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Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation CD (album) cover

FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.59 | 767 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
2 stars Review 8, From Genesis To Revelation, Genesis, 1968 StarStar

A rather weak album, in my opinion: a load of pop songs, none of which are very compulsive, and the few flashes of excellence are soon obscured by massed string/horn parts and appalling choruses. However, it's occasionally good for background music, and, apart from The Conqueror, I wouldn't consider any of the tracks irritating. The concept in itself is feebly done (producer Jonathan King's fault, since he suggested it) and the lyrics vary from terrible to passable. I prefer a couple of the stringless mixes to those included on the album, and the original 'She Is Beautiful' floors the reworked version 'In The Beginning'.

Where The Sour Turns To Sweet has a fairly nice melody and vocals, but the lyrics are a little poor, and for no real reason, the end result doesn't make a real impression. The string and horn overdubs here are generally tolerable.

In The Beginning begins with a promising chaotic sound into a bass part into a song dragged down by the poor sound quality and slightly pretentious lyrics. I like the components, but the recording isn't very clear, and you can't really hear anything except Gabriel properly: Rutherford and Philips are good musicians (at least, they are later), but it seems that here, as on the rest of the album, they can't be heard properly.

Fireside Song goes on too long with too little variation, and the lyrics are pretty ineffectual. Gabriel's unsteady voice and the whiny strings do nothing to alleviate this. However, the starting piano theme is passable, and the acoustic parts are sometimes good. The end result is dull and cheesy, sadly.

The Serpent starts off quite well with a sort of hollow drumming thing and excellent acoustics and a decent bluesy rocking guitar part, then it moves to a rework of what was originally 'She Is Beautiful', not bad, with a decent bass part and bits of organ if you listen hard enough, as well as good electrics, and enjoyable drumming, but the vocal harmonies (aaaa) (aaaa) (aaaa) everywhere really make it difficult to listen to the music, and the lyrics are feeble, compared to the original piece.

Am I Very Wrong has one of the highlights of the album: the excellent pensive acoustics-trombone-and-vocals of the verses, with great piano parts between them, unfortunately, it then goes on to have a silly, moderately mindless chorus that ruins everything. Could've been a pretty good song, but wasn't.

In The Wilderness actually isn't too bad, though the childish dun-dun-dun-dun thing leading to a passable chorus annoys me if I'm listening properly. The verses have a hint of Gabriel's future ability and range as a singer, but it doesn't quite work here, for whatever reason. The strings don't hurt me. The piano solo end is a decent touch.

The Conqueror opens with a guitar repeat of the In The Wilderness themes, and then a fairly mindless and unclear acoustics and piano tune with fairly weak harmonies and appalling lyrics. On the plus side, the electric guitar in the background and then soloing over the top of the theme is good, however, the piece overall is very weak.

In Hiding has the same problems as the much of the rest of the album: repeated and uninteresting music, and a weak chorus. Gabriel's voice here is pretty good, but that's about the only thing I like about the song.

I like One Day, silly horns and strings, yes, repeated chorus, yes, fairly weak lyrics, yes, but it seems to work here. The bass-and-piano are good, the xylophone or vibraphone or whatever it is additions to the start are nice, and it all works together quite neatly.

Window starts promisingly with a bit of acoustic guitar and piano, bass in the background, a quiet and haunting vocal with (what sounds like) trombone in the mix, slowly building to... a bland and generic chorus with irritating strings and fairly idiotic lyrics. The verses are generally quite good, though they could have lost the violin, but the end result is an unmemorable song.

In Limbo again starts with a decent theme, and this time it's the vocals that bring it down, and the choruses are also annoying. The ending limbo section suffers from poor mixing, in my opinion, I love the electrics and hectic background music, but it's not very audible behind the weak brass and vocals in the foreground.

The Silent Sun is a little uninteresting: an essentially generic ballad crossed with a generic pop song. The harmonies are badly done, the vocals aren't that great, and the violin is completely redundant here. Just unmemorable.

The concluding A Place To Call My Own is probably the best thing on the album. Banks and Gabriel give their first real indication of their future vocal and piano talents, and the instrumental end is quite good, with the strings/brass being used in a more constructive way. I don't love the final 'lalalala' thing that much, but it's a decent effort.

The bonus tracks I have on my 2 CD compilation thingy make it much easier to piece together the problems: recycling of material to fit producer Jonathan King's concept results in weaker lyrics, and the strings and horns seem to be added a lot when not needed. I prefer Patricia without the vocals to the piece it became (In Hiding), Try A Little Sadness is a weak pop song, with basically the same random strumming and good piano with a couple of tolerable musical moments in there that can actually be heard. She Is Beautiful is essentially a better version of The Serpent with piano taking the lead, better lyrics ('cool as ice, but brittle as glass') and the (aaaa) being less dominant. Although I think the final mix has better basic material, this one sounds better. Image Blown Out is a fairly silly, whimsical composition, tolerable once if you're in a good mood.

The Silent Sun's single version isn't really that much different, but the slightly more audible bass is good. Retains the problems of the original, but slightly less dull. That's Me is an enjoyable pop song, although the vocals in the chorus grate a little. The guitar solo (and guitar in general) is fun, and the lyrics are tolerable. It sounds as if the band had fun playing/writing it, something not always evident here, and Philips (guitarist), whose playing made Trespass for me, doesn't seem to be on such a leash here. A Winter's Tale has a quiet organ in the background, which gels amusingly with the pop chorus. I enjoy listening to it, but partly for the wrong reasons. A better song than the album proper. The One-Eyed Hound is a bit weaker, with an annoying refrain ('This man committed a sin, this man, he never can win') absolutely wrecking the song, which would otherwise be passable. The rough mixes generally strike me as being equivalent to or better than the album pieces in quality/sound quality.

Only recommended if you want to see the first stages of Genesis' development and the opportunity to rant about poor producing in reviews. I feel the album could've done with more music time instead of chorus repeat time, and the strings rarely work well here. This seems to me like a mix of poor production, poor mixing and a musical immaturity or a lack of direction in the band. Nonetheless, there are occasional glimmers of promise, and Genesis would go on to produce no less than seven very strong studio prog albums in a row after this.

Rating: 2 Stars. Flashes of promise, but mostly weak.

Favourite Track: That's Me, or, in the album itself, A Place To Call My Own

Two updates on this: 1) I enjoyed this album a lot more when in the right sort of relaxed mood for it (much like Dire Straits' debut). Still think the production brings it down, and keeping to the rating, but admit the review is perhaps a bit missing the point. 2) I now ADORE That's Me. Superb, superb song. Great guitars, lovely and weird vocals from Peter, and great lyrics. The drumming also feels quite right for it. A serious favourite now, and all because it came up on shuffle.

TGM: Orb | 2/5 |

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