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Genesis - Trespass CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.15 | 2191 ratings

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4 stars A very different Genesis album

If it weren't for Peter Gabriel's distinctive vocals, you'd have a hard time believing that this album came from the legendary Genesis. Contrary to the aggressive, in-your-face prog the band would visit on later albums, the music here is very pastoral and gentle, without being dull. This may be explained by the fact that Messrs Hackett and Collins were not on board yet, and had not brought their sound to the group. Instead, we hear the wonderful Anthony Phillips on guitar, and the relatively obscure, yet still technically competent John Mayhew on drums.

The songs on here are all relatively long, especially when compared to the band's first album 'From Genesis To Revelation'; the average song length is roughly 7 minutes. Although mainly falling into the folky territory, each song is quite individual, and it's worth writing a couple of sentences about them all.

The album opener, Looking For Someone, has a very bizarre song structure, making it worth listening to a few times, as you're unlikely to understand it the first time round. With a lot of strong hooks and riffs, and an awesome 2½ minute instrumental outro, this is actually quite a brilliant song.

A lot of people rave about White Mountain, but this is actually one of my least favourite tracks on the record. It tells the story of a wolf named Fang. This song has a good structure, but the arrangements in this piece are just too underwhelming. Towards the end of the song the band stops, leaving the sound of an organ and somebody whistling, creating tension. This seems like its going to end in a big crashing finale, but instead we hear the main riff repeated on the guitar, and some humming over the top of it: very dissatisfying.

Visions of Angels is far better. Strong drums and good melodies are the foundation for this track. The powerful, mellotron-drenched, instrumental towards the centre, which is repeated at the end, is definitely the best part of this song. With great lyrics to match, this is a neat little track.

Although The Knife is certainly the standout track on this record, Stagnation feels more like it belongs on 'Trespass' and emerges as the album's one true epic. The dynamics of this track are absolutely marvellous. At one moment, the song have a gentle and folky feel, but within a few seconds it will become more powerful and rocky. The lyrics are brilliant too, at times being subtle and subdued, and at other times bold and stark. This song is extremely different to Genesis's later epics, such as The Musical Box and Firth of Fifth, but deserves just as much recognition.

Dusk is a brief acoustic track. Despite having a beautiful flute solo from Gabriel, this track is really filler. There's really not much else to say about this track.

If Dusk (or indeed the rest of the album) had sent you to sleep, then The Knife would certainly wake you up. This track would more accurately predict the musical future of the band. As the name suggests, this is quite an aggressive track. Although using heavier arrangements than heard throughout the rest of the album, the first 3 minutes of the track feel quite light-hearted, with fast-paced lyrics that tell stories of war. However, the song takes a more serious turn at the 3 minute mark, beginning with a flute solo over a pulsating bass chord. After some haunting chants of 'We are only wanting freedom', the song's main instrumental begins. And what an instrumental it is! In my opinion, The Knife has the best guitar solo of any Genesis song, one that makes this reviewer want to stand up and bust out an air guitar solo to match. You can talk to me until you're blue in the face about Steve Hackett and Firth of Fifth, but no other Genesis track can make me want to shred on an instrument of nitrogen and oxygen like this one. After the guitar solo, comes an amazing blast of heavy rhythmic notes, a technique which has become a bit of a prog cliché. The song ends with one more chorus, before coming to an appropriately loud climax. Although it is wholly unrepresentative of this album, The Knife is far and away the best thing on this record.

I must admit, I do like the artwork for this album. A half-finished painting slashed horizontally by a realistic knife is a very bold and memorable thing to have as an album cover. The artwork is by Paul Whitehead, who would go on to design the covers to both 'Nursery Cryme' and 'Foxtrot', before moving to the US in 1973.

'Trespass' shows an evolving band exploring new territories. This is a wonderful record indeed, although unfortunately not brilliant. This is not the place to start with Genesis, as the band's sound would change considerably in the following years. To all those who have begun listening to the band, however, I thoroughly recommend this as one of Genesis's most consistent and entertaining albums.

baz91 | 4/5 |


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