I couldn´t believe my eyes when I heard about Journey reuniting for yet another album in 1996 and this time with the awesome Escape/Frontiers line up of Steve Perry, Neal Schon, Jonathan Cain, Ross Valory and Steve Smith. A long 10 years had passed since Raised on radio but I was still riding on the wave from Steve Perry´s 1994 solo album For the love of strange medicine. You could say Perry´s voice is like fine wine, it gets better with age. They got their first Grammy nomination for the no.1 hit song "When you love a woman" which features one of Perry´s best vocal performance ever. I just love this video to death!
The band rocks hard on songs like "One more" and "Castles burning" and also deliver brilliant AOR tracks such as "Forever in blue", "If he should break your heart" and "Message of love". Beautiful songs like "Colours of the spirit" and the title track "Trial by fire" are among my favorite tracks from this album but I also think the more progressive "Can´t tame the lion" is a true highlight that bring thoughts to Frontiers. This album is almost a masterpiece, if it wouldn´t be for the lengthy album of 15 tracks with a few too many ballads and Shirley´s production that I´m not a big fan of. But it´s certainly a Journey classic if you simply look at the 10 golden tracks Message of love, One more, When you love a woman, If he should break your heart, Forever in blue, Castles burning, Colours of the spirit, Trial by fire, Can´t tame the lion, I can see it in your eyes.
Unfortunately this was Journey´s last album with Steve Perry, they moved on with Steve Augeri and returned to one word album titles like Arrival, Generations and Revelation with current frontman Arnel Pineda. Trial by fire is Journey´s last classic album. Without Perry, some of the magic is lost I´m afraid.