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Genesis - Foxtrot CD (album) cover

FOXTROT

Genesis

 

Symphonic Prog

4.60 | 3593 ratings

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TenYearsAfter
5 stars The ultimate chapter in the book of progressive rock.

Looking back at more than 50 years of progressive rock (with 1967 as the starting point) I come to the conclusion that Foxtrot (1972) is the album that I consider as the most captivating, dynamic and interesting prog album. For me the other best Classic Prog albums all fail to impress me like this Peter Gabriel-era highlight does: King Crimson and VDGG are too quirky (and to me the Hammill vocals sound like a nervous Bowie), Yes, ELP and Gentle Giant are conservatory prog (I often miss the element emotion), only Sixties and Seventies Pink Floyd comes close.

Looking at the line-up on Foxtrot in 1972, you can say that the members had pretty different, contrasting and conflicting personalities: the poshy Rutherford and Banks with their acoustic 12-string guitars, the shy Hackett who loved Robert Fripp his fiery electric guitar work, the down to earth Phil Collins with his powerful and dynamic drum pyrotechnics, and, last but not least, Peter Gabriel with his highly imaginitive world and creative mind, and his unique emotional vocals.

The six strong and varied compositions on Foxtrot, loaded with tension and dynamics, are the result of five strong personalities, and very talented musicians and composers. The one moment you hear lush 12-string acoustic guitar, soaring Mellotron and tender flute (pastoral prog, the folky side), the other moment heavy and bombastic outbursts with swirling Hammond, harder-edged guitar work and powerful, very emotional vocals (Watcher Of The Skies and Get 'em out by Friday) . Or from a majestic Mellotron intro (Watcher Of The Skies) to a warm classical guitar piece (the very short Horizons). Genesis also delivers cascades of interesting, adventurous or subtle musical ideas, topped with Peter Gabriel his unique voice featuring that slightly melancholical undertone. These elements add an extra dimension to tracks like Time Table (delicate work on guitar and keyboards and wonderful, very moving vocals) and Can-Utility and the Coastliners (exciting break with awesome Mellotron work).

The absolute highlight on this album is Supper's Ready, the epic of all epics, a 23 minutes prog eargasm. In this magnum opus Genesis rises to the occasion on Foxtrot, in this place all the interesting elements of their music are incorporated into one historical epic composition: strongly changing climates with dreamy 12-string acoustic guitars (Banks, Rutherford and Hackett), the unique Mellotron work and the distinctive Hammond organ play by Banks, the powerful Rickenbacker bass by Rutherford, and Collins his inventive and dynamic drums. This is topped by Gabriel his varied and unique vocals, singing legendary lines like "Walking across the sitting-room, I turn the television off", "We watch in reverence, as Narcissus is turned to a flower. A flower?" and "If you go down to a willow farm, to look for butterflies, flutterboys, gutterflies" (splendid Newspeak). The final two parts (6 and 7) are unsurpassed progrock history.

In Apocalypse in 9/8 (part 6) there's a sudden shifting mood, with a hypnotizing, pretty omimous propulsive rhythm, the dramatic vocals by Gabriel are legendary: "With the guards of Magog, swarming around ..."). After "You'd better not compromise. It won't be easy". Now Tony Banks starts his mindblowing organ solo that starts classical and gradually turns into psychedelic, goose bumps! Then Peter sings "Six, six, six .. " (the Anti- Christ) and soon majestic Mellotron waves can be heard after "In blood, he's writing the lyrics of a brand new tune" and "And it's .. . hey, babe, with your guardian eyes so blue ..", what a compelling blend of music and lyrics!

In As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)" (part 7) there's a flowing continuation from part 6 and turns into a majestic, very compeling grand finale with howling electric guitar leads and powerful organ runs. In the end Gabriel sings "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" (this is a metaphore for the victory from Good over Evil), and the music fades away, leaving the listener in a euphoric prog mood.

This music epitomizes Genesis at its artistic pinnacle, presenting an unique blend of classical, folk, rock and psychedelia, an unique blend of skills and emotion, an unique blend of musicians, and an unique blend of instruments, from the lush 12- strings acoustic guitars to the unsurpassed Mellotron and adventurous electric guitar sound by the underrated guitar legend Steve Hackett, with his distinctive tapping (years before Van Halen) and volume pedal, and heavy outbursts, inspired by his hero Robert Fripp (the master of turning underpressed emotions into an agressvie guitar sound). These elements are the reason why I am so carried away on Foxtrot. And the contrasting moods are more extreme and compelling, even more emotional and exciting than DSOTM and WSWH by Pink Floyd, two other Classic Prog favourites of mine. Foxtrot still succeeds to generate a lot of excitement and to keep my full attention for every second, even after more than 45 years!

TenYearsAfter | 5/5 |

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