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Poor Genetic Material - Winter's Edge CD (album) cover


Poor Genetic Material


Crossover Prog

3.88 | 12 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
5 stars It is somewhat laughable but equally disturbing when fans of classic neo progressive rock hold up any form of early 1980s prog as a measuring stick for all remotely related prog to follow. Such was the case with a review of this, the third POOR GENETIC MATERIAL album in their season's suite, on another prog website, a simplistic argument that eschews this band's varied origins and influences while diminishing their own contributions to the broader genre. It's akin to dismissing Boston as a failed imitation of a European city, or Quebecois French as the linguistic trailer trash of la langue to Moliere.

This lucid mood oriented album bears so many skillfully absorbed influences from so many periods of rock, such as the proto prog of BEGGARS' OPERA (not surprisingly given the presence of PHIL GRIFFITHS, son of MARTIN, on vocals), the pre new age aesthetics of JADE WARRIOR, the sedately elegant ambiance of DAVID SYLVIAN's and BRIAN ENO's best works, and the dreamy quality of TRANSIENCE. I even believe that PGM has irrigated others' creativity, such as fellow Germans DICE. But most importantly, this intensely melodic and unified work is a model for the album as an indivisible body of work that transports the listener into a parallel realm with an eclipsing natural order. It's a world in which bestowals are granted neither too conveniently nor too laboriously.

Musically, while matters are inclined to the mellow and even shimmering, the audio palette is ever shifting, and the guitars of Stefan Glomb along with a stalwart rhythm section can be thanked for this. Glomb imparts atmospheres on a planetary scale through acoustic, electric strummed, and deftly distorted lead textures. Philipp Jaehn's keys are mostly supportive organ and synth, reaching their pinnacle on "Nuage Blue". Recurring sumptuous themes on the two title cuts and even the hidden closing half track enhance the aspect of reverie. Phil Griffiths' voice emphasizes both technical proficiency and emotion over style, and is one of prog's purest.

The cover art is inspiring. The titles are evocative, like "Sharp Ends Sudden Crests" or "Protean Profile", reflecting with their contents not the stormy qualities of the wintry night but the placid vertical snowfalls that can accompany a nordic ski through the woodlands or a chill, in vibe only, evening by the hearth.

kenethlevine | 5/5 |


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