A Soundtrack For The Wheel Of Time
Magna Carta Records, 2001
REVIEW BY: Duke Egbert
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/11/2001
After you've been doing this for a while, you start watching for certain signs when you listen to a new CD. For example, it's a good sign when after one listening a song sticks in your head and will not let go. Conversely, it's a bad sign when after five listenings, you still have to peer at the CD track display in puzzlement, trying to determine just what you're listening to. I'm afraid that A Soundtrack To The Wheel Of Time, the new work from Tempest producer Robert Berry, is born under a bad sign.
To be fair, this CD was working under a slight disadvantage to begin with. I haven't read Robert Jordan's infinitology "Wheel of Time", and I have no plans to do so until he stops writing them and I can read them all at once. (I'm weird that way.) This means I don't get some of the references, I'm sure but I've reviewed soundtracks where I haven't seen the movie, so I can manage, I suppose. But I am faced here with a quandary. Robert Berry has written and performed a serviceable piece of Celtic-tinged rock that is nonetheless almost completely unremarkable. There's nothing bad about Wheel Of Time. There are even a few good points; "Winespring Reel" is a jaunty enough tune, "The Aiel Approach" is a haunting, rich melody, and Lisa Bouchelle's vocals on "Ladies Of The Tower" are excellent, crystalline and very well sung. But the unalterable fact remains that other than those three tracks, nothing stuck in my head, even after repeated listenings. Wheel seems to be the musical equivalent of Cream of Wheat; perhaps it's substantial and well made, but it still takes bland to almost fatal levels.
I hate writing reviews like this, as I've enjoyed Berry's work with Tempest. But, unfortunately, Wheel can only be recommended for hard-core Robert Jordan fans.