound on 'Metropolis' is very good, and suits them well. Calling this a gutless, poorly mixed disaster, is rather over the top & I think you are being way to harsh on this one to be honest. To each their own and all that old boy ;)

 

Well I only compare it with the Treat album because that one sounds a million times better than this one. And yes, I played this last night again & stick to the view the production properly sucks. I could've stood in the studio and recorded it on my mobile phone and you would've heard the vocals/guitar clearer than you do on the finished CD. After all the hype this is a pretty disappointing 5/10 disc IMO.

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I only really have two issues with this album: 1. The production/mix is terrible. The vocs are barely audible, and the whole thing sounds gutless.

 

Just spinning this now mate for the first time, and to be honest, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the production /mix and vocal level on this disc at all to my ears. I am usually one of the first to moan about the sound/production of an album, but i've got it booming out of my system now and it sounds really excellent.

Yeah, sorry Tim. Do you have an actual final recording CD advance, or have you got some pre-release demos or something, before the final mix? Because I really can't even begin to pretend to know what you're speaking of about the poor production. :)

 

So the only way this could possibly be called a good-sounding album is if you only buy Frontiers (or modern AOR/MHR albums) - by which standards it's pretty okay. By anyone else's standards, in 2010, this is a gutless-sounding poorly-mixed disaster. Not suggesting I'd like it a ton more if it sounded as punchy as "Tough It Out" - but it shouldn't be too hard to better the sound quality of a 20 year-old album. Seriously, why can't people record albums properly these days, when studio techniques ought to be so much better? I listen to this back-to-back with STORY OF THE YEAR or TREAT's new albums & they totally blow it away (sound-wise). Outside of this, I pretty much agree with Geoff's rundown of the tracks above - apart from "Wildside" which I really dislike...

 

Comparing this to the 'Slick' sound that Treat are after is a little unfair in my book, two completely different bands, with completely different sounds. As I said, the big production sound of 'Tough It Out' is well gone and I think for the style of music FM are doing nowadays, the more stripped back sound on 'Metropolis' is very good, and suits them well. Calling this a gutless, poorly mixed disaster, is rather over the top & I think you are being way to harsh on this one to be honest. To each their own and all that old boy ;)

 

Well I only compare it with the Treat album because that one sounds a million times better than this one. And yes, I played this last night again & stick to the view the production properly sucks. I could've stood in the studio and recorded it on my mobile phone and you would've heard the vocals/guitar clearer than you do on the finished CD. After all the hype this is a pretty disappointing 5/10 disc IMO.

 

As I said, to each their own mate. I must be hearing a different album to your good self ;)

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Ok - Span this all last night at work and some today, so here is my little run down of the said tome. I must admit that this has really got alot better each subsequent spin and for me there are only a couple of fillers on here and even those aren't too bad. The blues keeps being mentinoned alot and although this does have a bluesy element to the sound say ala Bad Co.(always a bands name that crops up with latter day FM stuff), it isn't outright blues at all on any track, so don't let that word put you off. As has been mentioned, a mix of the old'ish sound ala 'Aphrodesiac', although nowhere near the sound of 'Indiscreet' or 'Tough It Out' at all so don't be expecting any of that.

 

1. Wildside - Really quite like this. Had it on the EP. for a few months, so have gotten very used to it. Good groove, slightly tougher sound for FM, but a good one. I like the break, followed by a return to the main riff at the end. Good song

 

2. Hollow - Good tune and one of the albums stronger tracks, Good verse and excellent chorus. Love Steve's vocal on here

 

3. Unbreakable - Nothing outstanding, but I really like the chorus on this and was humming it when I woke up this afternoon. A standard, well written FM song, without being mindblowing

 

4. Flamingo Road - The first weak link, although it certainly isn't terrible, I am inclined to use the 'Filler' word but only just.

 

5. Metropolis - A short 1.30 intro that segues into 'Over You'. Nice keys, atmospheric bluesy guitar = good.

 

6. Over You - Nice punchy song, good chorus as Geoff said.

 

7. Days Gone By - Good solid FM ballad - Great Vocal.

 

8. Bring Back Yesterday - Excellent mid tempo song and an album highlight. Great chorus on this one

 

9. I Ain't The One - VERY 'Reckless' era Bryan Adams on the main riff and chorus, atmospheric keys and more of the AOR of the mid period FM. Great song and another album highlight.

 

10. Don't Need Nothin' - Pretty average FM this one. Not bad, but nothing that really stands out.

 

11. The Extra Mile - Quite like this one, slow and bluesy with a nice chorus and good solo. Good Overland vocal again.

 

12. Who'll Stop The Rain - Great song and probably the third best on the album. Again more AOR'ish than some of the others, but it has a great chorus

 

13. Still The Fight Goes On - Nice slow burning ballad. Maybe a little long at over 7 minutes, but a good finish to the album

 

So I make that 2 fillers out of 13 tracks, with maybe a couple of others not exactly setting the pulse racing too much, but over the course of a nearly 70 minute disc, I'd say that's good value. As I said, this has got stronger and stronger on each subsequent spins and I am really liking this alot, much much better in fact than the last few FM releases like 'Dead Mans Shoes', 'Paraphernalia' and some of 'Aphrodisiac and 'Taking It To The Streets'. It has a good, beefy production, without making it too 'sweet and smooth' which suits the present FM sound very well and I will keep on saying it, but Steve Overland really is one of the best vocalists this country has ever produced period.

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Too lazy to do a track by track rundown like you guys but I thought this album was very strong overall.

In regards to production, I'm not going to fault this disc. It sounds just like a FM album should be.

As far as the songs go, I'd say maybe three average sounding songs and rest is quite nice. Highlights for me are:

 

Bring Back Yesterday

Days Gone By

Who'll Stop The Rain

I Ain't The One (Jez is spot on about the Bryan Adams comparison here)

Hollow

Still The Fight Goes On

 

Overall I'm very happy with the album and would be keen to hear more of this from them in the future.

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So the only way this could possibly be called a good-sounding album is if you only buy Frontiers (or modern AOR/MHR albums) - by which standards it's pretty okay. By anyone else's standards, in 2010, this is a gutless-sounding poorly-mixed disaster. Not suggesting I'd like it a ton more if it sounded as punchy as "Tough It Out" - but it shouldn't be too hard to better the sound quality of a 20 year-old album. Seriously, why can't people record albums properly these days, when studio techniques ought to be so much better? I listen to this back-to-back with STORY OF THE YEAR or TREAT's new albums & they totally blow it away (sound-wise). Outside of this, I pretty much agree with Geoff's rundown of the tracks above - apart from "Wildside" which I really dislike...

 

I have to agree with you completely on this. This CD is definitely a casualty of loudness war. As far as audio quality goes, it sounds awful. I spent as much time playing with the EQ as I did listening to the disc - just attempting to minimize the distortion.

 

It's a real shame too, because this CD has some otherwise really good material on it.

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So the only way this could possibly be called a good-sounding album is if you only buy Frontiers (or modern AOR/MHR albums) - by which standards it's pretty okay. By anyone else's standards, in 2010, this is a gutless-sounding poorly-mixed disaster. Not suggesting I'd like it a ton more if it sounded as punchy as "Tough It Out" - but it shouldn't be too hard to better the sound quality of a 20 year-old album. Seriously, why can't people record albums properly these days, when studio techniques ought to be so much better? I listen to this back-to-back with STORY OF THE YEAR or TREAT's new albums & they totally blow it away (sound-wise). Outside of this, I pretty much agree with Geoff's rundown of the tracks above - apart from "Wildside" which I really dislike...

 

I have to agree with you completely on this. This CD is definitely a casualty of loudness war. As far as audio quality goes, it sounds awful. I spent as much time playing with the EQ as I did listening to the disc - just attempting to minimize the distortion.

 

It's a real shame too, because this CD has some otherwise really good material on it.

Wow, you guys are absolute freaks! :lol: Would hate to hear your thoughts on a CD that was actually poorly produced. ;)

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