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Metamorphosis - Then All Was Silent  CD (album) cover

THEN ALL WAS SILENT

Metamorphosis

 

Neo-Prog

3.74 | 25 ratings

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tszirmay
Special Collaborator
Crossover Team
4 stars What makes prog unique and often the butt end of all the scorn emanating from the deluded miscreants is the subject matter that adorns the symphonic bombast! Yeah, prog likes to delve into philosophy, fantasy, mystery, history, geography, art and literature. It is often inspired by war, disease, bigotry, romance, science and occasional doomsday messages. For me, Prog has always been a soundtrack to an imaginary movie anyway. Swiss group Metamorphosis has definitely focused on a somewhat Orwellian desolation, a future society firmly anchored in rigid apathy (are we not that far now?) and leader, multi-instrumentalist Jean-Pierre Schenk certainly has enough material to vent his "spleen". Obviously with such a gloomy pretense, the music absorbs itself into cascading torrents of Floydian inner pain, sweeping keyboard-based orchestrations swerve into delirious realms and the story unfolds like a cinematographic essay. Just like the famous prog classics, this is an album that needs aural attention as well as reading the lyrics, booklet firmly in hand. "Birth" kicks off majestically with sumptuous synthesizer patterns, sizzling guitar eruptions and superbly expressive overall mood. "When Kenny was Sad" is an absolute highlight, a moody 8 minute expression of undeniable grief, with minimalist piano, whooshing electronics and a plaintive vocal and loaded with echo and resonance. The chorus is memorable ("Cry, cry all the time"), hinting at almost early Alan Parsons Project territory and the mood is appropriately somber. I am a sucker for this kind of melancholia, so I am sad too like Kenny but happily so (???) as I groove hazily to the heavenly mellotron-drenched instrumental section, the rhythm guitar raging in the background, a definite classic track. "Spingtime" suggests a brief respite, a moment of pastoral reprieve like a soothing eddy of musical succulence in a sea of psychedelic torpor, perhaps very Pink Floydian in structure but that is certainly no crime by any standard. A Gilmour-like lead guitar leaps out in sudden splendor. "Beyond the Wall" (talk about a blatant hint!) has a howling slide guitar riff acting as some kind of early warning device, riffing anxious, angry and aggressive. You could almost imagine the Vopos guarding Check Point Charlie! The marshalling drums are led by a rippling bass, all pulsing together with the huge synth squalls thus creating a doomsday feel, a sense of unease and fear. A luminous axe solo keeps the aim squarely on desperate plight of our Kenny, yearning for escape. "Confinement" recalls his arrest and the brutal interrogation that follows with a tormented arrangement, raging and incendiary guitar blurts and veering nearly into metallic delirium as the unforgiving door is shut in his face. "The Killing Machines" eerily vaporizes the battlefield of warring society, a creepily wistful dirge that recalls the sensoral bestiality of Waters' masterpiece, offering up a super guitar solo to boot (jackboot?) that glides on and on. "The Secret Room" evokes the unmistakable gloom of Orwell's "Room 101", yet here it is a place of hiding and respite instead of vile torture, proven by the sardonically upbeat mood. The short instrumental "The Revelation" conjures up celestial images with some more mellotron pastels, simply evocative lead guitar and piano. "The Book" has the looping synths twanging in cahoots with the guitars, weaving boldly and courageously, as Kenny discovers the forbidden truths, all there in a book, very reminiscent of the Francois Truffaut classic movie Fahrenheit 451. "The Escape" has some quaint flute warbling, queasy fretwork and quaking organ, languorously providing the musical distraction to enable the flight from oppression. Pretty clever these Swiss! Another scouring fret workout sets the tone, in a magnificent setting. This leviathan recording is put to rest with the epic title cut, a near 11 minute flurry of exquisite progressive musing. "Then All Was Silent" literally encompasses in one sweep all that makes this a vibrant addition to any prog collection, with effective vocals relating a touching story, woven with thick cords of sublime keyboards and tied tightly together with some blistering guitar parts. The pace is never rushed or half-baked, always intrinsically involved with the core story, just like a good soundtrack should! There is a slow synth solo halfway through that really justifies the praise dished out in this review. The guitar explosion that follows would make any string slinger sit up and notice, as it has "classic" stamped all over it, insistent, majestic, proud and even slightly cocky. So would you, if all fell silent! If you profoundly take pleasure in heroic all-encompassing musical adventures, then you should consider this unpretentious and unsuspecting jewel.4.5 Roger Federers
tszirmay | 4/5 |

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