Progarchives.com Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Progressive Music Lounges > Prog Blogs
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed: A look at the best prog albums through the years
  FAQ FAQ  Forum SearchSearch  Calendar   Register Register  Login Login

A look at the best prog albums through the years

 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 6>
Author
Message
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: A look at the best prog albums through the years
    Posted: May 14 2010 at 07:37

 

Welcome to my very first blog! An area I am very passionate about is the best albums of prog

I posted a series of polls to determine which were the best prog albums through the years. After painstakingly researching a number of websites of lists and favourite albums including this website here of course, I came up with a number of lists of the best albums per year. Of course this opened the floodgates for proggers to vent their frustrations on the albums that were missing but i think these lists were fair according to popular results on the web. It is impossible to include every album but these lists are as prolific as I could collate.

Here are the full lists here with album covers. Some lists have been altered according to proggers on the polls demanding certain albums be included and I concur with these requests.

  

 

Part 1:Prog Poll through the years 1967

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1967. Bear in mind of course I can’t place every album but these are the ones that seem to find their way into best of lists and are discussed by progheads.

 

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band – The Beatles

Piper At The Gates Of Dawn – Pink Floyd

Procol Harum

Axix: Bold As Love – Jimi Hendrix

Vanilla Fudge

After Bathing at Baxter’s – Jeffferson Airplane

The Masters Apprentices

Days Of Future Passed – The Moody Blues

The Moody Blues Days Of Future Passed  album cover

The Thoughts Of Emerlist Davjack – The Nice

Dear Mr Fantasy – Traffic

Surrealistic Pillow – Jefferson Airplane

Magical Mystery Tour – The Beatles

Are You Experienced? – Jimi Hendrix

The Doors

Absolutely Free - Frank Zappa

 

The results:

24 [25.26%]
12 [12.63%]
5 [5.26%]
5 [5.26%]
1 [1.05%]
1 [1.05%]
0 [0.00%]
13 [13.68%]
4 [4.21%]
1 [1.05%]
0 [0.00%]
3 [3.16%]
5 [5.26%]
13 [13.68%]
8 [8.42%]
0 [0.00%]

 

No others chosen so no need to add any!

 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 

My review:

*****Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

An album that changed the face of music forever

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has been labelled as the greatest album of all time, certainly as far as The Beatles are concerned, it is perhaps the best they have produced, though I prefer The White Album. The album is groundbreaking in terms of the concept and the musical inventiveness on every track. Heck, even the album cover is brilliant and considered the best of all time.

It begins with the crowd sounds of a fake audience and a catchy riff 'it was 20 years ago today....' the track blends seamlessly into 'A Little Help from my Friends' with Ringo's low key vocals at his best. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds the LSD trip is another highlight with psychedelic lyrics and echoing spaced out Lennon picturing himself on a boat on a river with plasticine people, newspaper taxis, and the girl with kaleidoscope eyes. It is quite simply an incredible song.

The sound effects are prominent throughout the album in particular Good Morning Good Morning with the iconic horse galloping and country sounds. The time sig change is quirky in the verses and very progressive. The way that the band used the effects is as influential to prog as any other album you can name - just take For the Benefit of Mr Kite for example, amazing wall of sound throughout and those spaced out lyrics are a treasure. The Beatles owe a lot to Beach Boys 'Pet Sounds' as has been well documented, but Sgt Pepper put it to better use, blending great rock with innovation and experimentation. This may well be the beginning of prog.

If you are still not convinced 'A Day in the Life' seals the deal. Lilting dreamy verses that build to 'I'd love to turn you on' that leads to the infamous orchestra slide ? eerie, chilling, disturbing and unforgettable. Then the keys stab as Paul begins the quaint bridge, the song has now completely changed, 'woke up, got out of bed, dragged a towel across my head...' it leads to the psych trip where 'somebody spoke and I went into a dream' ? the dream is the soundscape of a full orchestra and ambient vocals that echo to some faraway place. Then the song returns to the original tune. The ending is the orchestral crescendo that builds noisily until the final low piano chord. It continues and continues until it fades. Then we have a silence which is punctuated by a weird, off kilter loop that sounds like 'I wouldn't have it any other way' over and over. Originally this was the needle stuck in the groove of the vinyl alum but it works on CD as well.

And thus ends the most influential album in history. I think the album managed to capture everything that prog has become and it is an essential album for changing the way we listen to music and accept types of music. Dangerously experimental, ferociously original, it is beyond a masterpiece. 5 stars

 



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - November 24 2011 at 18:53
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 08:17

Part 2:Prog Poll through the years 1968

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1968. A psychedelic year of music with some incredible albums heralding the birth of experimentalism and headphone music.

After much deliberation and research here is the list:

 

In Search Of The Lost Chord – The Moody Blues

 
Electric Ladyland – Jimi Hendrix
 
 

The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown

A Saucerful of Secrets – Pink Floyd
 
 
Music In A Doll's House – Family
 
 
The Cheerful Insanity Of Giles Giles & Fripp
 
 
Caravan
 
 
Renaissance – Vanilla Fudge
 
 
This Was – Jethro Tull
 
 
Ars Longa Vita Brevis - The Nice
 
 
Soft Machine
 
 
S. F. Sorrow - The Pretty Things
 
 
 
Shine On Brightly – Procol Harum
 
 
White Album – The Beatles
 
 
We’re Only In It For The Money – Frank Zappa

 

 

 The results:

13 [12.87%]
7 [6.93%]
8 [7.92%]
21 [20.79%]
2 [1.98%]
1 [0.99%]
2 [1.98%]
2 [1.98%]
6 [5.94%]
3 [2.97%]
5 [4.95%]
2 [1.98%]
3 [2.97%]
17 [16.83%]
7 [6.93%]
2 [1.98%]

 

There were 2 choices for other:

The Collectors – The Collectors

Song of Innocence - David Axelrod

 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 

 

 My review absolutely was scathing towards this, which just shows you can't always agree with a majority!

 My Review:
 
**  Is it sacrilegious for a Pink Floyd addict to detest this?

I am a massive Floyd fan and would bleed 'Dark Side of the Moon' if you cut me, but this is the worst excuse for an album I have come across from this band. Worse than 'The Final Cut?' Well, I may draw the line there, but this is still a detestable album. Why? I will give you two reasons; Syd and Barrett. The man was a raving nutter as we all know, but he can't sing a note to save himself, that droning monotone voice is enough to make you want to pickle your granny, and before I get lynched by a pack of Floyd freaks, of course Barrett was an iconic figure, but he produced some questionable material and questionable albums, including the abysmal self pitying debut solo effort who's name escapes me at the moment. Also Waters was absolutely wrapped up in his own cerebral cortex on this effort. The music is so lacklustre, it is heart wrenching, and although Barrett only is allowed to sing on the last track, his influence is prevalent.

What are the highlights on such a mediocre album? Perhaps we have to start with the obvious, the compelling Roger Waters' masterpiece 'Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun' that has a hypnotic groove that draws you in with dark overtones and a riveting bassline. I always loved this. 'Let There Be More Light' is certainly a fabulous track with a spacey guitar feel and very moody keyboards from the incomparable Wright. Floyd can pruduce brilliant epics such as 'Echoes' and 'Shine On', but 'Saucerful of Secrets', running for a tortuous 12 minutes, is mind numbing and dull. Trimmed down it is OK, but how many spacey guitar runs and Dracula organ do we need? 'Ummagumma' provides better versions in any case. The Floyd were always better live and it seems in the studio at this stage of their careers, the four walls of a booth were stifling their creativity.

These tracks save this album from the one star bomb, but the other tracks are truly forgettable. The dreadful caterwauling of Waters' 'Corporal Clegg' is the type of puerile nonsense I am talking about. A psyched up weird thing that sounds like bubblegum now or the pale shadow of The Beatles. Listen to those kindergarten lyrics by Waters: "Corporal Clegg had a wooden leg, He won it in the war, in 1944., Corporal Clegg had a medal too In orange, red, and blue, He found it in the zoo. Dear, dear were they really sad for me? Dear, dear will they really laugh at me? Mrs. Clegg, you must be proud of him. Mrs. Clegg, another drop of gin." Does anyone really care about this anymore? In its time it probably knocked all the hippies off their heads, but now it sounds dated and obsolete.

The album has not dated well and the flower power psychedelic sounds are nauseating and at times Waters' vocals are akin to a cat scratching its claws down a blackboard; 'See Saw' is the idiot child of 'Sgt Pepper' and really is ear cringing wallowing beyond comprehension. The lyrics are childish and Wright is off with the fairies on this. "Marigolds are very much in love, but he doesn't mind, Picking up his sister, he makes his way into the seas or land, All the way she smiles, She goes up while he goes down, down, Sits on a stick in the river, Laughter in his sleep, Sister's throwing stones, hoping for a hit.." Obviously an overdose of magic mushrooms for Wright who wrote this one.

'Jugband Blues' is Barrett's paean to a love interest with his lack of songwriting skills on display: 'And I never knew the moon could be so blue, And I'm grateful that you threw away my old shoes, And brought me here instead dressed in red, And I'm wondering who could be writing this song.' OK. I rest my case.

Contrary to popular belief, not everything Floyd touched was pure gold, in fact some of their early material stinks like yesterday's diapers, and unless you were stoned to the hilt, you would have thought this album was a yawnfest. People pretend to understand it, but there is no thread of reason throughout. I realise Floydians will gush over this album, simply because it is iconic Floyd with the legend in his own mind, Barrett in all his insane glory, but just because it is iconic and from the psychedelic 60s does not necessarily mean the actual music is any good. Well, now I have released all that anguish I can move on to a better album from Floyd; take your pick, this effort is a bottom of the barrel doped up Saucerful of Secretions!

Collectors Only!

 



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - April 29 2011 at 22:11
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 08:42

Part 3:Prog Poll through the years 1969

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1969. An essential year for prog with the ultra important bands of prog releasing great debuts such as King Crimson, Genesis, Yes, Van der Graaf Generator, and Jethro Tull.

After much deliberation and research here is the list:

 

Those Who Are About To Die Salute You – Colosseum

 
Family Entertainment – Family

 

Near The Beginning – Vanilla Fudge

 
From Genesis To Revelation – Genesis
 
 
Volume 2 – Soft Machine
 
 
Tommy – The Who
 
 
Yes - Yes
album cover
 
Aerosol Grey Machine – Van der Graaf Generator
 
 
Stand Up - Jethro Tull
 
 
Trout Mask Replica – Captain Beefheart
 
 
In The Court Of The Crimson King – King Crimson
 
 
Ummagumma – Pink Floyd
 
 
Joy of a Toy – Kevin Ayers
 
 
Hot Rats – Frank Zappa
 

Abbey Road – The Beatles
 
 
The results:
 
 

 

1 [0.76%]
2 [1.52%]
1 [0.76%]
1 [0.76%]
4 [3.03%]
5 [3.79%]
4 [3.03%]
1 [0.76%]
8 [6.06%]
4 [3.03%]
69 [52.27%]
6 [4.55%]
1 [0.76%]
8 [6.06%]
15 [11.36%]
2 [1.52%]

The Others: none listed.

 

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS...

A landslide result like no other poll – I believe we have a WINNER:

 

My Review:

*****In The Court Of The Crimson King has become not only one of the most important albums of King Crimson but also one of the quintessential albums that spawned the progressive rock movement. Often quoted as the birth of prog rock, the album certainly encompasses all of the characteristics of the genre that we have grown to love: weird, jagged guitar licks, devastating drum time signatures that move outside the standard 4/4 rock signature, keyboards and mellotron pieces that balance the insanity, and all this punctuated by blazing blasts of saxophone that spiral out of control. In other words King Crimson at their best.

The influences of Jazz are prominent throughout and the band are so tight the music tends to punch holes within the fabric of the musicscapes. An example of this is in the awesome '21st Century Schizoid Man'. This song introduced me to the band and I have never looked back, getting hold of any King Crimson I can, I am proud to say I have been Krimsonized. You have to love a band that uses music to express themselves the way King Crimson does. Greg Lake's vocals in '21stCSM' are processed through a vocal transposer that make him sound like some terrible alien machine that is telling mankind where he is going wrong: "Politician's funeral pyre, Innocents raped with Napalm Fire."The lyrics are as potent as the Crim's can be. The feeling of alienation and a barren soundscape are exemplified in the way the song is structured. During the lyrics, a sense of minimalism is produced, then the wall of sound kicks in. The incredible sax and Robert Fripp's screaming guitar complement each other brilliantly throughout the opening half, and then it slows down for a moment before the time signature changes completely and there is an erratic saxophone that locks in and continues while a strange lead guitar howls and reverberates. One of the best things about this section is the way the music seems slightly off kilter, almost out of tune but not quite. There are moments where all instruments cease at once, pause and then begin on cue only to stop again in various rhythm patterns. It is quintessential listening for anyone interested in progressive rock.

Following this maelstrom of sound, the album settles down surprisingly, for where else could it go, into a very melancholy type of song, 'I Talk to the Wind'. This features Ian McDonald's woodwind and the soft vocals of Greg Lake. To be honest, it's not one of my favourite pieces, it all seems so safe and tranquil in comparison to the rest of the album, but I guess as a contrast it works well enough. 'Epitath' is a great track that has been partly resurrected by Greg Lake on ELP's excellent live epic 'Welcome Back My Friends to the Show That Never Ends' (the last few seconds on CD 1). It has a symphonic component that is created with a heavy blend of mellotron, keyboards and vibes. The lyrics are thought provoking "the wall on which the prophets write is cracking at the seams, upon the instruments of death the sunlight brightly gleams, when every man is torn apart with nightmares and with dreams..." this is where prog rock got its reputation for thought provoking lyrics. The stanzas are confusing, though enlightening and the lyrics revitalise the music, rather than detract. The two cannot exist without the other and are of equal importance. Peter Sinfield was responsible for some of the most provocative lyrics of the prog movement and he is credited on this album for 'words and illumination' interestingly enough.

'Moonchild' is the longest track and annoyingly tends to just go on and on, almost as a complete improvisation in the studio recorded without forethought at times. I know this is one of the most annoying things about this band that I love, but it is also the reason that they are outstanding; they do improvise in concert substantially, and it has garnered their reputation for jazz fusion. So it's a catch 22 - if you are into a band as experimental as King Crimson there are going to be moments in their repertoire that will infuriate you. Michael Giles drum patterns are interesting enough but unfortunately, as far as I am concerned, 'Moonchild' is just about the worst they have recorded. It should have been cut by about 6 minutes and there is too little going on for my tastes to even make this memorable. It is more or less a jazz improvisation and doesn't really go anywhere. Maybe this is why some fans adore it.

'The Court of The Crimson King' ends the album on a positive high note, although the album cover looks like the Crimson King is slowly being tortured to death. I absolutely cherish this song and it is one of the best prog tracks I have heard. Lake's vocals have never been better, and there are amazing flourishes of sweeping keyboards that send a chill down your spine. The sound goes from intense to very soft in waves and all is complimented by a stirring lyrical content: "The black queen chants the funeral march, the cracked brass bells will ring, to summon back the fire witch in the court of the crimson king."

On that note, in conclusion I will end this by stating the facts: if you care about the birth of progressive rock, if you like your prog jazzed up with a fusion of heavy mellotron, if you love saxophone interlaced with jagged guitar rhythms, if you have heard of this album but were worried to purchase it because it's so old, if you are into Emerson Lake & Palmer: look no further! This album encompasses all that makes prog rock so enticing, and in a sense it captures all that made King Crimson one of the leading progressive masters, brilliant but flawed geniuses. The Court of The Crimson King is, hands down, an essential purchase

 



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - April 29 2011 at 22:12
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 08:52

There were actually 3 choices for other:

Sea Shanties - High Tide 
 

 

 

 
Phallus Dei - Amon Duul 2
 

 

The Advancement - The Advancement 
 
 
 
 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - May 28 2010 at 07:34
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 09:18

Part 4:Prog Poll through the years 1970

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1970.

An Amazing year of prog with strong debuts from eclectic and symphonic legends and some of the best music you will ever hear in this selection. After much deliberation and research here is the list:

 

The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other – Van der Graaf Generator

 
Kobaia – Magma
 
 
Abraxas - Santana
 
 
Benefit – Jethro Tull
 
 
In The Wake Of Poseidon – King Crimson
 
 
Third - Soft Machine
 
 
Time and A Word – Yes
 
album cover
 
John Barleycorn Must Die – Traffic
 
 
If I Could Do It All Over Again, I'd Do It All Over You – Caravan
 
 
Gentle Giant - Gentle Giant
 
 
Atom Heart Mother – Pink Floyd
 
 
Trespass – Genesis
 
Emerson Lake & Palmer
 
 
Lizard – King Crimson
 
 
H To He Who Am The Only One - Van der Graaf Generator

 

 

The Results:

 

2 [1.64%]
5 [4.10%]
4 [3.28%]
3 [2.46%]
4 [3.28%]
1 [0.82%]
3 [2.46%]
5 [4.10%]
2 [1.64%]
10 [8.20%]
19 [18.03%]
17 [14.75%]
18 [15.57%]
20 [16.39%]
1 [0.82%]
3 [2.46%]

 

 

The Others:

 Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath

 
 
Fran Storstad - Bjorn J:Son Lindh
 
 
In Rock - Deep Purple
 
 
 

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS...

 

H To He Who Am The Only One - Van der Graaf Generator

 

My Review:

***** H to He Who Am the Only One is an excellent album from Van der Graaf Generator, definitely one of their best alongside Pawn Hearts (their best), the much celebrated Godbluff and the incredible The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other. The album begins with the dynamic 'Killer' which is easily the best track on the album and a concert favourite. It focuses on a narrative perspective from a killer shark who wants to be loved but has an impulse to kill outside of its control: "You crave companionship... because the whole of your life you've been living alone". Interesting enough, the real highlight beyond the lyrics is the way Hammill delivers with absolute conviction and the way that the instruments compliment the keyboards with saxophones and percussion that is off beat at times but never out of time. Perfectly in synch, all the instruments blend to create a soundscape of doom and majesty and it captures the imagination unlike anything the early 70s had to offer. At 8 minutes the track flows beautifully from one segment to another, and features an erratic instrumental break that almost transports you under the sea witnessing a shark attack, the shrill saxophone bursts could be a fish screaming in pain, and the deep rumbles could be the shark swimming to its next meal. 'Killer' is an instant classic and a must for anyone interested in this genre of music.

'House With No Door' is one of the contemplative existentialist pensive tracks where Hammill contemplates life and the purpose for his existence.

'Emperor in his War Room' gets back to the greatness of VDGG, a torrid saga of an Emperor who "cradling his gun, after choosing the ones you think should die... crawling over the windowsill into your living room." The bodies that are "torn by vultures" are left to die by the "saviour of the fallen, protector of the weak". Once again terrific lyrics overladen by mellotron, atmospheric drums and saxophone, and the relentless bass.

"Lost" is another brilliant track that begins with a swirling dervish of keyboards and wrong chords that are used to maximum effect. It's as good as it gets and moves all over the place, with time signatures that are difficult to emulate. This is one of the more complex tracks from the band, and features an excellent saxophone and keyboard solo that drives the song forward to the final section The Dance in the Forest. One part pulses with a driving bass while a thin saxophone contains a strong esoteric melody. The echo of the saxophone adds to the sense of alienation and bleakness. It all ends on an off kilter series of notes that speed up into a frenzy that finally fades out.

'Pioneers Over C' is one of the best VDGG tracks and begins with a high pitched atmospheric note, then a low rumbling Hammond keeps the jagged rhythm in tact somehow, while the percussion kicks in. It's a great sound and prepares the way for Hammill's spaced out lyrics. "Somebody help me I am falling down" he cries. I just love the riff of the bass and sax in this track that stops and starts and even features quite a beautiful acoustic arrangement and spars saxophone. "The universe is on fire exploding without flame" - fair enough if the universe is going to go foom it may as well be to the melodies of VDGG. Heavy stuff throughout it never becomes overbearing thanks to the excellent structures of each track that range from tranquility to an out of control maelstrom.

The bonus tracks are surprisingly good and worth the effort. "Squid/Octopus" is a fantastic lengthy 15 minute epic that works well on a number of levels. From the estranged vocals, "I wish that you would set me free forever, but these rings on my arms are too deep...", down to the way it blasts and spews waves of noise using instruments from acoustic guitar to mellotron. I love the way it loses control halfway through almost improvisational in places and then somehow finds its way again, nobody could jam like these guys. The end is stuffed up with an added cymbal hit and the band members curse and laugh. But who would care after the way this track spiralled all over the place, but I guess these guys were perfectionists.

The early take of 'Emperor in His war Room' is more or less a curio and is a rare look at the makings of a classic track. It does sound different without the overdubs and atmospherics but is no the less the better for it.

Overall, H to He... is absolutely quintessential VDGG and my CD collection would be the poorer without it. Along with Pawn Hearts and Godbluff, I can't recommend this more highly.

 

 
This was followed very closely by Trespass - Genesis (when poll closed more votes came in making this a virtual winner by a vote)
 
 
 
My Review:
 
 *** After the quiet breeze there is a hailstorm of chaotic drums, a thunderclap of stormy distorted organ and soaring guitar solos, with an injection of venomous, sniping vocals.

"Trespass" is the first album from Genesis since they parted with Jonathan King and Decca labels to pursue a more distinct sound, that of the 'pastoral English idyll'. The album features some of the first use of Multi-tracked 12-string acoustic guitars that are blended with folky vocal harmonies, quiet flute, acoustic piano, and gentle keyboard pads on the Hammond and mellotron. It begins with an isolated secluded atmosphere in the form of 'Looking For Someone' that is certainly not a sound the band would return to on subsequent albums. The band were very unsure at times of their sound Anthony Phillips holds back on guitar preferring an acoustic approach, John Mayhew gently touched his drums, Peter Gabriel is quiet and calm, Mike Rutherford maintains simple basslines, Tony Banks prefers a subtle keyboard motif - all this of course is transformed into glorious prog chaos on the last track.

'White Mountain' is a Gabriel driven storytelling work with lyrics that would typify the Gabriel-era Genesis; "Thin hung the web like a trap in a cage, The fox lay asleep in his lair. Fangs frantic paws told the tale of his sin, Far off the chase shrieked revenge. Outcast he trespassed where no wolf may tread, The last sacred haunt of the dead. He learnt of a truth which only one wolf may know, The sceptre and crown of a king. Howling for blood, one-eye leads on the pack, Plunging through forest and snowstorm." Gabriel was perhaps inspired by Rudyard Kipling in this quirky tale of two wolves battling for a mystical crown. The music peaks at the end of each verse and slows into the pastoral English feel, Gabriel's voice is even fed through a machine echo effect at one point. The rhythm is maintained during the verse, with Gabriel part of the rhythm. The quieter moments of the song are characterised by flute and acoustic flourishes. The mellotron builds a cathedral atmosphere in the break. A wonderful song from the album characterising a new sound akin to Canterbury but still distinctive.

'Visions of Angels' is a softer track with some staccato moments and grinding organ and angel harmonies. The softer moments of the track are almost like a fairy tale and then there is a darker razor edge to the music with some ethereal piano and mellotron. The flute lends it's folky pastoral quality to the piece. Gabriel has a phased effect on his voice in one section, abut he is master of the storyteller style and once again he dominates the track: "Visions of angels all around, Dance in the sky, Leaving me here, Forever goodbye."

'Stagnation' is acoustically driven and has a soft Gabriel vocal and a lilting melody that goes nowhere and is a folk soaked passage of estranged lyrics and atmospherics. The guitar is well executed here picking style and a chiming keyboard adds a mystical quality with descending shapes and chilling notes pulled down the scale almost ghostly. The other worldly sound builds with an electrifying instrumental passage capitalising on organ and a quick tempo beat with basslines and drums adding the metrical pattern. The flute shines on this when Gabriel sings gently: "Wait, there still is time for washing in the pool, Wash away the past. Moon, my long-lost friend is smiling from above, Smiling at my tears. Come well walk the path to take us to my home, Keep outside the night. The ice-cold knife has come to decorate the dead, Somehow. And each will find a home, And there will still be time, For loving my friend, you are there..." It even sounds like The Moody Blues at one point. The rhythm builds again and Gabriel ad libs all sorts of nonsense to end this, "I want a drink, I want a drink, To wash out the filth that is deep in my guts, I want a drink." The flute returns over a clean guitar sound that has that distinct pastoral quality. Once again an underrated track from this horrendously underrated album.

'Dusk' is a very gentle calming track with some strange harmonies that remind me of early Pink Floyd or The Moody Blues. The lyrics are as whimsical as ever; "Once Jesus suffered, Heaven could not see him. And now my ship is sinking, The captain stands alone. A pawn on a chessboard, A false move by God will now destroy me, But wait, on the horizon, A new dawn seems to be rising, Never to recall this passerby, born to die."

There are bell chimes and a loaded flute that is played beautifully by Gabriel, adding a unique atmosphere, very tranquil and dreamy. The acoustic is once again a main factor and there are heavy crashes of piano. Not too bad but only a shadow of the next track which is a bonafide classic.

'The Knife' is a real fish out of water here, the most famous track on the album beginning with a staccato Hammond worthy of Emerson and in fact Keith was impressed with the sound and let the band know it. Gabriel was quite attracted with The Nice and the song 'Rondo' and in trying to capture this sound came up with a track that would typify the Genesis sound on their next album "Nursery Cryme". The Hammond and one note fuzz bass intro this excellent prog exploration.

The lyrics are a real point of interest and Gabriel frighteningly sneers his way through them with utter conviction; "Stand up and fight, for you know we are right, We will strike at the lies, That have spread like disease through our minds. Soon we'll have won and we'll treasure this worth, With our winnings and kindness To all who our love now deserve, Some of you are going to die, Martyrs, of course, to the freedom I will provide." The song's lyrics focus on Gabriel's reflections on violent revolutions, and the lyrics determine to explore how those who use violence all in the name of freedom are often the ones who actually establish their own dictatorship.

In the mid section the dark Hammond sound ceases and a bass booms with a violining guitar created by volume swells, and then a lilting haunting flute, subtle cymbal clangs on the ride cymbal and a beautiful keyboard pad providing a dark ambience. Then a fuzzed electric guitar is heard with Rutherford's fuzz bass, an off kilter chord structure, and phased vocals chant with a tape loop of screaming and voices, the birth pangs of prog are right here. The guitars have a chance to launch into flight with some of the best work from Anthony Phillips.

After you have been lulled to sleep by all the gentle pastoralness of the previous tracks with their one note bass passages and dreamscape instrumentals you are suddenly jolted back to life with 'The Knife'. After the quiet breeze there is a hailstorm of chaotic drums, a thunderclap of stormy distorted organ and soaring guitar solos, with an injection of venomous, sniping vocals. It is not for nothing that this song closed the Genesis set for years after and is the only track fans want to talk about from 'Trespass'. The song in fact trespasses across the green fields and sets fire to them. The firestorm is a mixture of chemicals fuelled by psychedelic guitar passages, crunching fuzz bass, and blazing Hammond.

The dynamic nuances are augmented by psychotic lyrics; "I'll give you the names of those you must kill, Then have all burned and quickly, Cover them up in Trafalgar square, Hurry to see, you'll see them dead In this ugly world, Ready to fight for your freedom, Now, when I give a word, Hang 'em on high, let the blood flow..." The disturbing lyrics are enhanced by massive stabs of Hammond and gut wrenching guitar riffs but the fuzz bass is so entrenched upon the sound that it is as heavy as the band would get. An absolute masterpiece of prog.

In conclusion it would be unrealistic that I rate this anything more than 3 stars as the greatness of Genesis was yet to come. But this is still a solid slice of early prog and 'The Knife' is an outstanding track, one of the essential blasts of creativity from the Gabriel era. The knife stabbed in the album cover signifies that the band are slicing their ties with commercialism and dragging across a blade to usher in a new progressive sound that would become symphonic prog. It is interesting to note that the album cover has a pastoral feel with religious overtones, a couple stare lovingly out the arch toward the distant horizon and a cupid creature dances merrily in the foreground, but the knife stabbed in the back gatefold is like the stab in the heart of the pastoral idyll, the way 'The Knife' stabs in at the end of the album, infiltrating the quiet atmosphere, almost tacked on as an afterthought is intriguing; it is one thing to swim against the flow but here the goldfish has jumped out of the bowl. Perhaps the band were experimenting, and trying to ascertain what would happen if they pulled out all the stops and attempted a 'Rondo'. The result was a success and opened the floodgates for a prog sound like no other in the years to come. Overall, the album is a genuine curio showing the birth of a band that is ready to catapult into the progosphere with their next adventure, the awesome "Nursery Cryme".



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - April 29 2011 at 22:13
Back to Top
progpositivity View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: December 15 2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 220
Post Options Post Options   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 21:27
Wow!  This is a very well-presented tour of highlights from 1967 through 1970!  Fantastic!
 
Are you planning on continuing to move into the 1970's in this blog sometime in the future? 
 
If so, when is the deadline for 1971?  I'd better quit being lazy and get out there to VOTE soon!   Clap
Positively the best Prog and Fusion 24/7!
http://www.progpositivity.com
Back to Top
progpositivity View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: December 15 2007
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 220
Post Options Post Options   Quote progpositivity Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 21:54
OK - I voted throughout the years.  Smile
But Yikes!  Selecting just 1 album from some of these years can be painful!  Dead
Positively the best Prog and Fusion 24/7!
http://www.progpositivity.com
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 22:41
Originally posted by progpositivity

Wow!  This is a very well-presented tour of highlights from 1967 through 1970!  Fantastic!
 
Are you planning on continuing to move into the 1970's in this blog sometime in the future? 
 
If so, when is the deadline for 1971?  I'd better quit being lazy and get out there to VOTE soon!   Clap
Thanks for voting my friend. Yeah I had to cut the votes off as soon as I post here on this blog as its been going long enough to indicate clear winners.
 
 
i am also planning to review each album listed.... a lifetime achievement... perhapsLOL
 
 
Back to Top
UndercoverBoy View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar

Joined: November 10 2009
Location: Tulsa, OK, U.S.
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 5148
Post Options Post Options   Quote UndercoverBoy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 22:58
Originally posted by AtomicCrimsonRush

And the WINNER IS:

 

H To He Who Am The Only One - Van der Graaf Generator

 

My Review: *****

H to He Who Am the Only One is an excellent album from Van der Graaf Generator, definitely one of their best alongside Pawn Hearts (their best), the much celebrated Godbluff and the incredible The Least We Can Do Is Wave To Each Other. The album begins with the dynamic 'Killer' which is easily the best track on the album and a concert favourite. It focuses on a narrative perspective from a killer shark who wants to be loved but has an impulse to kill outside of its control: "You crave companionship... because the whole of your life you've been living alone". Interesting enough, the real highlight beyond the lyrics is the way Hammill delivers with absolute conviction and the way that the instruments compliment the keyboards with saxophones and percussion that is off beat at times but never out of time. Perfectly in synch, all the instruments blend to create a soundscape of doom and majesty and it captures the imagination unlike anything the early 70s had to offer. At 8 minutes the track flows beautifully from one segment to another, and features an erratic instrumental break that almost transports you under the sea witnessing a shark attack, the shrill saxophone bursts could be a fish screaming in pain, and the deep rumbles could be the shark swimming to its next meal. 'Killer' is an instant classic and a must for anyone interested in this genre of music.

'House With No Door' is one of the contemplative existentialist pensive tracks where Hammill contemplates life and the purpose for his existence.

'Emperor in his War Room' gets back to the greatness of VDGG, a torrid saga of an Emperor who "cradling his gun, after choosing the ones you think should die... crawling over the windowsill into your living room." The bodies that are "torn by vultures" are left to die by the "saviour of the fallen, protector of the weak". Once again terrific lyrics overladen by mellotron, atmospheric drums and saxophone, and the relentless bass.

"Lost" is another brilliant track that begins with a swirling dervish of keyboards and wrong chords that are used to maximum effect. It's as good as it gets and moves all over the place, with time signatures that are difficult to emulate. This is one of the more complex tracks from the band, and features an excellent saxophone and keyboard solo that drives the song forward to the final section The Dance in the Forest. One part pulses with a driving bass while a thin saxophone contains a strong esoteric melody. The echo of the saxophone adds to the sense of alienation and bleakness. It all ends on an off kilter series of notes that speed up into a frenzy that finally fades out.

'Pioneers Over C' is one of the best VDGG tracks and begins with a high pitched atmospheric note, then a low rumbling Hammond keeps the jagged rhythm in tact somehow, while the percussion kicks in. It's a great sound and prepares the way for Hammill's spaced out lyrics. "Somebody help me I am falling down" he cries. I just love the riff of the bass and sax in this track that stops and starts and even features quite a beautiful acoustic arrangement and spars saxophone. "The universe is on fire exploding without flame" - fair enough if the universe is going to go foom it may as well be to the melodies of VDGG. Heavy stuff throughout it never becomes overbearing thanks to the excellent structures of each track that range from tranquility to an out of control maelstrom.

The bonus tracks are surprisingly good and worth the effort. "Squid/Octopus" is a fantastic lengthy 15 minute epic that works well on a number of levels. From the estranged vocals, "I wish that you would set me free forever, but these rings on my arms are too deep...", down to the way it blasts and spews waves of noise using instruments from acoustic guitar to mellotron. I love the way it loses control halfway through almost improvisational in places and then somehow finds its way again, nobody could jam like these guys. The end is stuffed up with an added cymbal hit and the band members curse and laugh. But who would care after the way this track spiralled all over the place, but I guess these guys were perfectionists.

The early take of 'Emperor in His war Room' is more or less a curio and is a rare look at the makings of a classic track. It does sound different without the overdubs and atmospherics but is no the less the better for it.

Overall, H to He... is absolutely quintessential VDGG and my CD collection would be the poorer without it. Along with Pawn Hearts and Godbluff, I can't recommend this more highly.

 

ClapClapClap
Back to Top
Logan View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Forum Moderator

Joined: April 05 2006
Location: Utopia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 12137
Post Options Post Options   Quote Logan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 23:14
You've put a lot of work into this.  Excellent job, and this should prove a useful resource!  I'm really fascinated by the early years of progressive psych/rock, the foundations of prog, and related scenes/ styles of the time.
Back to Top
Slartibartfast View Drop Down
Prog Reviewer
Prog Reviewer
Avatar

Joined: April 29 2006
Location: Atlantais
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 27158
Post Options Post Options   Quote Slartibartfast Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 23:32
It's a really fun thread just to scroll through really fast thanks to the images.  Big smile  Well done so far, but don't slip up.  Tongue

Edited by Slartibartfast - May 14 2010 at 23:33
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 23:40

 

Part 5:Prog Poll through the years 1971

 

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1971.

Amazing sounds of early 70s with a plethora of masterpiece albums that are still discussed and revered today. This was toughest choice thus far but I had to go for these:

 

 

Death Walks Behind You – Atomic Rooster

 
The Polite Force – Egg
 
 
The Yes Album – Yes
 
 

Aqualung – Jethro Tull

 
In The Land Of Grey And Pink – Caravan
 
 
Tarkus - Emerson Lake & Palmer
 
 
Ash ra Tempel - Ash ra Tempel 
 
 
In Search Of Space – Hawkwind
 
 
Pawn Hearts - Van Der Graaf Generator
 
 
Meddle – Pink Floyd
 
 
Nursery Cryme – Genesis

 
Camembert Electrique – Gong
 
 
 

The Inner Mounting Flame – Mahavishnu Orchestra

 
Gila-Free Electric Sound - Gila
 
 
Fragile – Yes

 

 

 The Results:

2 [1.47%]
2 [1.47%]
10 [7.35%]
8 [5.88%]
9 [6.62%]
8 [5.88%]
2 [1.47%]
1 [0.74%]
19 [13.97%]
11 [8.09%]
32 [23.53%]
2 [1.47%]
4 [2.94%]
1 [0.74%]
20 [14.71%]
5 [3.68%]

 

 

There were more choices for other than previous polls and these were the choices specified, some with multiple votes:

 Tago Mago - Can
 
 
 First Utterance - Comus

 

 

 
And a list of alternatives was posted:
Spirogyra - St. Radigunds
 
Matching mole - self titled
 
Strawbs - From the witchwood
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
King Crimson - Islands
 
Gentle Giant - Acquiring the taste
 
Samla mammas mannas - self titled
 
 

AND THE WINNER IS...

Nursery Cryme – Genesis

 

 
My Review:
 

***** A pandora's box of prog delicacies; Mother Goose laid the Golden Egg

Third time for Genesis and they finally got it right. Everything that was great about "Trespass", namely their classic album closer 'The Knife' was captured on every track. "Nursery Cryme" is the first Genesis masterpiece and what an incredible improvement it is from the first two albums; the band hit their peak with amazing compositions such as 'Musical Box' and 'Seven Stones' or 'Fountain of Samalcis'. The Genesis lineup here is the most revered with Gabriel, Rutherford, Banks, Collins and Hackett. The production is wonderful with intricate mixing of instrumentation and Gabriel's vocals are kept back blended in with the music rather than overbearing as on "Trespass". Each track tends to create an atmosphere and tell a story that is captured by the beautiful iconic cover illustration that is an enigmatic collage of all things Genesis.

'Musical Box' is a marathon of dark and light shades, a consistent pulling of tension and release, with musical virtuoso as never before heard by the band. 'Musical Box' is a dynamic exploration of symphonic pomp prog. They are undisputed on this track and it remains one of the all time treasured masterpieces of Genesis and indeed prog history. The chord progressions are intricately executed with a dozen or so melodies and time sigs pastiched over one another to create a soundscape montage. Gabriel pleads, "Play me Old King Cole, That I may join with you, All your hearts now seem so far from me, It hardly seems to matter now.... Play me my song, here it comes again". The references to Lewis Carroll echo the album artwork, and there are huge dollops of black humour and an enchanting Gothic mystical fragility. The flute is sweet and beautiful, and it plays over a dark tirade of Rutherford's heavy bass and Hackett's guitar. Gabriel is pastoral with flute and gentle vocals for the first section and then it builds to the dramatic blast of fire that explodes and rains down over shadowy volcanoes of molten mellotron. The time sig changes as a swell of organs and Hackett shines in the lead break, the sound cascades down from speaker to speaker teasing the ears, like an aural torture device. Then it settles as the 'Old King Cole' nursery rhyme is sung. It could be pretentious but it sounds moody and serious. Gabriel gets intimate on, "The clock tick tock on the mantelpiece and I want you to feel... and I know how to touch the wall." The music detonates into huge bombastic phased organ waves that crash down on the beach as a thunderclap of drums and bass blast the hemispheres. It lulls into an unnerving quiet guitar picking as the vocals state, "she's a lady and she's got time, brush back your hair, and let me get to know your flesh." The church pipe organ presents a religious feel and the drums tend to build and then a huge swell of pipe organ drowns out Gabriel begging us to touch him now. This completes an absolute blitz of song structures within songs and it coincides with the final paroxysm of energy from Hackett and Banks trading off perfectly with stop start ruptures of sound. This track is, in a word, unparalleled.

'For Absent Friends' is a short ballad or transition between two brilliant tracks. Phil Collins takes the driver's seat with warm vocals as lead singer in a prophecy of his later involvement when he would transform the sound of Genesis. The lyrics are full of religiosity, and obscure twisted dogma; "Inside the archway the priest greets them with a courteous nod. He's close to God. Looking back at days of four instead of two. Years seem so few. Heads bent in prayer for friends not there." It makes a nice resting place for tranquillity and a stream of calm waters before the storm rages.

The clouds of thunder roll as 'Return of the Giant Hogweed' crashes in. It begins with a mesmirising angular riff and then the wondrous chord structure to signal in the verse; "Turn and run, Nothing can stop them, Around every river and canal their power is growing. Stamp them out, We must destroy them. They infiltrate each city with their thick dark warning odour" . Gabriel is passionate and sneering as he belts out the verses and utters chilling warnings such as, "Waste no time, They are approaching. Hurry now, we must protect ourselves and find some shelter, Strike by night, They are defenceless. They all need the sun to photosensitize their venom." Only Genesis could include words like 'photosynthesize' in their lyrics. The Hammond sounds are articulated by bursts of energy ignited from Hackett's blazing guitar. It lulls in to a quiet passage that builds gradually into a heavy riff. The time sigs are all over the place and consistently change in this exploration of progression. There is a repeated pattern of song structure verse to verse and the instrumentation finally drives into a break with some complex patterns with flute, organ, corrosive fuzz bass and striking guitar in a fractured musicscape. The piano chimes in as all goes quiet and the threat of more chaos is imminent. There is a lovely keyboard solo here with a quirky rhythm and distorted lead guitar. The melody is transformed into dark textures and the sound becomes aggressive and more intense. The threat of the music is echoed by the threat of the Giant Hogweed on it's spiteful quest for revenge against the human race. The nightmarish imagery taken from a B grade sci fi movie perhaps, is perfect fodder for Gabriel to showcase his theatrical abilities; "Botanical creature stirs, seeking revenge. Royal beast did not forget. Soon they escaped, spreading their seed, preparing for an onslaught, threatening the human race." In concert of course he would have a ball dressing up as botanical semi-crustaceous metamorphosed lunatic creature and he reveled in the unreality of his psychotic altered universe. The music mimics the horror tale alarmingly, even to the point of retelling its own story with funeral marches and music hall waltzes, a sound of ridiculed terror. Looming metrical changes make dark clouds cover the landscape with shadowy clouds as we draw to a close this masterful piece of music.

'Seven Stones' has lovely melodic passages with Gabriel taking control over the thickly layered organ and guitars. The music is allowed to breathe as instruments die down and a piccolo sound is heard and Gabriel on flute. His story telling qualities are exemplary on this track; "Tinker, alone within a storm, And losing hope he clears the leaves beneath a tree, Seven stones Lay on the ground." As the song progresses Gabriel tells the strange tale of the "Sailors, in peril on the sea" and "The Captain turns the boat" and the "Farmer, who knows not when to sow" . It is a nursery style again in line with the thematic title. This song truly grows on you with each listen, especially the wordless chorus sections. The way the vocals augment the music is incredible and the instrumental break here is alight with sweeping mellotron creating an uplifting atmosphere that dominates and builds higher into the clouds to meet the sun rays of very emotional string orchestrated sounds. It is a majestic quality that only Genesis can maintain. The mellotron ends this and the final product is one of the most beautiful Genesis classics.

There is still a tongue in cheek thread on songs such as 'Harold The Barrel' which 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 couldn’t 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.

'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. Masterpiece track to complete a masterpiece album.

In conclusion, ladies and gentlemen this is a classic legendary album that raised the bar for 70s prog, and subsequently this led to "Foxtrot" and "Selling England By the Pound" which are even better by comparison. Genesis were at the peak of their powers with this lineup and they were to enjoy some incredibly prolific years in the music scene until the final decision for Gabriel to seek out greener pastures. The grass has never been greener though with the 70s Genesis sound; an indelible trademark style and a lineup that could be termed as lightning in a bottle.

 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - May 31 2011 at 23:34
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 23:42
Originally posted by Slartibartfast

It's a really fun thread just to scroll through really fast thanks to the images.  Big smile  Well done so far, but don't slip up.  Tongue
very encouraging thank you so much!
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 23:44
Originally posted by Logan

You've put a lot of work into this.  Excellent job, and this should prove a useful resource!  I'm really fascinated by the early years of progressive psych/rock, the foundations of prog, and related scenes/ styles of the time.
Thanks very much. StarYou are all inspiring me to keep going with this! It takes hours just to post one section! But I have wanted to create a webpage for ages but htis is going to be it! Hope you all enjoy the results. i will be working on this more and more, editing and improving the sections.Smile
Back to Top
DamoXt7942 View Drop Down
Forum & Site Admin Group
Forum & Site Admin Group
Avatar
Moderator / Psych Team

Joined: October 15 2008
Location: Okayama, Japan
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 9301
Post Options Post Options   Quote DamoXt7942 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 14 2010 at 23:55
The dawn of progressive rock scene is very excellent, I always feel.

Great work, bravo! Clap
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2010 at 00:53
Originally posted by DamoXt7942

The dawn of progressive rock scene is very excellent, I always feel.

Great work, bravo! Clap
i apreciate that and looking at this is really an eye opener isn't it to see how important certain albums are.
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2010 at 01:12

Part 6:Prog Poll through the years 1972

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1972.

An amazing selection with new bands absolutely dominating the prog scene and legends releasing masterpieces never bettered. This was ridiculously hard to come up with only 15 but here they are:

 

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso – Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

 
Neu! – Neu!
 
 
Waterloo Lily – Caravan
 
 
Thick As A Brick – Jethro Tull
 
 
Space Shanty - Khan
 
 
666: Apocalypse of St John – Aphrodite’s Child
 
 
Darwin! – Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
 
 
Three Friends - Gentle Giant
 
 
A Tab In The Ocean – Nektar
 
 
Close To The Edge – Yes
 
 
Foxtrot – Genesis
 
 
Per Un Amico – Premiata Forneri Marconi
 
 
Uomo Di Pezza – Le Orme
 
 
Lady Lake - Gnidrolog
 
 
Argus – Wishbone Ash

 

Poll Choice

Votes

Poll Statistics

Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso – Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

2

[1.67%]

Neu! - Neu!

1

[0.83%]

Waterloo Lily – Caravan

0

[0.00%]

Thick As A Brick – Jethro Tull

20

[16.67%]

Space Shanty - Khan

3

[2.50%]

666: Apocalypse of St John – Aphrodite’s Child

3

[2.50%]

Darwin! – Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso

3

[2.50%]

Three Friends - Gentle Giant

2

[1.67%]

A Tab In The Ocean – Nektar

4

[3.33%]

Close To The Edge – Yes

47

[39.17%]

Foxtrot – Genesis

23

[19.17%]

Per Un Amico – Premiata Forneri Marconi

1

[0.83%]

Uomo Di Pezza – Le Orme

2

[1.67%]

Lady Lake – Gnidrolog

1

[0.83%]

Argus - Wishbone Ash

1

 

 

I had to remove Others option as I made an error. However there were a few suggestions:

The Moody Blues’ Seventh Sojourn

 
Agitation Free’s Malesch
 
 

Herbie Hancock's Crossings

 
 Jean-Claude Vannier's L'enfant assassin des mouches
 
 
William Sheller's Lux Aeterna
 
 

Uriah Heep’s Demons & Wizards

 

 

 

AND THE WINNER IS...

The WINNER IS by a huge margin:

Close To The Edge – Yes

 

 

 My Review:

***** 'Close to the Edge' is one of the greatest albums of all time.

It features the showpiece title track that spans the entire vinyl length of side one, a masterstroke in its day that was repeated by many prog artists and continues to be used to this day, notably Mars Volta, Dream Theater, and Spock's Beard. 'Close to the Edge' centers on the them of getting as close as possible to enlightenment toward a cosmic consciousness and suggests in order to achieve this we must break free of the cycle of the social system that causes turmoil. This theme is based on Hesses' 'Siddhartha', a favourite of Jon Anderson's. The journey from materialism to spiritualism is captured by the use of sparse orchestral arrangements, featuring primarily Wakeman's organ phrases and the spacey guitar of Steve Howe. These minimalist feminine sections are augmented by the masculine rock sections balancing out the quieter moments. The multi-movement suite shifts metrical patterns throughout and climaxes with the huge wall of sound that is essential Yes. There is a wonderful blend of pipe organ and Moog synthesiser building to a crescendo. The sonata form structure is powerfully realised, utilising an opening theme, transition, a second theme, and a final closure. Mozart put to rock. The track is captured perfectly on live performance from 'Yessongs' and 'Symphonic'. Both pieces are masterfully executed.

'And You and I' is my favourite Yes track, after 'Starship Trooper', and it balances out the epic and the last track perfectly. It begins with the beautiful acoustic vibrations of Howe, a real beauty that meanders like a flowing stream. Then we are thrown over the waterfall as the majestic wall of keyboards bursts through like sun bursting through dark clouds. The vocals are simply awesome throughout. The next section allows the mini epic to breathe and changes a new direction that keeps the metronome working overtime with changes in time signatures. Then the last movement is the apocalypse which is a soundwave of multi-layered textures and nuances. This is absolutely incredible music and the live experience captured on 'Tsongas' DVD sends chills down my spine everytime as the gold lights hit the audience and they stand in ovation as Anderson raises his arms like some demi god.

The final track is also excellent; the hard rocking 'Siberian Khatru' that features excellent guitar riffs and that pounding Wakeman motif with chaotic punctuation.

3 tracks of utter brilliance, this is an album that stands the test of time.

 



Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - October 21 2011 at 09:20
Back to Top
cstack3 View Drop Down
Forum Senior Member
Forum Senior Member
Avatar
VIP Member

Joined: July 20 2009
Location: Chicago, IL USA
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 2256
Post Options Post Options   Quote cstack3 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2010 at 01:38
Thanks for the hard work, it was great to read the results and scan all the LP covers!  Wonderful stuff!    However, I don't think I saw "Larks Tongues In Aspic" listed! 
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2010 at 02:18
Part 7: Prog Poll through the years 1973

 

Top 15 - Here is the prog poll for definitive albums of 1973. Bear in mind of course I can’t place every album but these are the ones that seem to find their way into best of lists and are discussed by progheads.

A very strong selection of prog was released and kept the prog genre very much alive and kicking. Drove me crazy trying to get this list down to 15 but this is a good selection. I am stunned that this many masterpeices were released in one year, my favourite year for classic prog:

 
Dark Side Of The Moon – Pink Floyd
 
Photos Of Ghosts - Premiata Forneria Marconi
 
 
Larks' Tongues In Aspic – King Crimson
 
 
Flying Teapot – Gong
 
 
Space Ritual – Hawkwind
 
 
Felona & Sorona – Le Orme
 
 
Birds Of Fire – Mahavishnu Orchestra
 
 
For Girls Who Grow Plump In The Night – Caravan
 
 
Selling England By The Pound – Genesis
 
 
Remember The Future – Nektar
 
 
Angel's Egg – Gong
 
 
Brain Salad Surgery – Emerson Lake & Palmer
 
 
Mekanοk Destruktοw Kommandφh – Magma
 
 
Io Sono Nato Libero– Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso
 
 
Arbeit Macht Frei - Area

 

 
The results:
 
 
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
39 [31.45%]
0 [0.00%]
12 [9.68%]
0 [0.00%]
1 [0.81%]
2 [1.61%]
1 [0.81%]
0 [0.00%]
40 [32.26%]
3 [2.42%]
5 [4.03%]
8 [6.45%]
2 [1.61%]
2 [1.61%]
1 [0.81%]
8 [6.45%]
 
There were a number of others chosen, with passion might I add, including:
 

The Six Wives of Henry the VIII – Rick Wakeman

 

 

Illusions on a Double Dimple - Triumvirat

 

Herbie Hancock - Sextant

 

Billy Cobham - Spectrum

Billy Cobham Spectrum album cover

A Passion Play – Jethro Tull

 

Voice -  Capability Brown

 

 

Tales From Topographic Oceans - Yes

 

 

In a Glass House - Gentle Giant

 
 
 
This actually went down to the wire and I had to open the polls for 30 extra minutes just to find a winner. It was between:
 
album cover
 
and
 
album cover
 
 
Two deserving winners! But at the last minute of the poll a vote came in:
 
 

AND THE WINNERS ARE...

 

GENESIS


My Review.

 
***** A perfect balance of elements; lyrical sketches, virtuosic instrumentation and theatrical vocals.

Review #966. On "Selling England By The Pound" Genesis prove themselves to be creative visionaries. The entire musical arrangement is tighter and structured with instrumental breaks that are virtuoso on their own merits. There seems to be a stronger cohesion and unification of melodic musical ideas, with each member having a chance to shine as never before. Banks in particular flourishes on classical piano pieces and lengthy synthesizer breaks. There are no lengthy epics but there are long songs clocking around 10 minutes, such as "The Cinema Show", "The Battle of Epping Forest" and "Firth of Fifth" that have become classic Genesis tracks, highly memorable due to lengthy instrumental passages, odd time signatures, key changes and mood shifts along with quirky thematic content.

The magical and most loved lineup of Genesis is here: Peter Gabriel, a tour de force on lead vocals, flute, oboe; Phil Collins, magnificent on drums, percussion, and vocals (he takes the lead vocals on "More Fool Me" signifying his eventual ability to be the Genesis front man on Gabriel's departure); Steve Hackett, a master of lead guitar, acoustics, vocals and electric coral sitar (on "I Know What I like"); Mike Rutherford, extraordinary on bass guitar, bass pedals, rhythm guitar, and cello (on "Dancing With The Moonlight Knight"); and the incomparable Tony Banks, on vocals, piano, keyboards, and acoustic guitar (on "The Cinema Show"). Together they are perhaps the definitive Genesis, never to be surpassed for sheer musical excellence and creativity. Every track is fresh, ferociously original and first class.

The lyrics of "Dancing With The Moonlit Knight" typify the high strangeness of the album; "Off we go with, You play the hobbyhorse, I'll play the fool, We'll tease the bull, ringing round & loud, loud & round, Follow on, With a twist of the world we go." It features extreme time sig changes and theatrical vocals; Genesis takes the storytelling qualities of previous albums and gives it a vibrant injection of polished instrumental prowess.

The single from the album came in the unlikely form of a song about a lawnmower. That's right 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.

"Cinema Show" features a bombastic refrain and some incredible passages of synth and jazz drumming. It has a catchy melody that grabs hold and creates an ethereal atmosphere. Rutherford and Hackett's acoustic guitars begin the piece and the natural progression to fully loaded synthesizer dominates. It has become one of the Genesis masterpieces that are quintessential to the group's long career. Gabriel's infatuation over T. S. Eliot is apparent in the lyrics; "I will make my bed, She said, but turned to go, Can she be late for her cinema show? Romeo locks his basement flat, And scurries up the stair." The Shakespeare references are a nice touch and give the track a mediaeval historical relevance. In the reunion tour the song made an appearance to an enraptured crowd, as did many other songs from the album such as "Firth of Fifth".

In the virtuosic "Firth of Fifth", the piano intro signifies England's greener fields, a similar feel to Emerson Lake & Palmer's "The Gates of Kiev" from "Pictures of an Exhibition". The tempo is a strong rhythm full of grandeur and majestic Hammond; a religious cathedral like atmosphere ensues. Gabriel is at his theatrical best; "Urge the sailors on, till lured by the sirens' cry", and the medieval theme of beautiful sirens luring sailors is mimicked with alluring music. The interlude of synth and guitar embellishments with augmented keys are very emotive. There are tranquil melodies in one of the most celebrated passages of music generated from Genesis. The melody is played live on the DVD "Genesis in Rome" without lyrics and is as powerful and majestic as ever. "Now as the river dissolves in sea, So Neptune has claimed another soul. And so with gods and men" the lyrics continue, presenting a typical mythological theme. The melancholy piano is accompanied by an up tempo synth with a sombre guitar and these tend to blend together to build a solid block of sound. It is a mesmirising track and certainly a definitive Genesis classic.

The epitome of the progressive side of the band is captured in the way the tracks vary so diversely from track to track. There is even a Collins ballad, his first lead vocal for the group, in the song "More Fool Me". Perhaps this prophesises the impact of Collins upon the group in the 1980s and indeed his solo career that was replete with power ballads.

"The Battle Of Epping Forest" is an 11 minute 43 seconds romp through the tale of two rival gangs and the violence of the slaughter is sent up rather than taken seriously. Yet the darkness of the battle royale is embedded in the lyrics; "In with a left hook is the bethnal green butcher, But he's countered on the right by Mick's chain-gang fight, And liquid len, with his smashed bottle men, Is lobbing Bob the Nob across the gob. With his kisser in a mess, Bob seems under stress, But Jones the Jug hits Len right in the mug, And Harold Demure, who's still not quite sure, Fires acorns from out of his sling, here come the cavalry!" It is all over done with a lot of theatrical Gabrielisms but it works as a memorable lyrical sketch of fired up nonsense.

"After The Ordeal" and "Aisle of Plenty" are less memorable but still pack a wallop as part of the overall soundscape. The album ends with the reprise of musical motifs that began the album, a kind of cycle of musical ideas, returning to the past.

Overall "Selling England By The Pound" stands the test of time as a bonafide Genesis masterpeice, undoubtedly among the best the band would create. It is hailed as a treasure among the prog community today, specifically for the three showpieces "Dancing With The Moonlight Knight", "Firth of Fifth" and "The Cinema Show". The single released in 1974 certainly didn't do any harm either as it peaked at #21 in the UK, spending 7 weeks in the charts. The album is quite simply a masterpiece with Genesis at the peak of their powers before they crash landed in the 80s. The album is one of my favourite prog albums due to the consistency of quality and I will always revere "Firth of Fifth" especially due to that amazing instrumental break where Banks takes off into full flight on keyboards. The album is an example of how music can sound when all the elements are balanced perfectly; when everything was working right, Genesis were untouchable.

 

Here is the runner up:

 

 

 

 

My Review:

*****   "A short sharp shock" to prog rock. Review #763 - 1097 words

Inspired by the mental collapse of Syd Barrett and often cited as the greatest album of all time, DSOTM is a bonafide masterpiece that has been more influential to prog than perhaps any other album of the 70s. The music is a soundscape of soaring mellotron, awesome lead guitar and pulsating bass and percussion. It's the ultimate prog album and has managed to transcend music itself with its heavy concept of time, money, death, renewal, and descent into madness.

"Speak To Me" begins with the heartbeat and vulgar phrase of madness and it builds to a crescendo of a screaming lunatic that finally releases into a wash of sliding keyboards and clean guitar strums. All this in the space if a couple of minutes. We hear the clock ticking as if life is slowly ebbing away, or it may be the mind becoming bereft of sanity, lapsing to madness. Bleak concepts, but the album has an optimistic, uplifting ambience throughout.

"Breathe" is a gem that packs beauty and life into the soundstream. The lyrics focus on the pointless frustration of pursuing goals but then missing out on appreciating abundant life to the full.

"On the Run" is the techno-machination sound of industry and manic laughter, signifying the lunatic brainwashed by social systems. Does industrial society mechanize us, change us into machines, or are we in control? We are on the run due to a paranoia of technology. The fear of flying is also a theme, encapsulated live with the doomed airplane as it explodes into a ball of flame in to the speaker stacks; this is a running theme in much of later PF works (notable "Learning to Fly").

"Time" is one of my favourite tracks with an excellent melody and amazing instrumental work. The clock chimes signify the alarm call where madness waits at the door, but time is wasted and we have achieved nothing. The reprise to "Breathe" is welcome and brings us back to where the album began preparing us for the masterpiece and most talked about track on the album.

"The Great Gig in the Sky" is an astral journey to the realm of death. Clare Torrys' wailing is like the moans of childbirth or in this case rebirth as we cross over to the plain of non existence into the next life, which feels like heaven mid way through the track as Torry evokes softer nuances, with angelic tones that sends shivers up the spine. Her howls and moans expressed in full voice signify the ecstasy of freedom and the agony of death. In concert three ladies took up the task of the three segments to showcase their incredible talented voices, but on the album Torry masterfully improvises the life and death pangs in such an emotive style, it is astounding. Thus ends the brilliant side one. Could it get better? Indeed. "Money" begins side two with the ka-ching of cold hard cash, the root of all evil. This is my favourite track with one of the best bass lines in rock history, and played in a 7/8 time signature. The riff is disconcerting, complex and Gilmour's jangly guitar splashes complement the bass perfectly. The lyrics speak of money as the corruptible force that causes the filthy rich to blow millions on cars, leer jets, football teams and diamonds. The lyrics are ironic with a dark, satirical nature, but the effects of money and its misuse have never been more eloquently stated. The lyrics were read out by the school Master to tease the little boy on "The Wall" movie. Of course these lyrics and the song provided millions for the band. The money corrupted Pink Floyd too, their beliefs and values, the very thing the song was protesting. The saxophone solo is utterly brilliant and the way the song changes time signature is inspirational.

The pace slows considerably on "Us and Them" a song about belonging in a world that treats you as an outcast unless you can fit into the mould that society creates. The track relies heavily on clean guitar and mellotron and seems to float along like a stream of sound. The song's lyrics speak of those who are on the street because they cannot cope with the world, and those who are able to cope and therefore off the streets and safe in the cookie cutter mould of social integration. The song has political connotations seen in the live footage played in concert with images of famous presidents such as Thatcher and Bush.

"Any Colour You Like" has some wonderful shimmering Hammond and is a beautiful instrumental - one of PF's best. The track was named based on Ford advertising campaign 'Ford's are available in any colour you like, as long as it's black.' The album's black cover with colour prism strips could be a reference.

"Brain Damage" is about Syd, the PF relic that burned out to madness. The lyrics suggest the lunatic is within us but we manage to keep it locked up somehow, but it's like an animal that may escape its cage if we don't manage to keep a leash on our sanity.

The finale is "Eclipse" . The music soars as Waters muses about 'all that we touch', see and feel is eclipsed by the moon. The image of the dead moon, the dead conscious, is blocked out by the huge sun, the life force; the intelligence eclipsed by insanity. But there is an optimistic note amidst the dark side; everyone shares the feelings of hope amidst despair, and we can conquer over our hopelessness by embracing each other: 'There is no dark side of the moon, a matter of fact, it's all dark'. And the heartbeat that we heard at the beginning pounds and finally subsides. The heartbeat brings the album full circle and we can begin the album again and it blends seamlessly like a never ending cycle. And thus ends the penultimate prog classic that may well be the greatest album of all time. It peeked in the top 100 UK releases, the top 40 prog list in MOJO magazine and indeed on a recent television special the top Australian album of all time.

The album can be played while watching 'Wizard of Oz' and somehow works perfectly synchronized to the visuals in uncanny fashion. For more on this see the websites Darkside of Wizard of Oz. In any case, the album is the penultimate prog classic and will never be bettered for sheer volume and impact upon the prog scene. 5 stars without doubt.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Edited by AtomicCrimsonRush - November 24 2011 at 18:58
Back to Top
AtomicCrimsonRush View Drop Down
Special Collaborator
Special Collaborator
Avatar
Symphonic Team

Joined: July 02 2008
Location: Australia
Online Status: Offline
Posts: 13906
Post Options Post Options   Quote AtomicCrimsonRush Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May 15 2010 at 02:20
Originally posted by cstack3

Thanks for the hard work, it was great to read the results and scan all the LP covers!  Wonderful stuff!    However, I don't think I saw "Larks Tongues In Aspic" listed! 
 
Thats OK, thanks for that. Larks Tongues is in the 1973 poll!Wink
 
 
Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply Page  123 6>

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down

Bulletin Board Software by Web Wiz Forums® version 9.69
Copyright ©2001-2010 Web Wiz

This page was generated in 1.031 seconds.