After a ten-year hiatus, Journey returned to recording in 1996 with Trial by Fire, an album that sounds as if no time had passed between it and the band's last album, Raised on Radio. Journey have been completely unaffected by any trend in popular music, whether it's hair metal, hip-hop, or alternative rock and, frankly, they're the better for it. Trial by Fire delivers exactly what any Journey fan wants -- anthemic rockers and sweeping power ballads. Steve Perry sounds as powerful as ever, while Neal Schon's accomplished guitar licks remain as tasty as ever. The songwriting, as before, is slightly hit-and-miss, with singles like "When You Love a Woman" and "Message of Love" standing out from the handful of mediocre album tracks. Which means, if you've enjoyed Journey in the past, you're certain to enjoy the best moments of Trial by Fire, but if their arena rock and radio-ready ballads have never agreed with you, the album will not change your mind.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine