Vertigo 2 Frontiers Records
Produced By: Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi

Running Time: 39.39

Release Date: Out Now


Musical Style: AOR

Links: Frontiers
Songs: 92%
Sound: 80%
Joseph Williams returns to his Vertigo project for an encore performance, with the Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi production machine in tow.
Former Toto vocalist Joseph Williams has a golden set of pipes and AOR fans welcome any release with open arms, as they don't come along too often.
The debut Vertigo release was one of my favourite albums of 2003. Vertigo 2 is in many ways, a little brother to that of the debut. Most facets of the original have been reproduced here, which will be pleasing news to those that were looking forward to a follow-up; however it falls short on matching the brilliance of that first record.
This is an album of very enjoyable classic AOR featuring a selection of hand picked songs that are designed to impact with the listener instantly.
This is a chorus driven record every track has a punchy, instantly recognizable chorus and one song flows to the next in quick fashion.
For that reason, I felt familiar with this album from the outset and I felt like I knew it well after just the second listen. I generally prefer albums to grow on me, but for those looking to get straight to the chorus, this album delivers in spades.
Overall I have to say that it is another very welcomed release from Williams and certainly slots into his catalogue of albums very nicely. It is extremely catchy and the songs seems perfectly suited to his voice.
The opening half of the record feels like a greatest hits record one great chorus after another In The Blink Of An Eye, All For You, Hold Me and Part Of Me are all similar in tempo and style and all feature a strong chorus.
Hold Me being the stand out of these opening tracks the subtle chorus breaking into a great chorus makes it an instant winner.
The slightly more laid back Holy, which appears mid-album, is perhaps my favourite of all Williams really owns this track.
The big ballad of the album is Save It All For Me, which I believe will be a fan favourite from the record.
At the same time as I sit back and enjoy the record for what it is, a few nagging doubts linger. Something isn't sitting quite right here.
Perhaps it is the production - I began to grow tied of the V.Zee Grossi sound a year or so back. Too many releases in two short a time span and most of them sound very similar. That same issue is present here his take on how the overall album and in particular how the guitars sound is not something I love. On top of that - I think the production here is far less polished than the debut and in places it almost feels rushed.
And the songs that comprise Vertigo 2 are all very similar. The pacing and the tempo at which the album flows is pretty slick and before you know it, you are mid-way through the album and then it's over. At 39 minutes, the album could have used another big ballad and another mid-tempo track to round it out.
I love uptempo albums but a balance must be struck in order to give the record the best and most even flow.
The last nagging doubt is the vocals of Mr. Williams. Perhaps it is the rushed nature of the record which I mentioned earlier, but he sounds a lot rougher than 3 years back and has a much raspier take on this record. At times I felt like he was shouting his way through some of the parts.
I must comment about the lyrical or spiritual connection between the songs on this album. It seems Joseph has chosen songs with a stronger spiritual connection and several contain openly Christian references, none better or more obvious than the closing track There's A Reason. A truly fine track and once again, a track you can just tell Joseph believes in.
The Bottom Line
Weighing up the positive with the negative leaves me with more positives and I'm happy to endorse this album as a must-buy for fans of the debut and of Joseph Williams. It is a very catchy slice of classic style AOR and for that reason it will attract some great reviews and a lot of fan favor.
But it could have been a tighter ship with a few changes and doesn't quite match the brilliance of the debut.
Discography / Previously Reviewed
Joseph Williams
I Am Alive
Two Of Us

Line Up:
Joseph Williams: Vocals, Piano
Alex Masi: Guitars
Virgil Donati: Drums
Fabrizio V.Zee Grossi: Bass, Keyboards

Essential For Fans Of:
Joseph Williams
Track Listing
In The Blink of An Eye *
All For You
Hold Me *
Part Of Me
Holy *
I Wanna Live Forever
Save It All For Me *
Picking Up The Pieces
Together (Good-Bye So Long)
There's A Reason

--*Best Tracks

18/07/06: wiljan Vriens -
Rating: 90
jOSEPH WILLIAMS i bow and wave my hand!!! WOW he's the best of not the better than who to come.
The guy has a voice out of thousands and love every bit of this release, even is it involves covers!!
Holy by NICOLE NORDEMAN is great, prodution wise joseph version comes a bit cheap but the vocals make it a ten!!
In the blink of an eye is really great too!!
The cover of VONRay 'PArt of me' still is good though the guitar sounds a little bad, but then again the vocals make it a 10+

Hope to see more of joseph's singing!!!


07/07/06: Zok -
Rating: 85
I must admit that I gave this record a to low rate, this is a great melodic rock album. But the only bad thing about this record is the production, and that is a thing that bothers me pretty much. This is not good when the songs is great and good vocals from Joseph. But check this out.(its not often that I change a rate)

30/06/06: rene hughes -
Rating: 89
Please, don't be put off by the negative comments about the production on this CD - you can and should buy this release from Joseph Williams with alacrity. JW is one of only a handful of top-drawer singer/musician/songwriter's around today and as such, his incredible talent deserves to be heard, often!

The music business being what it is, it has become increasingly hard for musicians of this calibre to release new music without selling a kidney or least favoured offspring, so let's not begrudge the fact that millions are not available to spend on superior production values. From the comments, I was expecting something atrocious and it's really not that bad, not that far removed from Vertigo. You won't think "wow, fantastic sound" but neither will you think it is quite that bad.

Those special and superior vocals are well worth it! JW has a magnificent voice and sounds as good as ever -ignore comments about a raspy voice, that is nonsense -remember that as we get older the timbre of our voices changes a little - no point comparing the vocals on Fahrenheit (TOTO) with a release 20 odd years later and expecting them to be the same - but still just as good, if not better.

If the choice is mediocre production values versus no new music from Mr. Williams (which will be the case if you don't buy this CD) then I have no doubts about my preference. If we all support this release, and it is a good AOR based CD, albeit, I imagine on a budget, then JW can continue to afford and be inspired to make more music and that has to be a good thing -and maybe one day he will again be able to benefit from a million dollar advance to make another classic, we all know he can.

I am willing to help that come true by supporting this CD -I hope you will be too?

23/06/06: IAN -
Rating: 60
Only 60% because although the song's are good the production is terrible Fabrizio V.ZEE Grossi should give his fee back for this mess . Shame really could and should have been so much better.

22/06/06: Zok -
Rating: 75
The second realease of Vertigo is much weaker than the debut. Sad it could have been great.

20/06/06: Schwede -
Rating: 70
I play Vertigo 2 alongside Toto's FiB. Toto spoiled me ! Part of me wants more of the inspired thoughtfulness Joseph contributes on Toto's "Bottom of your soul", hence the rushed feeling I also get from V2's boilerplate 10 songs at an average 4 minutes each. I can't get over the feeling and knowledge that it's mostly a studio band with a singer's overdubs ! Although Joseph had more participation in this effort, I know that he can write and compose.

Therefore, my request of Joseph is the same as it was with Toto: please make a band record; with Joseph's full commitment and participation.

In the blink of an eye
Hold me

19/06/06: Tim Robertson -
Rating: 45
A very generous review. This is a million miles from the debut VERTIGO release, in terms of tunes/songwriting & performances also. But especially in terms of production. This just sounds horrible, the rhythm section is hopelessly tinny & the keyboards are so low in the mix their inaudible. Williams himself also sounds raspy & not as fired-up as on the debut - whether that's the production or his own performance only he will know.

Tracks 2 & 9 are both excellent, & would probably fit comfortably on the debut VERTIGO, but the rest is a little tired sounding. These songs are just not of the same quality as the first album, & the whole listening experience is not very enjoyable. One of the real low-points in an otherwise excellent Frontiers catalogue.


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