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Genesis - Trespass CD (album) cover

TRESPASS

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.16 | 1651 ratings

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TGM: Orb
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review 8, Trespass, Genesis, 1970

StarStarStarStar

A stunning progressive album, probably second (and maybe first) for me out of all of the classic period Genesis' efforts (behind SEBTP), even though it's not yet the 'classic' line-up. Here Gabriel's voice has taken on a soul-piercing edge that's never quite been rivaled (for me, at least) by his later vocals, Philips' guitar shifts between powerful and driving to the interplay characteristic of later Genesis. Banks has stepped up his choice of instruments and uses piano, organ or mellotron to fit the piece and the idea. Mayhew's drumming seems to be looked down upon, but I enjoy it anyway, and the production isn't great, but is good enough for me, as a non-audiophile. Lastly, a word for Mike Rutherford's bass and acoustics, which are great throughout.

Looking For Someone opens with moody organ and emotional vocals, moving up into searing guitar and drumming, perfectly conveying the search for order and meaning in the excellent lyrics. Banks' piano and organ are brilliantly used. The changes in mood are perfectly executed, and the use of the flute is better and more energetic here than on any other Genesis album. Perhaps the real charm (for me) of this album and this song in particular is that the music and lyrics actually evoke their subjects for me.

White Mountain was one of the two pieces responsible for getting me into Genesis (the other being One For The Vine), and from the mellotron-and-acoustic opening it really drags you into the cold, clear atmosphere it describes, reflecting both the adrenaline of the chase and the beauty, yet savagery of the environment. The drumming feels right, the organ touches are powerful, yet never too dominant, and Gabriel's voice is (again) unique, powerful and expressive, and the bleak and almost mourning ending doesn't break this. Classic song.

Visions of Angels does have choruses, but it's certainly not a pop song. Musically, it's the weakest track here, in my opinion, but emotionally it does as much for me as the others. The verses are beautiful, haunting and yet feel quite sharp, the lyrics are surreal and gripping ('Ice is moving and the world's begun to freeze/See the sunlight stopped and deadened by the breeze'), and for me, a very personal experience. Gabriel's vocal here is (just me talking) his best ever, the quiet mellotron moments are beautiful. The chorus, however, is just not at the same standard (perhaps 'too bombastic' or 'too frivolous' are the words to use. It's not bad in itself, but after the emotional build-up, it seems a bit blunt and unimaginative), and I've never been a huge fan of using harmonies in a chorus. It's an amazing song for me if I can switch off and listen purely on an emotional level, but I can't help occasionally thinking that the chorus on this is the moment that lets down the entire album.

Stagnation is long, and has relatively few vocals, which means that it takes a while to get used to, but I've at last acquired it, and I now actually really enjoy it. Again, the concept is pretty clear, intelligent and enjoyable, the lyrics are good, the vocals are good, and the changes are all done superbly. All of the components are good, but the end result, the haunting atmosphere and powerful music, is a real stunner. There's a lot of the guitar interplay that's present on The Musical box, the keyboards are generally clean and melodic, but vary a lot throughout the song, the drumming essentially takes a back seat here, except in the more 'rock' sections. One of the most forgotten prog epics, and one of the best.

Dusk is a quieter, shorter track with definite folk leanings, a mixture of Gabriel's voice and a harmony as the main , and a combination of guitars and chimes leading the music. After a couple of minutes of this, there's a minute of instrumental middle section which really doesn't hit the heights of the rest of this album, with atmospheric flute at one point. Thankfully, the return to the vocals prepares for a better end. This seems to be one of those pieces where (despite not being bad) the quality and variation really comes from the presence of the vocals and lyrics. Great, but not perfect.

The Knife. What to say? An absolute beast which leaves me wanting more. I almost wish that Genesis had explored the hard rock style evident here a little more. Gabriel's voice is gripping and powerful, perfectly exploring the strong lyrics. Rutherford's bass is superb. The distorted guitar riffs and organ work together in a mind-blowing fashion, with Mayhew's drums basically providing a backbone for the opening. A stunning first section moves into an inquisitive quiet part with excellent bass, guitar and flute, and occasional percussion in the background. Philips' guitar introduces the 'We are only wanting freedom' line, which is repeated to add even more power and tension and the screaming and background sirens really evoke the idea of revolution, of anger, of adrenaline. If there's a song that puts me in the mind of a battle, this is it. The build-up is amazing, the conclusion is powerful, and I even enjoy the much-maligned drumming: this song is a full-on hard/prog rock masterpiece.

Emotionally and personally, this album is a flawless five star. The ideas stand out, and the music essentially conveys them perfectly. Unfortunately, Visions of Angels and Dusk don't, for me, really stand up to scrutiny as masterpiece material. I love them when I'm not trying to pick holes in them, which is usually, but that's what distinguishes an amazing four star album from something I'd label as a general masterpiece.

TGM: Orb | 4/5 |

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