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Prism - 1979 Armageddon



ARTIST: Prism
ALBUM: Armageddon
LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12051
YEAR: 1979
CD REISSUE: 1996, EMI Canada, E2-077777-26712-2-6

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Ron Tabak - vocals * Lindsay Mitchell - guitars, backing vocals * John Hall - keyboards, backing vocals * Allen Harlow - bass, backing vocals * Rocket Norton - drums

Guests: Jim Vallance - bass, keyboards, drums, guitar * Bryan Adams - rhythm guitar * David Sinclair - guitars * Nancy Nash - backing vocals * Peter Bjerring - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Comin' Home * 02 Jealousy * 03 Virigina * 04 You Walked Away Again * 05 Take It Or Leave It * 06 Armageddon * 07 Night To Remember * 08 Mirror Man

WEBLINKS: www.prism.ca


Background
It's widely considered to be Prism's best album. Third studio LP 'Armageddon' follows two solid efforts (both reviewed here), and it would eventually sell double platinum in Canada (200,000 units), though it would be on the back of outside songwriting help and a strained internal working relationship between the band's two principals: John Hall and Lindsay Mitchell. There's no doubting Prism were onto something in terms of a recipe, but with so many budding chefs in the kitchen, there's only so much room you can fit around the kitchen bench. Jim Vallance, formerly known as Rodney Higgs and a previous band member at one point, pitches in with musical and songwriting assistance, while other songwriting credits go to Bryan Adams while session assistance is provided by Straight Lines alumni David Sinclair, female solo artist Nancy Nash, keyboardist Peter Bjerring and producer Bruce Fairbairn.


The Songs
Within my review of 'See Forever Eyes', I mentioned the passing comparison to Indiana faves Roadmaster. I get that impression again on this album too. You hear this as soon as we navigate through the opener 'Comin' Home'. The Bryan Adams co-write with Lindsay Mitchell 'Jealousy' is next up. A near pomp/pop gem, with its quaint keyboard lines and totally 80's style. 'You Walked Away Again' is another in that aforementioned Roadmaster zone, whilst 'Virginia' dabbles in a milder climate. The Jim Vallance penned 'Take It Or Leave It' sounds like a reasonable tune, even if he himself thought it was rather average. We're getting down to the last three tracks, and this is where things really start ramping up. The end-of-the-world orientation of 'Armageddon' starts out with patriotic stirrings played in a pompous style, and at nearly 8 minutes, it's the longest track here. This track is probably the most politically motivated song they've ever written, and with all the war thematics going on in the background, you wonder what the lyrical inspiration was? 'Night To Remember' is considered to be one of Prism's best ballads, a bit lighter than lite admittedly, sort of like Styx during this same period. 'Mirror Man' provides the finale, and it's one of the best tracks on the album. I used to see this song listed in the Sounds Magazine Import Charts back in 1979, now I know why..


In Summary
As Eric pointed out in his 'Young And The Restless' review, Prism scored big on a number of fronts, releasing three singles, having Bruce Fairbairn win a Juno for producer of the year, and Mitchell's 'Night To Remember' picking up a SOCAN Award. That album, releasing the year after this, saw a gradual shift to power pop and new wave styles, a move which in hindsight didin't really suit them. Still, this album would probably be the pick of the bunch for most Prism fans. Because of the petty internal politics, we definitely didn't see the 'true-best' of this band, as I'm pretty certain they could've released some stellar material if they could've only kept the egos in check.


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Comments
#1 | Nick C on July 13 2012 11:12:39
I always wondered about the attraction of Night to Remember, what is viewed as one of the best songs by Prism is my least favourite by a looooong stretch and for that reason only I rate Armageddon inferior to Young and Restless and even maybe See Forever Eyes. I just find the song too twee and cheesy and its a flaw in what otherwise is a great album, but then that's just old minority me. Grin
#2 | Eric on July 16 2012 13:53:38
This is a great album and I remember 'Virginia' getting a lot of air play at the time. Love that BTO-ish chug-a-luggin' riff.
#3 | RobLynott on July 17 2012 13:10:28
Agree with Nick C - Night to remember is my least favourite tune on this album by a country mile. Apart from that this is great stuff!
 
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