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The Problem of Pain: Part 1 
Artist: Torman Maxt 
Label: Mars Hill 
Length: 13 tracks / 38:02 min 

The problem with The Problem of Pain, a two-part concept album about the trials of Job, is that this is just Part 1.  But Torman Maxt has given us just enough to make it worth the wait until next year for the second half.

The music sounds like a mix of progressive and classic rock influences with occasional vocal harmonies and ambient fills.

The band stands out mostly due to the unique, pleasant voice of vocalist/guitarist Tony Massano (one of the three brothers who comprise the band; Dominic plays bass and keys while Vincent drums).  It has a quivering, late-‘60s psychedelic feel.  Think Shannon Hoon (Blind Melon) without the whine.  High, congested with a guttural undertone, but not the least bit punk.

The album is a bit repetitive as Job, Job’s wife, the angels, and Satan each have their own theme music, which gets tweaked a bit from song to song.

One can hear a bit of The Who, Rush (the Vapor Trails album in particular, although The Problem of Pain: Part 1 is said to have been inspired in part by 2112), Boston and Southern rock solos in Job.  Job’s Wife reminds the listener of Stavesacre’s Mark Salomon.  (One can only hope Job’s wife didn’t look like him.)  The Angels get the acoustic ‘70s praise band feel.  But relatively speaking, the Devil “has all the good music” here.

 Satan’s songs, characterized by minimalism, dischord and prog metal licks, could almost be considered a Christian version of Rush’s classic "Cygnus X-1."

Let’s hope Part 2 is a worthy pairing with this one.

Dan Singleton 
August 20, 2007