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REFLECTION - ROCK THEATRE

Genesis

Symphonic Prog


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Genesis Reflection - Rock Theatre album cover
2.65 | 43 ratings | 8 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe) (4:12)
2. Harold The Barrel (3:02)
3. Harlequin (2:55)
4. Watcher Of The Skies (3:46)
5. Fountain Of Salmacis (7:56)
6. Supper's Ready (22:54)

Total Time: 44:43

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Peter Gabriel / vocals, flute
- Steve Hackett / guitar
- Tony Banks / keyboards, 12-string guitar, vocals
- Michael Rutherford / bass, 12-string guitar
- Phil Collins / drums, percussion, vocals

Releases information

LP Fontana 9299 515 (1975)

LP CHARISMA 7868902 (1986)
CD Germany, Virgin (1991)

LP Charisma 9299 707 (1975, Norway, entitled "The Best of Genesis", different cover)

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
and to Andy Webb for the last updates
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GENESIS Reflection - Rock Theatre ratings distribution


2.65
(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
12%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
21%
Good, but non-essential (49%)
49%
Collectors/fans only (12%)
12%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

GENESIS Reflection - Rock Theatre reviews


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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Matti
COLLABORATOR Neo-Prog Team
3 stars This is where I first heard Gabriel-era Genesis in my early teens - my big brother had it. It's not an 'official' compilation but of some seedy series which one can see especially from the back cover. But the front cover pictures are interesting: a slipperman (with Steve & Mike) and Rael (up left) which is unlogical as there is no music from the Lamb. This concentrates on NURSERY CRYME and FOXTROT, and foolishly it has to be 'I Know What I Like' representing the fabulous Selling England. Nothing from Trespass or Genesis Live either. And to include both 'Harold The Barrel' and 'Harlequin' is a bit stupid too. Anyway, it was exciting to listen to 'Supper's Ready' when I hadn't yet found prog at all, not to speak of epics. But it was 'Fountain of Salmacis', a full- packed mini epic about the Greek myth of Hermafroditus, that impressed me the most.

P.S. I DON'T feel proud writing about all-too-over-reviewed Genesis, but the words "not rated" have an effect on me...

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#58689) | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, December 01, 2005

Review by Bj-1
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I was stupid enough to buy this one without looking too closely on it, I first thought this was a import bootleg live album that was hard to find elsewhere but unfortunately I was wrong. This is just a poor compilation featuring random Genesis material from 1971-1973. It's rather pointless, with the only really interesting thing here being the rare 7" single version of "Watcher of the Skies" featured here (in fact, I doubt those germans who put this together was realizing that). That version was later featured on the brilliant Archive 67-75 boxset. Strangely, for a compilation this album has a very odd tracklist, a normal case for cheap european compilations like this unfortunately. This obviously was a failed attempt to cash in at Genesis' popularitiy around it's time for release (1975).

This is another one of those 'for people with limited money budget only' releases. I personally would go with their main albums instead since they're actually much better introductions to the band. Collectors only!

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Send comments to Bj-1 (BETA) | Report this review (#60036) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, December 10, 2005

Review by ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I purchased the vinyl version of this album in 1975. This explains why the front cover is made of shots from "The Lamb Lies Down" show. At this time of my Genesis-mania, I was desperate with the departure of Peter. Part of my musical world collapsed. I was looking at any Genesis stuff available on the market (except singles which were difficult to get in Belgium).

When I saw this LP, I bought it for two reasons : first of all, the Reflection collection from the Fontana label was damned cheap (159 BEF which is 4 ?). Second, there was an edited version of "Watcher Of The Skies" which I did not know by that time.

On the back cover one can find some comments (both in English and German) about the band. Nothing from the other world though like : "Look out ! This music is brand new. Ideas rattle down on the listener : electric tones, heavy rock sounds, traumatic shreds of moods".

The tracks come out "Nursery" and "Foxtrot" with the exception of "I Know What I Like" from "Selling". Although "Harold" is a good album track, I would not consider it for a compilation (it is even more the case with "Harlequin" which is one of the weakest song from "Nursery"). Maybe "Hogweed" or "Can Utility" would have been better...

Anyway, it is completely absolete by now, but the excercise was good for me since I took this LP out of my discography to look at it again (it must have been nine years that this one did not move for an inch. FYI, I incidently moved nine years ago...). Three stars.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#104888) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 29, 2006

Review by J-Man
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars Call me a fool. I'm one of the sad people who bought this expecting a bootleg with a great setlist. Until I find it's a complitation of music I already own. Look, it has live pictures on the font and it says 'Rock Theatre' on the front. So wouldn't you expect a live album? Well, that's not what the Germans put together here folks. For die hard Genesis fans, you already own the music, and for new Genesis fans get the actual albums that you'll end up buying from listening this anyway. There's really no point to this. The music's great, but the idea of the complitation is just stupid. If you're a collector, maybe hunt this down, but for anyone who actually istens to the muic and doesn't collect it, this is pointless.

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Send comments to J-Man (BETA) | Report this review (#191972) | Review Permalink
Posted Friday, December 05, 2008

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Symphonic Team
3 stars First compilation for Genesis features their quintessential classics

The first compilation signifying the end of an era for Genesis. Gabriel had bowed out to pursue his own interests and the band were left dead in the water. Time for a compilation album. The tour was over in 1975 and Phil Collins was ready to take up the microphone to step into the massive shoes of egotistic Gabriel. Of course the band were not ready at this stage to release a studio album so a compilation was the only answer or no album at all. I still can't for the life of me understand why they did not release a live performance of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway as the bootlegs sound so dang good, it's criminal the band did not jump at the chance, or was that due to Gabriel insisting that they leave him out of it. In any case this compilation features some of Genesis' best material. This is great if you are new to Genesis, however for those of us who already own the 70s albums, a compilation like this is rendered obsolete. The album cover is totally misleading, looking like a live performance of the band and I could have done with that but alas these are exactly as released on studio albums. The packaging looks so fresh and enticing but the stale contents are bitter to the taste if you are already a big enough fan to own their first 5 albums. In reality all compilations are pointless when there is nothing new to offer the fan who has all the studio albums. However I must point out that on this German release there is one surprise rarity that I will mention later in this review.

The track listing is surprisingly well chosen for those who were new to the band back in the 70s. Rather than rewrite new reviews of each track I will plagiarise my own reviews to present my feelings on each track.

From Selling England By The Pound.

The mundane act of mowing a lawn became part of the staple radio diet, "I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)". The drone of the lawnmower makes an appearance at the end of the track and it is very effective in making a statement that lawnmowing is part of the English past time, maintaining a healthy lawn is the key. The lyrics are pure whimsy; "When the sun beats down and I lie on the bench, I can always hear them talk, Me, I'm just a lawnmower, you can tell me by the way I walk." The theme is therefore that the inanimate object of the mower is speaking about it's existence, it's life on a farm and it's life in a suburban backyard; "Keep them mowing blades sharp." The track ends on Gabriel's fluttering flute solo and an odd jazz rock beat, but radio stations adored playing this as it was such a curiosity.

From Nursery Cryme

'Harold The Barrel' paved the way for such storytelling epics as 'Supper's Ready'. The honky tonk piano will remind one of ELP's 'The Sheriff', equally out of place as this. Gabriel is delightful as he shoves it up the suits of an organised criminal inquest. A "Bognor restaurant-owner disappeared early this morning" and the hunt is on giving Gabriel license to channel all sorts of whimsical characters, such as the Man-in-the-street who suggests "it's disgusting, Such a horrible thing to do, Harold the Barrel cut off his toes and he served them all for tea..." It would be crude if not for the biting satirical delivery. Gabriel is truly sardonic on lines such as "You can't last long, Said you could'nt trust him, his brother was just the same." Gabriel continues to mock the stereotypes of autocracy and Harold's demise is never determined but we hear from his wife, the man on the spot, man on the council, lord mayor and the ridiculous Harold who states "If I was many miles from here, I'd be sailing in an open boat on the sea, Instead I'm on this window ledge..." Will he jump? We never find out. This is reminiscent of all the Gabriel fuelled parodies on the English idyll, no longer a pastoral pastiche but a worldly attack on how the English behave; even with mocking phrases, "we can help you... you must be joking, take a running jump" , Gabriel sneers. It reminds me of 'Willow Farm' section of 'Supper's Ready' or especially 'Get 'em Out by Friday'.

'Harlequin' is more like the pastoral folky feel of "Trespass", a style that would be shed completely as the band matured thankfully as they were always better heavy and bombastic with Gabriel unleashing his fury and antagonism. Here Gabriel is withdrawn and gentle and harmonious with other voices blending in a dreamy way. The lyrics are sugar sweet and balladic but there is an edge that things are surreal and dreamlike. "harlequin, harlequin, Dancing round three children fill the glade, Theirs was the laughter in the winding stream, and in between. From the flames in the firelight." If this were not so short I would have thought it would feel like a filler or throwaway but it is a nice change in direction. I would not rate it as a highlight but there is nothing wrong with some acoustic picking and harmonies from Genesis occasionally in small doses.

From Foxtrot

Here's the one surprise! 'Watcher of the Skies' is the edited rare 7" version so this track I actually did not have at the time. the track itself has an intricate time sig dominated by a driving divine bassline from Rutherford. The sharp sporadic drum beat is a portent of the chaos to come. The lyrics are typical of Gabriel, snappy and cliché driven nonsense that fits perfectly the estranged rhythms of Hackett and Collins. The absurdist lyrics are alienating but sincerely dark and foreboding: "Creatures shaped this planet's soil, Now their reign has come to an end, has life again destroyed life, Do they play elsewhere, or do they know more than their childhood games? Maybe the lizard's shed its tail, This is the end of man's union with Earth." Questions, questions, questions... no answers but a myriad of unbridled purpose driven ruminations about life and death. The melody juxtaposes a bright tune to this darkness, and it works exceptionally well. The tale of alien invasion is perfect for the satirical nature of the music. You can really feel the tension in the way Gabriel delivers; he must be one of the legends of prog for his contribution. Banks flies off the deep end with the keyboards and the rhythm is driving in 6/4 rhythm, and bombastic sounds dominate. Listen to it on "Genesis Live" for a real experience in instrumental genius. The mellotron is wonderfully played and adds to the surreal fantasy soundscape. The dynamics are a collision of guitar and drums with a multi layered keyboard wave of sound.

From Nursery Cryme

'Fountain of Samalcis' is another outstanding track and begins with a beautiful volume swell of mellotron ominously building like a jet plane swooping past, perhaps like a fountain rising and falling. Gabriel tells the weird surreal story and the track builds with glorious mellotron orchestrated in a symphonic crescendo by Banks. The story is a retelling of the Greek myth about an Hermaphrodite and yet it is captivating to reinvent the age old tale, a musical theatrical powerhouse. Gabriel brings the story to life with his excellent vocal prowess, perfection of intonation and pronounced tone that is stirring and evocative; "As the dawn creeps up the sky, The hunter caught sight of a doe. In desire for conquest, He found himself, within a glade he'd not beheld before... Where are you my father, Then he could go no farther, Give wisdom to your son, Now lost, the boy was guided by the sun". The violining of Hackett's guitar is masterful and he plays some angular riffs in this that are repeated as a hypnotic motif camouflaged by Banks soft key pads. Gabriel chimes in with "as he rushed to quench his thirst... A fountain spring appeared before him And as his heated breath brushed through the cool mist, A liquid voice called Son of gods, drink from my spring" . The bassline is notable of Rutherford. An interlude of soaring guitar ensues, with strong rhythmic shapes from Collins on percussion, a strange brew of bombastic glory. The bassline pulses stronger and some cathedral pipe organ is heard. I love this part and it continues to build to the next verse and the music answers Gabriel in turn. Pipe organ flourishes follow and a staccato organ that sweeps across a layer of frenetic bass and chaotic drumming. It fades for a time and builds with the huge organ swells like sunlight bursting through dark clouds, rays of light across the horizon. There is a grand finale with simmering elegance that shoots rays of light at the end to culminate in an apocalyptic crescendo.

From Foxtrot

'Supper's Ready': THE best Genesis song ever? Why not when you have a twenty three minute epic from Genesis with the legendary effervescent Peter Gabriel at his sinister best. It is quintessential to the band and indeed is a prime example of what prog is. What makes 'Supper's Ready' such a masterpiece juggernaut? There are a number of factors to take into consideration. First and foremost is the music. A tapestry of interludes, signifiers, climaxes, crescendos and majestic outros. It moves in so many directions and shifts time signatures that it is hard to keep up. There are many styles of music integrated within the structure. It is not easy to integrate songs together into one huge epic but this is a perfect example of when it works as a multi movement suite; a magnum opus of music. Other perfect examples are Caravan's 'Nine Feet Underground' and as mentioned Van der Graaf Generator's 'Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers' and of course Yes' 'Close To The Edge'. These epics are also seamless multi-movement suites where a number of songs at different tempos and styles are integrated into one huge epic, and if you know anything about prog you should know that these are the best examples of the genre. It allows the band to utilise all their talents into one package and they do this in spades in an impulsive feat of dextrous impetuosity. It is a blitzkrieg of virtuoso instrumental intensity. Secondly, the performance of Peter Gabriel as the actor/ storyteller is incredible. His vocals are extraordinary and hammered the nail in the coffin as the master frontman of prog rock. I saw Genesis do this live in an ancient 70s filmclip kicking around YouTube in three parts and Gabriel metamorphoses into various costumes and masks, a fox, a flower?, an impish child clown, a magician, an alien Pied Piper, a Pythagoras pyramid, to tell this epic tale of the apocalypse, or whatever it is. Which brings us to the third reason why this is a masterpiece.

The lyrics. They are strange, dark, mystifying and downright intelligently written. Once heard, the lyrics have an uncanny ability to hide in the dark shadowy corners of the subconscious where your mind makes irrational connections to the real. The song begins with the impetuous weird lyrics of 'i. Lover's Leap'. Is it about suicide? Or is it about lost love? Or something more sinster? Or merely portentous twaddle? "Walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off. Sitting beside you, I look into your eyes. As the sound of motor cars fades in the night time, I swear I saw your face change, it didn't seem quite right." It is definitely a love song, albeit a jaded romance, something is wrong and we sense it in the almost cynical, farcical manner Gabriel spits out the words. The song actually puts the reader off the scent of what is about to unfold. The Red Herring of romantic interludes "Hey my baby, don't you know our love is true" is unsettling because the song will soon detonate into some unnerving passages of music. The lyrics signify the darkness coming over the mocking sunshine music, listen to the alliteration on "Six saintly shrouded men move across the lawn slowly. The seventh walks in front with a cross held high in hand... And it's hey babe your supper's waiting for you..." hence the name of the song is mentioned, which is still a mystery to me. What is the supper, who prepared it, and who is waiting for it? We may never know, I don't think Gabriel even knew. And I don't think he cared as long as he had a chance to stalk an unprepared audience. The enigmatic lyrics are part of the progressive off kilter essence of the song. It segues seamlessly into the very bizarre 'ii. The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man'.

Here the harvest is about to begin, a biblical term for revival but what is its meaning here with contemptuous lyrics such as, "He's a supersonic scientist, He's the guaranteed eternal sanctuary man. Look, look into my mouth he cries, And all the children lost down many paths, I bet my life, you'll walk inside, Hand in hand, Gland in gland, With a spoonful of miracle, He's the guaranteed sanctuary man."

The sexualised mockery continues and transfixes, and it is daunting to hear the lyrics that will years later become the quintessence of a Queen classic, "We will rock you, rock you little snake." 'iii. Ikhnaton and Itsacon and Their Band of Merry Men' is a build up of scornful ideas that make less sense than the previous material. We hear the fabricated sound of children's voices that are chanting something rather bizarre but the music really goes pitch dark as a staccato chord clangs loud. A soft flute and guitar trade off each other as a keyboard is stroked delicately. The derisive lyrics become alienating and menacingly cold, "Killing foe for peace...bang, bang, bang. Bang, bang bang... And they're giving me a wonderful potion, 'Cos I cannot contain my emotion. And even though, I'm feeling good, Something tells me, I'd better activate my prayer capsule." So the religious overtones from the debut album, "From Genesis to Revelation", are being revisited, in fact the theme is becoming blatant at this point; "Today's a day to celebrate, the foe have met their fate. The order for rejoicing and dancing has come from warlord." It is apparent that an apocalyptic battle is about to ensue and this may be the end times as in the apocalypse in the Bible's book of Revelation, though it is unclear with the lyrics masked behind poetic metaphors, pseudonyms and psychedelic symbolism.

'iv. How Dare I Be So Beautiful?' is interesting lyrically speaking, about "Wandering in the chaos the battle has left, We climb up the mountain of human flesh, To a plateau of green grass, and green trees full of life." Do we really understand the meaning here and to be honest can we ever comprehend where this song is going? The answer is a resounding 'no', though many have attempted to interpret this and it perhaps rests on personal explanation rather than straightforward meaning explained. "We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower. A flower?" questions Gabriel. Perhaps we are seeing here a transformation or metamorphosis of an evil being, Narcissus the Greek mythological creature, changed into a pure being and Gabriel gets a chance to don his flower head gear and, with barefaced arrogance, prance around the stage.

During the concert performance of 'v. Willow Farm' Gabriel is a figure in black with flower head stalking the stage as sinister as he can get, leering and sneering with disdain. He marches in time to the stabs of music; 1, 2, 3, 4... The menacing figure of Gabriel is confronting and the lyrics are absolutely chilling, "If you go down to Willow Farm, to look for butterflies, flutterbies, gutterflies, Open your eyes, it's full of surprise, everyone lies, like the fox on the rocks, and the musical box." It's interesting that he mentions songs of the band to come such as 'Musical Box' and a close reference to "Foxtrot". Winston Churchill gets a mention and a frog that was a prince, that became a brick, then the brick became an egg, and the egg was a bird. It is like the world of Dr Seuss; perhaps the writers read "Fox In Socks" prior it penning this. Gabriel adopts a supercilious attitude as he muses that we are all as "happy as fish, and gorgeous as geese". It's fiendishly childish and pretentious and even precocious but undeniably ferocious in its original approach. Gabriel sounds pompously English as he babbles gobbledygook about the father in the office and the mother in her domestic role, "Dad diddley office, Dad diddley office.... Dad to dam to to dum to mum, Mum diddley washing, Mum diddley washing... Ooee-ooee-ooee-oowaa" , you get the point. The song itself is one of the most memorable pieces of the epic. But nothing comes close to the wonderful next section.

'vi. Apocalypse in 9/8 (featuring the delicious talents of Gabble Ratchet)' is nothing short of brilliant. The amazing time signature in 9/8 is superb with mind bending guitar and keyboards, the rhythmic bass and drums are outstanding. The audacious lyrics are as dark as Genesis gets, "With the guards of Magog, swarming around, The Pied Piper takes his children underground. The Dragon's coming out of the sea, with the shimmering silver head of wisdom looking at me. He brings down the fire from the skies, You can tell he's doing well, by the look in human eyes." There are definite references to Revelation here, shrouded in typical symbolism but nevertheless undisputable, especially the reference to "666 is no longer alone..." and "the seven trumpets blowing sweet rock and roll". A parody of Revelation in a sense, something that many heavy metal bands adopted during the great late 80s revival of metal. So as Gabriel bellows and croons with sledgehammer delivery lyrics such as "Pythagoras with the looking-glass, reflecting the full moon, In blood" , the music begins to settle down into another section and in fact bookends the opening "Hello baby" lyrics and melody, and another familiar melody is heard, and we may suspect that the song is going to end, but it is a false ending; there is one part left of this colossal beast.

'vii. As Sure as Eggs is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)' is the disorientating finale and what a finale! The amazing ending is replenished with huge fortissimo orchestral sections, mellotron style, and Gabriel's ruthless voice soars into the stratosphere. "There's an angel standing in the sun, and he's crying with a loud voice, "This is the supper of the mighty one", Lord Of Lords, King of Kings, Has returned to lead his children home, To take them to the new Jerusalem." It sounds like a Neal Morse song here. So we end with a reference to the New Heaven and New Earth in the book of Revelation. The supper is not the last supper of Jesus, it is not an ordinary supper, it is the feast of triumph when the Lord returns to take his children home in the rapture an then as the earth burns to a cinder, God will create his New Jerusalem. Well, that's my interpretation; you will have your own that will be equally as valid. ELP returns to this theme of Jerusalem, it seems the Biblical theme was one of prog bands favourites. It is the unmitigated majesty of the music and the triumphant and glorious crescendos that lift the spirit on this; it ends on a high note and it ends on a memorable lyric, this is why it is a gargantuan masterpiece.

In conclusion, 6 excellent songs that if taken alone could produce a masterpiece. But these are just taken from masterpiece albums and thrown together to make a few dollars for the band who were struggling to find form at this stage without Gabriel. Therefore the best I could manage is 3 stars. Curiously the debut album, Trespass, and Lamb Lies Down On Broadway are totally ignored for this compilation. The album could have included Musical Box, The Knife, Firth of Fifth and In The Cage if it had been a double album and this would have been a far better compilation representing each album to this point. Due to the vintage value, this is one album to grab if you see it cheap in a bargain bin on vinyl, otherwise just buy the first few Genesis albums.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#306215) | Review Permalink
Posted Saturday, October 23, 2010

Latest members reviews

2 stars So close to being awesome. Specifically the single version of "Watcher of the Skies" which remained unreleased until the Archives series. If they had asked ME to compile this, I would've switched just a couple things. Specifically if who ever initially released this (more on this in a moment) had ... (read more)

Report this review (#894996) | Posted by TheDailyVinyl | Thursday, January 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Unlike the other reviewers here I hold this collection very high. The record in question belonged to serial of albums with more or less well known seventies groups. Like all "best of", "greatest hits" or "the story of" you can always discuss the track choice, the relevance of the album or the meanin ... (read more)

Report this review (#269715) | Posted by Per Köhler | Friday, March 05, 2010 | Review Permanlink

1 stars An odd german compilation featuring tracks from Nursery Cryme ("Harold the Barrel", Harlequin" and The Fountain of Salmacis"), Foxtrot ("Watcher of the Skies" and "Supper's Ready") and Selling England by the Pound ("I Know What I Like"). The cover consists of pictures from the Lamb tour. If one r ... (read more)

Report this review (#82808) | Posted by Frasse | Wednesday, July 05, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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