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Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel (4 -

PETER GABRIEL (4 - "SECURITY" OR "MASK")

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

3.92 | 422 ratings

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JLocke
Prog Reviewer
4 stars SECURITY (As it was referred to by my father) was the very first Peter Gabriel album I ever heard, and is still one of my favorites, if not the very favorite. Some things to not about it: I was unaware until very recently that Tony Levin was the bass player on the record, but that is a definate plus, but also when I first heard the record, I had no idea what progressive rock was or even what Gabriel's sub- genre, ''Crossover rock'' meant. All I knew was that it was one of the most original-sounding musica; works I had ever heard. Peter Gabriel was called a 'musical genious' by my uncle, who is also a big fan of his, and I have to say I agree with him. Especially for an 80s era album, it was daring to do something that went against the grain of traditional 'hit' recordings of the time, what with all of the african influences clearly present here, as well as the electronica side of things which were used in a way that did not date them, unlike many of the other 80s records were. Certainly, there are moments that are a little more 'poppy' than others, but overall this album is a wonderful example of what true progressive music is all about, as it is very eclectic and doesn't really seem to hold to any given genre.

''The Rhythm Of The Heat'' starts out with a very unusual percussion beat, and already, because of the booming, echoing quality of this album's production, I feel like I am in a distant country away from everything I know to be familiar, and then Gabriel comes in with a cry, followed by big booming drums (The percussion plays a huge role all throughout this record, which helps push the African influence to the forefront), Gabriel then delivers the first lyrics heard on the record: ''Looking out the window, I see the red dust clear, high upon the red rock stands a shadow with a spear . . . ''. The world music feel on this effort is very strong, and there are many different types of instruments incoorperated to make this amazing eclectic effort somehow work. Whenever Peter yells out ''The rhythm has my soul!'', I get the chills. To tell you the truth, it is very difficult for me to determine exactly what instrument is getting what result in terms of the unusual sounds to be found here, but I suppose that is a good thing, because it really gives the record an otherwordly feel to it all, and it is like this for the entire album (Abliet a few exceptions here and there). Soon a wall of sound is produced from continuous, ferocious drumming, and then the song ends instantly.

''San Jacinto'' - Wow, what an amazing track! I can hardly begin to describe how the intro to this song makes me feel every time I hear it. Possibly some sort of african or otherwise foreign bells are being rung as alongside some really dream-like keyboard playing from Gabriel (the latter is often hard to make out unless you are listening through the headphones, but it is there). I truly wish that I had a wider knowledge of world instruments, as I would love to know how these wonderful sounds were created, but sadly my education musically stops at rock instruments. Anyway, as I was saying, the opening of this track is great, and then when Gabriel begins to sing the hauntingly beautiful first verse, I melt away every time. The man has possibly the most amazing singing voice in prog history, and this song surely proves that. After a few bars, the drums come in, as prominent as ever. I would also like to mention how wonderfully layered this song is, as by this point there is so much stuff going on that all contibutes to the completel-ness of it, even if it is hard to make out one specific part, if one were to be taken out of the equation, it would completely change the sound of the song. So yes, the layers of this album are very complex and beautifully done, nothing feels like too much or unnecessary, it just all seems to fit. Eventually, Gabriel sings out the words ''I hold the line!'' while a powerful guitar chord rings triumphantly in the background, and it gives this track a form of majesty that truly makes me very emotional each time I listen to it. The song seemingly ends, but then instead of switching to the next track, another lovely section is introduced which seems to feature many different sorts of flutes playing in the background as Gabriel sings the final few verses. At this point the song does indeed end, leaving me aching to hear more.

''I Have The Touch'' - This is the first straightforward song on the record, with a much more 'produced' and 'electronic' feel to it, but it still has this punch to it that keeps it from heing simply another pop tune. And as always, a powerful vocal performance from Peter. Keyboard, synth percussion and guitar play a fairly big part on the track from what I can hear, and it is the first song that doesn't feel as open as the others, and the mood is ultimately a big 'brighter', where as with the previous two songs the emotion I felt as I listened was a mellow, slightly dark emotion. This song has a much more bouncy edge to it that would appeal to more general listeners. I am especially fond of the breakdown near the song's end where Gabriel repeats ''I need contact!'' over and over in a very hard hitting statement. Once again, the blistering drumwork comes in to finish the song with a bang.

''The Family and the Fishing Net'' - Ah, gee, well . . . this song doesn't really do much for me, and is mainly the reason why this record didn't get a full five stars from me. It just seems to have no direction for the longest time, and doesn't begin to get even slightly catchy until the 03:17 mark, and while prog music doesn't necessarily have to be catchy to be good, the more obscure parts of this song don't have any effect on me at all, good or bad. It's just mediocre. But then again, that is just my opinion. However, if you want to scare your kids to death you could always crank this song up in their headphones and send them off to bed, but other than that nothing really that amusing will come of this track. Near the edn of it all, it does tend to get a bit cheerful in it's tone, but the light at the end of the tunnel is introduced too late to really redeem this track for me. I mean, sitting through six-and-a-half minutes for thirty seconds of genuine enjoyment seems rather pointless to me. Anyway, this track is the one that gets skipped over when I play this album generally.

''Shock The Monkey'' - The first Peter Gabriel song I ever heard in my life, and I think had it been any other song from this album, I would not have enjoyed it, but because it was the most radio-friendly song, it appealed to a six-year-old, who got hours and hours of enjoyment out of simply repeating the same track over and over again. Again a more electronic song in nature, the beat is fairly fast-paced, and the rhythm, melody and instruments used make it a very enjoyable song even for more elitists among the prog crowd. The section that remains my favorite is the moment when we hear the soaring guitar chords ringing out in the distance as Gabriel (or is it Peter Hammill?) gruffly barks ''SHOCK!'' repeatedly. The song ends fairly abruptly, making way for the album's 'epic', ''Lay Your Hands on Me''

''Lay Your Hands on Me'' - Amazing, amazing, amazing! We hear an ambience created by keys, then suddenly the drums come booming in, setting the stage for a very epic, evolving journey. Gabriel does some dramatic spoken word work here, which preceeds a very uplifting build of many different instruments which creates a truly overwhelming sense of granduer. We then get a small taste of the song's chorus, before everything receeds to start over once again. We then hear some flute work, followed by more powerfull percussion. This incredibly uplifting drum beat continues throughout the second buildup, which then leads into the full-blown main themse of the song, where Gabriel sings out ''I am ready! I am willing! I believe!, accompanied by backing vocals which shout out the song's title in an almost chant-like unison. Truly powerfull stuff. I may not be exactly sure what this song is about, but all I know it is uplifts my spirits considerably whenever it is played, and has even brought me to tears before, because it is so beautiful. Gabriel's incredible voice leads the way in this march of hope and power. A drum breakdown then follows, which is accompanied once again by the goregous chanting of 'Lay your hands on me!'. This goes on until the song's abrupt, but powerful end.

''Wallflower'' - This begins with one of the most beautiful flute melodies I have ever heard, and sets the tone for this very calm, personal track which shows the softer side of everything, including Gabriel's vocals, which act as a sort of lullaby for the listener. A very hopefull note is made with his ''Hold on'' lyric, which he re-iterates over and over again. More or less, each verse in the song is the same, yet each tie he repeats it, the song gets bigger, more hopefull and more powerful. Ah, the drums! Once again they help give the track a very uplifting power with their continuous playing, and some great piano work is also present here. The flute also makes a reprise before track's end. ''And I will do what I can do!'' he yells at the very end, finishing up the last really good song on the album.

''Kiss Of Life'' - Not a bad song by any means, but certainly the most out of place. Everything about makes me think of party music. I'm waiting for someone to start doing the hokey-pokey or limbo, or something. The lyrics are actually pretty funny in this song, whether that was intended or not, and the only really enjoyable melody is the chorus: ''Burning, burning, burning with the kiss of life!''. Like I say, certainly not a bad song, just not very good compared to everything that preceeded it. This is my second-least-favorite, beaten only by ''The Family and the Fishing Net''. On the bright side, this is the most straightforward song in terms of being able to hear the more traditional instruments.

All in all, ''Security'' is a truly amazing piece of work, with only two weak songs on the entire thing. That deserved four stars, I believe, especialy when you consider all the other trash that is out there in the prog world. Absolutely an excellent addition to anyone's collection, but no, not essential. However, I do think it is a great introduction to Gabriel's solo work, but that may only be because I heard it first. If all you want is Genesis, you won't like this, but if you wanna hear what else Gabriel can do, try this out, you may just find you like his solo stuff much better than anything Genesis ever did.

JLocke | 4/5 |

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