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Genesis - Trespass CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.15 | 2367 ratings

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4 stars Trespass - Genesis (3.75 stars) Original Release: 10/23/1970


Looking for Someone (3 stars) Some sinister force or element seems to be personified here in the lyrics to this song. After the vocal sections there is an aggressive, progressive instrumental section that arises and moves through a number of themes. A good early example of a truly progressive rock song although this one does not capture my interest as strongly as others on this album.

White Mountain (4 stars) Keyboards and guitars effectively introduce us to what I imagine to be a story in an alpine wilderness where the drama of this song story seems to take place. This perception could in large measure be due to the fact that the wolves about whom the story revolves have almost identical names to two wolves in Jack London's "white Fang" although this is where the similarities end. The instrumentation complements the story well. There is a definite lack of moral interpretation to the events which also keeps the story and the music in an intriguing alien space. Still connected to my Jack London associations I found the whistling and humming in the coda to this song to introduce a human presence in a tale about animals that seemed emotionally compelling.

Visions of Angels (3 stars) The lyrics speak bleakly of dreams and wishes which systematically never come to pass. The upbeat and hopeful tone of the music comes off as sarcasm in this context. There is an interesting progressive instrumental section to this song.

Stagnation (4 stars) From the album notes for this song:

To Thomas S. Eiselberg, a very rich man, who was wise enough to spend all his fortunes in burying himself many miles beneath the ground. As the only surviving member of the human race, he inherited the whole world.

Without this intriguing clue I don't think it would be possible to make much sense of the lyric's on this song. As the song moves in a more-or-less linear fashion through a series of musical themes and the lyrics along with it, there is painted a bizarre picture of a world full of futility and failure although the song's and song's protagonist seems to still find ways to respond to that world with a variety of emotions. This song requires some imagination to pull it together but I think that it ends up being evocative. A great example of a thoroughly progressively structured song.

Dusk (4 stars) The music is gentle and serene but again the lyrics are coldly despondant. Nice vocals both solo and group. The lyricist oscillates between a measured view of lifes destructive energies and seeming despair. Flute and guitar pick up the energy in the center of the song and fill a gentle instrumental progression. The final lyrical section takes a stab at God and then declares our final fate:

But wait, on the horizon, A new dawn seems to be rising, Never to recall this passerby, born to die.

The Knife (3 stars) This song has more aggression in it by far than the rest. It is also the longest. The lyrics describe a no holds barred attitude of violent revolution without any effort at moral justification. Without any clues to reveal a tone of sarcasm, I have to wonder whether the song was meant to show the horror of imposing one's own will without reservation:

I'll give you the names of those you must kill, All must die with their children. Carry their heads to the palace of old, Hang them high, let the blood flow.

Perhaps the stage performance helped to put this song in context. Vocal and instrumental passages progress through a connected variety of themes. Relentlessly militant, this song breaks the mood of the rest of the album somewhat but has much to hold interest. A very dark and heavy song.

Album: Song composition and mood and lyrical content rise well above the standard pop/rock fare. Excellent song composition with a great variety of musical ideas well connected. I suspect that already Genesis were the masters of musical transitioning making a song seem to sit well with itself despite its rich assortment of musical themes. So far there seem to be progressive rock albums that have two different overall emotional outlooks: the hope of Yes and the Moody Blues and the darkness and despair of ELP and King Crimson. The lyrics of Peter Gabriel are dark indeed and seem to intentionally avoid any kind of apologetics or moralism. This gives the songs on this album a certain raw strength but it may leave you cold and sometimes disagree with the tone of the instruments. But mainly these songs seem artfully crafted. Already Genesis is showing their skill at song composition that made them one of the greatest progressive rock bands.

Overall, this album probably would have had a bigger positive impact on me had I heard it first in the context of its time. As it was I traced my way back to it from the 80's perspective from which my musical interests originated. I also have the non-re-mastered edition and my opinion of this album might improve (some song ratings that were 3's might become 4's) if I heard a better recording. The album as a whole is a worthwhile addition to any progressive rock fan's collection. I've heard Genesis' earlier From Genesis to Revelation and like the Moody Blues' first album I have not bothered to purchase it as its style is much too poppy for my tastes.

MP3 recommendation:

There isn't too much call to not buy the whole album but here are those songs I gave 4 stars to rather than just 3.

4 star songs (4 stars) 1. White Mountain (4 stars) 2. Stagnation (4 stars) 3. Dusk (4 stars) 4. The Knife (4 stars)

sealchan | 4/5 |


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