That the music industry today is in a state of turmoil is an understatement to say the least. As piracy continues to rise, labels are attempting to counter by signing an increased number of artists hoping to recoup some of the money that they have lost. Unfortunately, the vast majority of bands being signed and distributed are considerably lacking in the talent department. So when an artist comes along that demonstrates nothing but innovative ingenuity one definitely takes notice. I do believe that the greatness contained on The Chosen Few is a direct result of the seasoned musicians that make up Worldview.
Helmed by veteran Deliverance and Recon guitarist George Rene Ochoa, Worldview is a band that encompasses the heart and spirit of melodic metal with a genuine penchant towards the progressive element. Sonically they could easily hold their own with any number of metal bands in the vein of Kamelot, Angra, Queensrÿche, and Primal Fear to name just a few, but surprisingly they maintain an identity all their own. Joining Ochoa on this illustrious journey is former Sacred Warrior frontman Rey Parra, ex-Recon drummer Johnny Gonzales and newcomer Todd Libby on bass.
My initial reaction to hearing The Chosen Few was that it holds traditional sensibilities while maintaining a truly modern enthusiasm. Meaty riffs, soaring vocals, and an ultra melodic competency are at the very core of this album. Here's the rundown. The opening track "Mortality" is a medium paced offering that sets the stage for all that will follow. I've always been a huge fan of keyboard and piano accenting which is prominent throughout the CD. Also included is the addition of eastern sounding instrumentation both in the percussive realm and strings, a move that came totally unexpected and which provides an immediate fascination amid the backdrop of distorted guitars and driving rhythms. "Illusion of Love" is set at a slightly quicker pace and begins with a rhythmic crunch of guitar followed by some subtle vocal growls in the chorus that give a greater dimension to the song. If you're looking for speed or shred in this release you won't find it however, this is as solid an offering as one could expect and the ultra melodic landscape is par for the course. The soft sounding violin at the beginning of "Back in Time" is a fake out as the song quickly breaks into a steady rocking piece that has a somber introspective ambience to it. Every song on the album is super-charged with emotion and conveys the hope, anguish and pain of life at every turn. The drudge of "The Mirror" is abruptly interrupted going into the solo which sends the song into a lightning fast chase before returning to its anchored groove. Shifting things once again is another medium paced work of genius called "Why?" which contains some beautifully arranged elements. "Prisoner of Pain" is forcefully powerful and delivers a somewhat faster tempo and is probably the most progressive addition to the CD. There are some very cool advances in the song and while it may have been a bit of a joke on the bands part, the Zeppelin background vocals ala the "Immigrant Song" actually work very well in this instance. Perhaps my favorite song comes via "Two Wonders", which just seems to have it all, a catchy chorus a dynamic pulse and the most amazing transition going into the solo that I think I've ever heard. Easily moved to tears with this one. It too contains a more progressive outlet. "Walk Through The Fire" is a gritty sounding little monster that simply exudes the Heavy Metal mentality. Drummer Johnny Gonzales is a master at pounding out the tunes on this album and he really stands out on this song. The title track of "The Chosen Few" is much to my astonishment a ballad and one that is extremely potent! This is my second favorite on the album and I don't think I will ever grow tired of listening to it. It is so ridiculously passionate it makes my head spin. This is Rey Parra's tour de force in my humble opinion and he is still modest enough to share the spotlight with Bloodgood frontman Les Carlsen who guests on the bridge and delivers an equally stellar performance. The final cut of the album is a great rock tune called "The Last Cry" which is every bit the grand finale you would expect from this highly impressive release. I truly appreciate the diversity in instrumentation which also includes points of acoustic and classical guitar. Truly, truly I say to you this album has it all! Additional guest appearances include the talents of Oz Fox [Stryper] – Lead guitar on "Back in Time" (2nd lead), Larry Farkas [ex. Vengeance Rising] – Lead guitar on "Prisoner of Pain" (1st lead) Jimmy P Brown II [Deliverance] - BGV on "The Mirror" (2nd and 3rd chorus) Ronson Webster - Keyboards, Background Vocals, Armand Melnbardis [Rob Rock] - Piano on "The Chosen Few", Violin on "Back in Time" and Niki Bente - Female vocals on "The Chosen Few."
The lyrical themes accompanying each and every Worldview song are heartfelt and deal with anything and everything from the finiteness of man, the hurts and regrets of everyday life struggles, loss and gain and the love of God. I have to say that this has become my favorite album of 2015 and it's going to be tough to beat The Chosen Few. The production by Ochoa is outstanding and the mixing and mastering talents of industry legend Bill Metoyer (Slayer, W.A.S.P., Tourniquet, Armored Saint) are truly superb. Those that know me, know I can be a pretty tough critic, so from the depths of my soul I encourage you to get this album, you won't be sorry.