Album: Ponder The Mystery
Label: Cleopatra Records
Review: Diego Camargo
Thoughts: William Shatner is widely known for his role in Star Trek as Captain James Tiberius Kirk. Some people don’t know, but he also recorded numerous albums throughout his career, among which is his seventh one Ponder The Mystery (2013).
However, if I say HIS album, it may sound too much. In fact, Ponder The Mystery (2013) is a solo album by Billy Sherwood (Yes, Yoso, Circa).
Last year Shatner worked with Billy on one of his projects and the idea was put into practice in 2013.
Ponder The Mystery (2013) is a solo album by Billy Sherwood with Shatner using his voice to recite his own ‘poems’. Billy plays EVERYTHING on the album, drums, guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals, he also wrote all the songs and produced the disc. Then he called a bunch of various different musicians (as a mirror of his previous album) as guest musicians. Pretty much every one of the 15 songs on the album has a special guest.
Some songs on the album like ‘Where It’s Gone… I Don’t Know' and ‘Rhythm Of The Night’ are quite good and ‘ponder’ about many topics, especially Shatner’s fear of death. On the other hand, some of them like ‘So Am I’, ‘Sunset’, ‘Twilight’, ‘Where Does The Time Go’ and ‘Alive’ are so silly, as if a teenager wrote them, not a guy over 80 years old.
The music is all the same: soft, full of effects on every single instrument and sound, and what’s worst with a very repetitive formula of intro/Shatner speaks/Sherwood sings chorus/guest solo/chorus/etc.
Most of the time the guests are buried under the production, even Steve Vai on ‘Ponder The Mystery’.
Al Di Meola was able to surface with his guitar on ‘So Am I’, Rick Wakeman print his characteristic sound on ‘Change’. Nik Turner (from Hawkwind) does his job on ‘Rhythm Of The Night’ too. Some of the guests were able to print their sound on the tracks, but it just doesn’t work like in ‘Alive’ with Zoot Horn Rollo.
But pretty much Billy ruins the songs every time he fills our ears with layers and layers of his own vocals!
As I mentioned, this is a Billy Sherwood solo album with Shatner as a guest, although Shatner’s name is on the cover of the album (for commercial reasons, obviously). It’s a weak album for hardcore Sherwood fans only.
Ponder The Mystery (2013) is been sold as a Shatner Prog album, but that’s not the truth. His name is being used and he’s also using the opportunity too! At least the album (released by Cleopatra Records in last October) comes in a very nice digipack.
The band was included in our Podcast #29 and you can listen 'Rhythm Of The Night' HERE.