"Gathering of the Faithful" (Manifest; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Depending on whom you ask, I have either the benefit or the detriment of not hearing Shark Island's first and only other studio recording, 1989's "Law of the Order." That album has developed a certain cult status and its continued popularity (especially in Europe) led to the band re-forming after over a decade and a half and recording "Gathering of the Faithful."

Those who tell me it's unfortunate that I never heard the band's first CD tell me that it was a Sunset Strip rock'n'roll album in the style of early Van Halen and Motley Crue. They say the new album doesn't have the same edge or the same dynamics as the original album and that "Gathering of the Faithful" doesn't live up to the band's debut. 

I have to admit, I've never heard "Law of the Order" so I can't compare it to the new CD. And, at $20 or better on eBay or Amazon, I'm not likely to hear it anytime soon.

Then there are those who tell me that it's better I never heard Shark Island's first CD. They tell me that I would have put too much emphasis on what the band sounded like fifteen years ago and not let the new album live and breathe on its own. They tell me to experience "Gathering of the Faithful" as an album all its own and, as I have never heard "Law of the Order," that's really the only way I can listen to the new CD. And you know what? I kinda like it! 

Interestingly, this band (Shark Island) remind me of another band named after chondrichthyes - and that's Great White. Like the best of Great White's stuff, "Gathering of the Faithful" is bluesy rock that saunters along at its own pace, kicking it the pace occasionally, but -- for the most part -- delivering a smooth hard rock performance on its own terms. 

Yes, there are moments when it gets a little too slow but, thankfully, they're few and far between and the album is fairly well paced. Overall, however, "Gathering of the Faithful" is a entertaining return by a band that perhaps you've never heard of but ... if you're a fan of the era ... might be worth looking into.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2007 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Sep 2022 13:46:21 -0400.