Band: Darryl Way
CD Title: Underworld
Label: Independent Release (2017)
Rating: Intriguing 2/5
When you’ve been around the music world as long as someone like Darryl Way has, I guess it’s quite natural to look back at what you’ve done and see if perhaps there’s something you haven’t attempted to do. If I’m reading the promo material correctly this, more or less, was Way’s rational for creating Underworld, a rock opera. Having created music that explored the worlds of mythology Way has taken many of those tropes and placed them in a contemporary setting that deals with, again referring to the promo material, “sex, drugs and rock and roll, but not necessarily in that order.” The album actually comes in two versions, one which is just the eighteen songs in the order they appear in the musical and the other which is set up in “act” form and incorporates the entire story dialog. In many respects this is quite a “tour-de-force” featuring eight different vocalists, a narrator and while Way handles the violin and keyboards he has the assistance of players on guitar and drums. All in all it’s a BIG production. As expected, when you call something a “rock opera” you expect a cast of characters who come and go singing their way through the plot and that certainly happens here. The music supporting the vocals is at times dramatic and even over-the-top. I will tell you this is not my favoriteDarryl Way album, not by a long shot. Mostly I think because the tunes that populate this story are so basic and ordinary. Now I guess it’s meant to be that way since we are supposed to be listening to the story, that’s what you do with an opera, even if it’s a rock-opera. But I wasn’t grabbed by the story and I had trouble sitting through the various acts because the music and the songs seemed plain. It is an intriguing release, intriguing because I really can’t think of what I’d have done differently in this scenario. That said it just wasn’t my cup of tea. However for those of you who like rock operas and this sort of thing, Darryl Way’s Underworld could be a very satisfying listen.