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Genesis - A Trick of the Tail CD (album) cover

A TRICK OF THE TAIL

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.27 | 1756 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Two reasons why I need to review this album. First, it's the first album after the previous front man, PETER GABRIEL, left the band. PHIL COLLINS, the drummer, took his role as vocalist and drummer. So, it's sensible to review this album on the basis of "before" and "after" Gabriel left the band. Second, I'm preparing a paper for a progressive rock seminar at the end of this month with specific topic on "neo progressive rock" for a music institute in my country. The Institute focuses on creating musicians in contemporary music. They just recently (last week, to be exact) conducted "The Progressive Concert 2", presenting the performance of prog bands formed by their students and instructors. It was a great show of 11 bands and they performed beyond my expectations as I saw so many talented prog musicians. Most of them demonstrated their talent in progressive metal genre.

What reminds me about this album was that in the middle of putting my thoughts on paper as a material for the seminar, I have identified clearly that there has been a strong link between what so called neo prog sub genre with Genesis "A Trick of the Tail" and "Wind and Wuthering" albums. It's really obvious that these albums were the pinnacles that have inspired many bands especially those in neo prog basket. The following write-up will show you where are they in the album.

DANCE ON A VOLCANO is an uplifting track with dynamic drumming, soft guitar fills and symphonic style keyboards / mellotron work. It's obvious that when vocal line enters the music "Holy mother of God ." the rhythm music is composed in the vein of their previous album "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" especially the title track or "Back in NYC" track. The use of mellotron is intensive, coupled with energetic and dynamic drumming that make this track so powerful. The song structure has vast variety of melody with high and low point and shifting tempos that make the song relatively complex. The beauty of the song is the existence of touchy melody in some of its segments, demonstrated through keyboard sound. This song indicates the continuation of classic Genesis sound, especially "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" album.

Through ENTANGLED, Genesis tried to push the progressive envelop into a simpler format but still maintaining the symphonic (thru the use of mellotron) style and classical music touch (acoustic guitar fills). This is a mellow track dominated by acoustic guitar fills with keyboard sound slowly enters the song. Structure-wise, this song basically brings only one tagline melody with no (or little) variation. To make the song memorable, the band creates some transition segments demonstrating the acoustic guitar solo and accentuation of keyboard at the end of the bars. The melody does not shift so much as the chorus says "Well, if we can help you we will ." (the part that Genesis-mania used to emulate about this song). When the music enters the ending part that starts at minute 4:15, it's the time where keyboard solo played slowly, accentuated by mellotron with acoustic guitar fills as rhythm. It's a wonderful melody. This song, I think, has inspired many neo prog bands in the 80's either the structural composition (overall) or the ending part of the song.

SQUONK brings the music into an upbeat tempo with great and memorable opening (combination of dazzling drums and guitar rhythm - wonderful!). Again, it's a simple music segment at this opening part. The strong points of this opening are: it has a tasty melody and it creates a symphonic music nuance. When all of these are combined with Phil's dynamic drumming, the result is an ultimate enjoyment when listening to this track. We tend to emulate Phil's singing while spinning the CD. This song has more shifting tempos than the previous track. The beauty part of this song is at the ending part where the melody turns to Phil's higher tone vocal and it then fades out ..

The band then brings you back to a rather mellow track MAD MAN MOON. It starts mellow at the beginning and it goes to faster tempo. BANK's piano / keyboard works dominate this track. Just before the middle of the track, there is a really nice classical piano and keyboard sound that serves as a transition for the song to move to a faster tempo. The music then comes back to the original tagline melody as demonstrated at the beginning of the track, this time with mellotron at background. Again, this song is the basis of neo prog music.

ROBBERY, ASSAULT and BATTERY is a track with an upbeat tempo in the vein of classic Genesis music. At the beginning part, this track seems so monotonous in term of melody and composition but when it comes to a transition at roughly minute 1:00, the drumming style is shifting dynamically and the music then enters to the chorus part. The music becomes complex when it reaches the interlude with a domination of keyboard work by Tony Banks. It reminds me to the classic tracks of the band like "In The Cage" or "The Colony of Slipper Man". It's a stunning keyboard!

RIPPLES is another mellow track opened with a melodic vocal line with acoustic guitar fills as rhythm section. The opening part of this track seems like a ballad song. But the band has composed in such a way that there are many intense influence of classical music especially during transitions. The acoustic guitar work by Hackett is really stunning, accompanied by soft keyboard work. The interesting part that, I think, has mostly inspired many neo prog bands is the interlude part that start approx at minute 4:06 where Steve HACKETT's howling guitar come into play accompanied with BANK's keyboard work. It's very nice.

The title track A TRICK OF THE TAIL is a medium tempo track with stunning piano work and nice melody through a vocal line. It sounds like a pop song for me, especially in the way Phil COLLINS is singing. I don't think this track has strong prog elements; it sounds a straight pop music.

LOS ENDOS is the concluding track that serves its role to summarize the album content because it contains some musical elements of other tracks in the album, performed with no vocal line. It's a very enjoyable track and it has become STEVE HACKETT's favorite in his solo work; he played this track in most of his live performance.

Despite the loss of Peter Gabriel, I think the band continued to deliver excellent music for their fans. Some tracks (Dance on a Volcano, Squonk, Robbery .) still maintain the style of Gabriel era music, and some of them have gone mellower than classic Genesis. No harm at all. In fact, "The Lamia" of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway was a mellow track as well. I think, the pinnacle of wonderful GENESIS music is STEVE HACKETT, not Peter Gabriel. My overall rating is 4/5 for this album. Gatot Widayanto, Indonesia.

Gatot | 4/5 |

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