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Peter Gabriel - Passion CD (album) cover

PASSION

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

4.11 | 309 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
5 stars Well, given that it is Easter, I thought that a review of an album representative of the season would be appropriate, and there is no prog LP more representative than this one.

I have enjoyed Gabriel's music for well over 32 years now, both with Genesis and as a solo artist. This LP is, by probably a long way, his worst selling album, but it is also, by an equally long way, his best. Written as the soundtrack to Martin Scorsese's film The Last Temptation of Christ, a blistering account of a rather obscure novel wondering what Christ's life, and ours, would have been like had He succumbed to the temptation of Mary Magdalene and a normal life, before reverting to Christ redeeming him and us by climbing back on the Cross, the album was, typically for Gabriel, very much delayed whilst he perfected his work. I'm glad he did.

This is probably the first album by a major Western artist (which, of course, Gabriel was after his success with So) that fuses mainly third world musical influences and instruments with more mainstream progressive rock. The Senegalese singer, Youssou N'Dour, who guested on So, is the most recognisable singer on this and he absolutely shines. There are no lyrics as such, just a combination of deep and beautiful soundscapes with chants, with a magnificent choral With This Love thrown in, which takes us back to the very earliest musical influences of Gabriel as a child at Charterhouse School.

There are far too many tracks to review separately, and, anyway, this would rather lose the point of the LP. It demands to be heard as a single work, right from start to end. If you also are familiar with the film and the Passion itself, it all blends in and fuses together to make perfect sense.

Different Drum, with N'Dour's haunting screams, replays the thrashing of the Temple. Passion, so North African in both its feel and sympathies, replays Christ's passage towards the inevitable. And for those reading this who are either atheist, agnostic, or simply do not see the relationship between music, faith, and our basic humanity, there are the final two tracks, It is Accomplished and Bread And Wine, recounting, of course, the final crucifixtion, agony, and ultimate triumph of Christ. They are stunning pieces of music, with tribal chants, blending with Gabriel's unique keyboards, a simply stunning drum and bass line, before reverting to a simple eulogy to the risen Christ.

I am not a particularly religious person, although I regard myself as a Christian quietly. This is not a religious album, per se. It is a triumph of the human spirit, a perfect blend of Eastern, African, and Western musical themes and influences, which served as both a perfect backdrop to a great work of film art, and as a musical piece of wonder in its own right.

I award this album five stars. It is absolutely essential for any discerning prog fans collection. Quite wondrous.

lazland | 5/5 |

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