Poor John! CRIMSON fans want him to be more proggy, UK fans demand from him to be more foggy, HEEP fans ask him to be more rocky and ASIA fans would like to see him more cocky. So what? The new album would be a gift not for aforementioned categories but for Wetton admirers. And the album is very good - even without bonus tracks included on the Japanese variant entitled "Welcome To Heaven", the only low point being the CD duration. No fillers though, just the songs to enjoy.
From the intro lines of "Heart Of Darkness" one can assume "Sinister" tends to be melancholic as "ArkAngel". But no, it's a work of a man who gets his kicks just of living. The song comes with powerful arresting chorus in the ASIA vein - a top-notch pop rock carving a niche in your ears and in your mind for some good days. Jim Vallance and John keep all the instrumental duties for themselves leaving John Mitchell of Wetton's touring band to play guitar solo, good but not as bouncing as piano part. What's upsetting is that there's none of that pumping bass which holds a melody in itself, a trademark now down in the mix. "Say It Ain't So" appears a typical Wetton tune, simple and joyful, yet a little pompous. "No Ordinary Miracle" starts not unlike "Emma", with 12-string strumming, but develops into mighty McCartney-esque ballad, highly pleasant given a full band treatment with Jim Peterik and Martin Orford on board.
Song titles never were John's strong point but they serve good to sing along to. "Where Do We Go From Here" is no exclusion - especially with drive and acoustic guitar that keep up this not so memorable tune, which seems designed to contrast with "E-Scape", a short instrumental co-written and played by Wetton, Robert Fripp and Ian McDonald. The three worked together for the first time since 1974's "Red". Nothing special to Fripp's soundscape drone while McDonald's flute sings extremely beautiful - well, as usual. Wetton plays keyboards on that one so it's closer to Fripp's solo stuff.
And at last here's a great drumming on the album (the one of "Say It Ain't So" just irritating) with certain Greg Bisonett coming in for "Another Twist Of The Knife". Those cymbals are fantastic, complimenting Dick Wagner's guitar licks. Yes, the same Dick who worked with Alice Cooper. Uptempo piece that makes you dance - surely, a stage favourite. John's singing comes so jaunty, one doesn't pay attention to akward rhymes he came up with. All the JADIS sans John Jowitt lend their hands for piano-driven ballad "Silently", co-written with Rod Stewart's cohort Kevin Savigar and, thus, a bit mawkish - fortunately, the arrangement makes the tune sound more progressive.
John Young makes a cameo appearance to perform "Before Your Eyes" he had a hand in writing. Melodically it reminds of HEEP's "Wise Man" and if not for Orford's flute the song could be weak. More prog to "Second Best" featuring David Cassidy and Sue Shiffrin, who worked with Wetton before. Quite a familiar tune full of John's cliches, isn't it? So treat yourself with, maybe, the most awaited collaboration - "Real World" that John compose with one and only Billy Shears, Ringo Starr. Wetton never hid his passion for THE BEATLES and here he plays the best Macca he can, leaving Lennon's role to Steve Hackett, who once again lets his harmonica shine. There's only two of them and that's enough. Songs not enough for hungry fan though, so why not give "Sinister" one more spin?