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Peter Gabriel - Passion CD (album) cover

PASSION

Peter Gabriel

 

Crossover Prog

4.12 | 312 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Epignosis
Special Collaborator
Eclectic Prog Team
1 stars I am certain people will rail against me for this review, accusing me of not getting something or merely having terrible taste, but such criticisms would not be new to me, nor would I heed them any further than I have. I fail to see what sets this album apart from those CDs by the candles and greeting cards at stores like Target, which are meant for meditation and relaxation, and it all leads me to wonder how much the Peter Gabriel brand name factored into this soundtrack's reception. The music is excellent in terms of serving as a score for Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, but in the context of progressive rock, it completely wearies me. When it comes to cinematic soundtracks, I can think of several that surpass this (such as James Horner's score to Braveheart or Howard Shore's score for The Lord of the Rings). Even standing alone as an album, there are moments of genius, but these are oases in a vast desert of languid uniformity. What ultimately ruins the experience for me are the anachronistic drum sounds- 1980s electronic drums (sounds I generally don't like to begin with) just don't fit well with the rest of the atmosphere. The music by itself is bleak and tediously so, though fit for its purpose, as it does a fine job integrating an enormous variety of tones from throughout the Middle East and beyond, but the dry, repetitive nature of the music makes this entirely painful for me to endure, especially in one sitting. The only thing more monotonous than a track by track review of this album is, I'm afraid to say, the album itself.

"The Feeling Begins" A hazy Near Eastern overture begins the album, but that ancient feeling is suddenly dispelled by 1980s drum tones.

"Gethsemane" This terse piece consists of disharmonious lines on woodwinds, perhaps sounding a bit like Henry Cow.

"Of These, Hope" The ancient feel is brought back, having an almost Persian or Turkish flavor, but again, the percussion and cheesy electronic elements mar it.

"Lazarus Raised" This features light electronic shimmers coupled with a solo, that gradually become darker in feel.

"Of These, Hope- Reprise" Here is yet another blending of exotic instrumentation and overpowering electronic music.

"In Doubt" Ominous electronic tones pulsate, wail, and breathe during this two minute segment.

"A Different Drum" North African rhythms create the backbone for this piece, which features stellar vocals. In spite of my previously mentioned misgivings, this track is something of an exception- a moment I genuinely enjoy.

"Zaar" Dark and yet inviting, this piece has gorgeous strings and various textures throughout.

"Troubled" The electronic percussion, to me, makes this sound like a Phil Collins solo track. The ethnic backing only serves to annoy me.

"Open" Passionate and peaceful, this meditative track enchants the listener with stunning vocals and tranquil washes of synthesizer.

"Before Night Falls" The percussion and instrumentation here is very strong, full of flavor and vivacity.

"With This Love" This is a more classical-sounding piece, and while graceful, it does not impress me any more than most New Age music would.

"Sandstorm" This is a dark breathy piece, with percussion fading in gradually.

"Stigmata" Gorgeous strings and Gabriel's commanding voice make up this track.

"Passion" The lengthiest piece is, as expected, more of the same, with warbling Middle Eastern vocals, arid backing of synthetic textures, and exotic lead instruments.

"With This Love- Choir" While certainly beautiful, I cannot help but think of Christmas when I hear this charming choir.

"Wall of Breath" This ambient track has a static note hovering in the background, as mewling sounds play over it.

"The Promise of Shadows" This piece is more or less avant-garde drivel, with screeching and airy noises.

"Disturbed" Here is more Near Eastern music, with percussion filtered electronically. Eastern bagpipes drone on at the end.

"It Is Accomplished" Those droning pipes flow into this track, which unexpectedly turns into a 1980s synthesizer and piano-ridden piece, one that could have easily accommodated vocals and been turned into a pop hit.

"Bread and Wine" This Celtic-inspired piece is rather unexpected, featuring light synthesizer and a beautiful whistle, and sounding like Iona.

Epignosis | 1/5 |

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