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Genesis - From Genesis to Revelation CD (album) cover

FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

2.59 | 767 ratings

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Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Black Holes or Revelations?

An intriguing debut that shows tantalising glimpses of the band's full potential - and goes a little way to realising some of that potential in several places. The initial impression is of a super-light folk song collection with little consequence, but closer inspection reveals a surprisingly subtle range of very musical expression and something on the outer fringes of Flower Power with a couple of dark twists.

For Genesis fans, an interesting historical document, for collectors, if you can find a first press, a real gem - since the value will continue to climb, even from the outrageous prices it currently commands - for folk fans, an interesting curio by one of Prog's greats, but for the average Progger (if there is such a person) a bland and mushy throwaway collection of insignificant trivia.

Musically, the melodies seem to be the biggest let-down as they wander up and down the major scale, sounding like Gabriel had raided the nearest English Hymnal. The harmonies and arrangements, though, are more interesting than King's bland production and naff string arrangements would have us believe.

But these are generalisms - if we listen in a bit more detail, then there are a lot of nice proto-prog touches that would otherwise be completely overlooked - incuding the fact that this is very nearly a concept album.

Starlight

"Where The Sour Turns To Sweet" is very interesting lyrically - almost prophetic in places. "Look inside your mind, See the darkness is creeping out, I can see in the softness there, Where the sunshine is gliding in, Fill your mind with love, Find the world of future glory". This could also infer the time before the universe began, where all was potential.

The introduction is fairly interesting - Banks' lonely piano lines accompanied by a finger- click rhythm are quickly joined by Gabriel's familiar tones inviting us to "come and join us now". This early statement of the chorus idea is followed by a piano and light guitar accompanied verse - and there may be a Mellotron in there - "Can you sense the change" modulates to a minor key, and the second chorus is more fully accompanied and more passionately sung using a variation on the original melody. After a second iteration of this pattern, featuring the notable line from Gabriel "Paint your face all white " the first chorus variant is re-used and extended as a burn-out. OK, it's nothing stunning, but it's not your average song structure.

Then there's a dark and throbbing keyboard and bass introduction to "In The Beginning" - the title continuing the prophetic vein - and the Biblical connections are re- inforced as Gabriel sings about the birth of planet earth - although in Darwinian terms rather than Biblical.

The melody is shockingly naff and robs the lyrics of their authenticity, while the accompaniment hangs around single tonal areas - although the line "It has begun You're in the hands of destiny" is colourfully arranged. It does get more interesting in the "C" section, however - the structure of this piece is ABABCABC - again indicating the fledgling Genesis' intention to break away from the run of the mill - everything as normal until the re-visted C section, which seques neatly into "Fireside Song" via a Banks piano line that modulates neatly before the horrible strings ruin everything. This also happens at the beginning of each chorus - a wonderful modulation is masked beneath unnecessary and vulgar strings that server up lashing of cheese faster than you can say "Edam".

Gabriel's lyrics this time revolve about the emergence of life, and you might make out fragments of melody from "Dancing With the Moonlit Knight" - because I certainly can.

The introduction to the Serpent is very badly produced, with a nasty drop-out at the end, but full of interesting key and tempo changes. Gabriel finds a darker melodic line to follow, keyboard lines shine through and the music ebbs and flows dynamically. Really, if some of those keyboards, drums and guitars were higher in the mix, we'd be entering into Doors territory - this could be such a powerful song, despite Gabriel's weak melodies. Lyrically, we consider the creation of man, woman Garden of Eden and serpent, but there are no real poetic fireworks here - this is just the next logical part of the story.

Banks' piano lines on "Am I Very Wrong?" remind me of Marillion's Fugazi, but the acoustic guitar and flute lines are pure early Genesis. The concept of the song structure, however, is pure Genesis with the lonely man questioning and worrying, while the chorus reassures (in abysmally precious vocal style) - in the first signs of theatricality from this band. The concept of the album, on the other hand, is virtually lost - this song just doesn't fit into it.

Burn in hell for your sins

Here, the album loses concept and direction, taking a massive nosedive;

"In The Wilderness" is a more intriguing title than song - it should have been called "Music, All I hear is Music"... although we're using the term Music loosely in this case to describe this rather naff and cheesey piece. Even Banks little improv at the end doesn't save it - it's FAR too short.

Anthony Philips reprises the "Music, All I Hear Is Music" theme as the intro for "The Conqueror" - but the awful drop-in makes it just sound like a mistake. A vaguely average song that isn't saved by the keyboard and guitar layers one iota.

"In Hiding" is a bit of a Gabriel showcase, with rich melodies, a little vocal harmony and very interesting lyrics asserting "I have a mind of my own". It's a pity Jonathan King didn't listen to this one as he could have learned something.

"One Day" shows Gabriel in a more poetic mood, while Banks and Philips wrap rhythms around each others parts...(don't even go there, it just gets a bit wearying reviewing music this average!) - if only those strings and horns would just shut up!!! You can kind of hear what King was trying to achieve, but no. Just no.

Supermassive Black Hole

So... 4 tracks to go, and the concept well and truly dead. Or is it? Who said the Revelations had to come from the Bible? The interpretation of Genesis didn't.

Ostensibly, 4 standard songs - but songs with lyrics that are pure Gabriel and melodies that hint of what he is capable of. Banks' keyboards are more interesting than the run- of-the-mill and Philips' guitar is unfairly suppressed in the mix dominated by horrible strings and horns that threaten to strangle the delicate songs underneath...

Witness these great lyrics from "In Limbo"

"Take me away From the power of my ambition And I'll be happy Peace - floating in limbo, Limbo - leading me nowhere, Peace - now without motion I cry - when will i die? God - where is my soul now? My world, please set me free"

Coulda Woulda Shoulda

It could have been so much better - and this album could have killed Genesis forever. Fortunately, as the evidence in these grooves shows, they were so much better than this artifact despite King's attempts to prove that he was better.

Side 1 gets 3.5 Stars because it sticks to the concept and develops nicely. Side 2 gets 2 Stars because of the quality of individual band members' contributions.

It's just a pity about the quality of the resulting album.

Buy out of curiousity by all means - but if you do, don't give up on it after one or two hearings.

Certif1ed | 2/5 |

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