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Dave Greenslade

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Dave Greenslade The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony album cover
2.41 | 49 ratings | 10 reviews | 10% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Introit (4:05)
2. Moondance (3:09)
3. Beltempest (2:41)
4. Glass (3:02)
5. Three Brides (5:56)
6. Birds & Bats & Dragonflies (3:48)
7. Nursery Hymn (3:32)
8. The Minstrel (2:42)
9. Fresco / Kashrinn (2:24)
10. Barcarole (3:51)
11. Dry Land (3:54)
12. Forest Kingdom (3:53)
13. Vivat Regina (3:44)
14. Scream But Not Heard (2:57)
15. Mischief (5:36)
16. War (3:06)
17. Lament For The Sea (3:08)
18. Miasma Generator (5:32)
19. Exile (2:33)
20. Jubilate (3:00)
21. The Tiger And The Dove (5:35)

Total Time: 78:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Dave Greenslade / piano, church organ, Hohner clavinet, Mellotron, synths (Minimoog, Polymoog, Prophet 5, Roland RS202, Yamaha Cs60/Cs80, ARP Explorer / Omni, CAT Synth, Crumar Stringman, Kitten Synth, SDS Drum Synth 3), Sennheiser vocoder, tubular bells, vibraphone, composer & arranger

- Kate Greenslade / child vocals (7)
- Phil Collins / percussion (5,10,13,17-19)
- John Lingwood / percussion (6,8,16,17)

Releases information

Artwork: Patrick Woodroffe

LPx2 EMI ‎- EMSP 332 (1979, UK)

CD BGO Records ‎- BGOCD170 (1994, UK) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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DAVE GREENSLADE The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony ratings distribution

(49 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (29%)
Poor. Only for completionists (12%)

DAVE GREENSLADE The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
3 stars Grand epic fantasy concept album dominated with the keyboard genius of Dave GREENSLADE. Based on the wonderful world created and inked by artist Patrick Woodroffe, GREENSLADE transports us musically into his wonderful world. GREENSLADE is assisted throughout by both Phil Collins and John Lingwood on the drums and daughter Kate Greenslade who was 2 years old at the time. In many ways "Pentateuch" plays like a childhood nursery rhyme with GREENSLADE's choice of colorful themes and passages. Along the way we are treated to some nice varieties of keyboards with Mellotron, Church Organ, Polymoog, Tubular Bells, Minimoog, Clavinet, Vibraphone to name a few.

I suspect that this recording may not be for everybody, but I have always loved the fantasy concept like albums and this one is luscious. If you are lucky enough to find the BGO CD copy you will be amazed at how well the re-mastered version really sounds (Super Bit Mapping). The packaging is also superb with 48 page colored book to keep you entertained full of Woodroffe's fine art.

Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Full marks for presentation

Although this album is listed here under Dave Greenslade it is in fact credited to PATRICK WOODROFFE and DAVE GREENSLADE. Woodroffe is a writer/artist, and thus does not actually play a note on the album. "The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony" is in reality Dave Greenslade's second solo album.

Greenslade of course found a measure of fame with Colosseum, and subsequently with his eponymous band, although the latter never really made it. Once Greenslade (the band) had run its course and disbanded, Dave Greenslade decided to peruse a solo career. "The Penteteuch Of The Cosmogony" (don't ask me how to pronounce that!) finds him trading in his pianos and organs (he does however borrow a church organ!) for an impressive array of synthesisers, and some tubular bells.

The album is a concept one, based on a fantasy tale by Woodroffe originally published in book form but repeated in the bulging booklet which accompanies this album. Woodroffe also created the many wonderful illustrations which appear therein. The story is set towards the end of the 24th century. By this time, man's efforts (which as we know are clearly well underway) to destroy his home planet have finally succeeded, and the race has dispersed to other planets of the solar system, the "Ten worlds".

In the story, the "Penteteuch Of The Cosmogony" are 5 books of ancient scripture, describing the creation and destruction of the "home planet", i.e. Earth. The story goes on at some length, indeed in almost scientific proportions, to describe how difficult it is to communicate using languages, and this how the books are written using the universal language of signs.

As for the music itself, the sound here is somewhat different to the prog rock of Greenslade, the album consisting of 21 short tracks which link together to form a whole. Apart from the appearance of Phil Collins playing percussion on 6 of the tracks, John Linwood doing likewise on a further two, and Kate Greenslade (then aged 2½) providing child vocals on "Nursery Hymn", everything you hear is performed by Dave Greenslade.

Unfortunately, despite the wonderful concept and presentation, the actual music is something of a disappointment. There are similarities with the work of Jean Michel Jarre, and Vangelis, even perhaps some of Rick Wakeman's truly solo albums, but the closest reference is probably Tomita. The problem is that the whole thing rapidly becomes dull and laborious. The absence of singing, apart from the very occasional processed vocals, or indeed much in the way of variation in the sound or pace makes it a real challenge to stay interested after just a couple of tracks.

The melodies are pleasant but uninspired, lapsing from the ambient to the monotonous. I have seen it suggested that the album is more enjoyable if heard in conjunction with reading the book. Since it is not actually feasible to co-ordinate the tracks on the album with browsing the chapters of the book in real time, it would appear that reading the book merely provides a distraction from the shortcomings of the music.

A wonderfully lavish package, with a superb concept and plenty of promise, let down by a lack of inspiration where it really matters, in the music.

Review by Joolz
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Musical Wallpaper? Or ....

Conceived, written and illustrated by fantasy artist and writer Patrick Woodroffe, The Pentateuch was his first fully-fledged art-book combined with Dave Greenslade's second solo album, released at a time when the punk revolution had revised the outlook of many former Prog musicians!

The Book

The Pentateuch Of The Cosmogony [literally meaning 'the 5 books of the origin of the universe'] is a fantasy 'creation myth-cycle' presented as a pseudo-scientific decipherment of an ancient document. Beginning with a description of how the document came to be found, it then details the ideographic 'language' employed [ideograms are like, for example, our modern road signs] before presenting a "suggested interpretation" which takes up the bulk of the work. The text is laid out as a series of 5 'books' each sub-divided into many 'verses' and extensively illustrated. Briefly, the story shows how a world was created, populated by deities and men, before being destroyed by the hateful vengeance of an overlooked deity called Ildrinn. Ildrinn subsequently took her hate, and her human followers, into a never ending journey through space, an endless search for contentment. It is of course based on known creation myth-cycles, but is also an allegorical look at the condition of humanity.

While the story may not be to everybody's taste, the colourful illustrations will attract more attention. Some are large-scale paintings covering a whole page or more, while others are smaller details which accompany the text. All are rendered in Woodroffe's highly imaginative style, depicting a world full of strange mutated beings, like an evil flying spider with eagle's wings and beak, or an underwater fairy with a fish-like body. One or two of the set-piece paintings are simply stunning: for example 'Peace - The Happy Savage' is a skillful evocation of a pastoral heavenly innocence with a wealth of fine detail.

The Music

Let's face it, the music was never going to win any awards for originality! Somewhat different from the varied mixture of his first solo album, this is an all keyboard affair, with occasional assistance from drums and vocoded vocals - oh yes, and his 2 year old daughter urging us to "come and play". Aside from that it was all down to Dave and his large assortment of keyboard based instruments, including Mellotron, church organ, piano, tubular bells and the much-loved voices of a host of classic vintage synths.

Greenslade's music is light of hand and fleet of foot. It cheerily skips and jumps over fat bouncy bass lines. It meanders dreamily among slowly evolving ambient textures. It beguiles with charmingly simple melodies. It is intimate and airy in nature, yet satisfyingly warm and organic. It is instrumentally sparse and concise. It maintains a consistency of 'soul' throughout. It trips along pleasantly without being at all demanding, and could easily be used as a background for a dinner party, or writing reviews on a PC! But above all, it is nice!

The music succeeds - and fails - in variable degrees as a tool to illustrate the story, partly depending on the imagination of the listener. Beltempest, for instance, a track depicting the Lord Of Air, successfully invokes the first living being floating on air and making the first sounds. Conversely, Forest Kingdom, a funked up piece with Phil Collins on drums, entirely fails to conjur a forest world full of magical and mysterious creatures. Then again, Mischief & War cleverly imply a build up of arms and division of kingdoms by the use of a marching motif with an increasing amount of dissonance and harmonic breakdown, ending on a simulated nuclear strike.

As with any interpretive music, its success is often dependant on the amount of effort the listener is prepared to put in. Taken on its own you will likely find the music bland, boring and uninspired but take time to study and absorb the music and story together and you will be rewarded. It becomes transformed beyond a merely OK piece of nostalgic electronica to a deeper and ultimately more satisfying experience, though hardly in the same league as Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony!


In 1994 BGO Records finally released Greenslade's music as a CD. They have made a fair enough stab at presenting as much of the original book as possible and reproducing it as a high quality booklet. Inevitably it suffers in comparison: those magnificent full size illustrations are now too small to fully appreciate the detail work, and text is now borderline for comfort, especially the ideogram chart for which a magnifying glass is essential. The music was remastered by Greenslade and sounds superb, with a crisp and clear soundstage.

Personally, I adore the book and have a soft spot (or, should that be blind spot?) for the music. For that reason I am giving it 4 stars, but bear in mind the original 12 inch version is the one to get for the book - though now a hard to find collector's item - while the CD reissue is best for the music.

.... Science Fiction Masterpiece

Review by NJprogfan
2 stars Here's an album I bought basically for the artwork. I knew Dave Greenslade from his days with his band GREENSLADE. I loved the bands mellow prog with few vocal numbers. I thought his solo album would be more of the same, but I was SO wrong. First off, there's no guitars whatsoever, and second, although Phil Collins is listed as a drummer on the album you'd swear it was drum machines on the entire album. If you cringe hearing disco style prog, then you'll want to skip a few tracks, (Moondance, for example) especially when ABBA comes to mind ;-). It has a very dated sound and cannot say what other artists it sounds like mainly because it's not my style of prog. But, if you're a fan of keyboard music then this might be for you. I LOVE the artwork that comes with the CD. Just incredible! The storyline is very 70's sci-fi/fantasy, but it's the music that counts. And I count only 2 stars for this one.
Review by Finnforest
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
1 stars For a very limited audience

You really need to be a complete synthesizer devotee to commit hard-earned funds to this title. There just isn't a compelling reason to go near it otherwise. What you have here is 78 minutes of inoffensive and ineffective synthesizer rambling that neither impresses or inspires. The most creative way I could think of to describe this painful ordeal is that it sounds like the creation of a middle school music teacher who won a contest to write a backing track for a condominium promotional video. The video would show a couple having drinks watching the sunset on their porch and this is the background music. Sarcastic perhaps, but this album is really pretty weak and the prog audience deserves to be warned. To recap this album is an instrumental (almost entirely) conceptual album in which Greenslade plays every synthesizer in the book to create the imagery behind a convoluted Sci-Fi epic that is nearly enough to make even the most dedicated progger trade his collection for a Ramones t-shirt. Problem one is the cheesy sound of his synth choices which are often paired up with some almost disco-beat drumming. The songs themselves and the keyboard playing is rarely satisfying or compelling. Second, there is little apparent correlation between the cheesy synths and the elaborate story presented in the booklet. Since there are no vocals, the story must be told and communicated by the music and it fails in doing so. These keys impart no mood, warmth, or imagery that even get close to what I'd hope a prog musician might do trying to sell a grand story like this one. You would think that with all of the high-minded concepts and certain emotional dramas playing out in the story, you might hear some wide-ranging instrumental and vocal arrangements expressing these moments.but no, just another section of noodling synths and boring melodies. Last, the thing just drags on for 80 minutes with very little variation in the approach. Besides a few guest percussion or vocalization tidbits there is nothing but poorly executed composition and poor selection of instrumentation. I can't imagine what possessed Phil Collins to participate in this, there must be a personal friendship there. The one bright spot is the incredible art work presented in the generous booklet but I am rating the music here, not the artwork. I rarely give an album one star but I really can find no reason to give it anything higher. This was a complete waste of my time and money and fails even as "background" music. I do not recommend this album to anyone unless you are a huge keyboard enthusiast interested in all the various machinery being tapped here. Or unless you are a collector of cool album art. For anyone who ever thought Tales from Topographic Oceans was pretentious and uneventful...oh my ain't heard nuthin' til you hear this.

This is a harsh review. Perhaps I've got it completely backwards and this strange work is a masterpiece for reasons over my head-I will always be one to admit that I could be wrong. If so, my apologies to Mr. Greenslade.

Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars The stage has been set brilliantly by Easy Livin who depicted the story quite good (as Joolz did as well). In terms of music, there are some good moments on this concept album, but out of seventy eight (!) minutes of music, these are just too short unfortunately.

My remarks regarding his first solo work are still valid: great musical skills but limited song writer. Even if the scenario was written by an external source for this project. I always have had some difficulties to link an all instrumental concept album with its storyboard and this one is no other.

The listener also needs to share some weak tracks, totally uninspired like "Three Brides". Sometimes, this album flirts with ambient music as well, and I have to say that these are probably what suits me best ("Nursery Hymn"). Some folkish atmosphere (accordingly) for "The Minstrel" isn't too bad either. Some sort of "Oldfield" derivative.

The attempt on "vocals" during the weird "Barcarole" clearly indicates that the choice for an (almost) all instrumental effort was indeed a good choice. This reggae oriented masquerade is probably the worst moment available. Press next. As soon as you can (same sort of feeling prevails for "Vivat Regina").

This is not a good album, I'm afraid. I respect the man as a musician, but he couldn't really thrilled me during his career (being with his band or as a solo artist). This effort is waaaaay too long to be interesting.

I'm lacking fine melodies, lyrical beauty, and inspired solo. Nothing as such unfortunately: just a succession of average tracks (at best, like "Mischief"). My fave is the TD oriented (no wonder) "The Tiger & The Dove" which is a clear mark in their musical territory. I'd like to have more of this excellent music here. But it's the closing number?When you reach this one, there is only one feel: damned! I've made it!

Two stars for the skills of the man.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars The music is as weird as the title and the cover art!

This strangely titled album is the absolute low point of Dave Greenslade's long musical career. Anyone expecting an album similar to his first solo album, Cactus Choir, or to the Greenslade (the band) albums is in for quite a surprise. The nature of this music is radically different from those earlier efforts. The keyboards used here do not have any Greenslade's previous signature sounds; here we have only synthesisers! Well, there are actually drums and percussion on some of the tracks, some of which are played by the great Phil Collins. But without the warmer tones of guitars, bass, vocals or any "natural" instrument, this music comes across as cold and barren, much like the scene depicted on the cover. And after listening to the whole album in one session - it runs for almost 80 minutes! - you might very well feel a bit like the being on that picture.

In many ways, The Pentateuch of the Cosmogony can be thought of as the "dark side" of Rick Wakeman's Rhapsodies album and sometimes it reminds of some of Vangelis lesser works. The synthesiser sounds chosen do not always fit the melodies and some times they sound very immature. There are some pleasant parts too, but they do not make up for the many bad parts. The album is almost entirely instrumental but there are some vocals, mostly done with the help of that awful thing the Vocoder!

Further, there are many passages that come across as totally directionless. You often wonder what the overall musical idea was, if there was any! Most probably this is the result of Dave's playing around with his new synthesisers rather than actually composing music.

I can recommend this album only to Dave Greenslade's most devoted fans and followers (and even for them it is likely to be just a curiosity and collector's item rather than an enjoyable listen).

Latest members reviews

3 stars A boring album of Dave Greenslade. A electronic not good realization that don't have nothing special. Small tracks without context, that made we sad when we listen some very good albuns of greenslade band, and listen this work of one principal musician that made some of very good progressive ... (read more)

Report this review (#267413) | Posted by Joćo Paulo | Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I remember buying this when it came out, as I was very taken by the book itself. It was probably the oddest item I ever had in my LP collection, since there is much more of Patrick Woodroffe than Dave Greenslade in this. Admittedly, I've heard very little else of Dave Greenslade's work - solo or ... (read more)

Report this review (#146723) | Posted by oldgoat | Wednesday, October 24, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars the truth is that the music without the book doesen't have to much sense...the art of PATRICK WOODROFFE is just wonderfull. in fact maybe the reason I like the album is becouse the art and the beauty of the story. the music only plays an admosferic rol that hepls you to get unto this woderfull ... (read more)

Report this review (#29356) | Posted by | Sunday, September 19, 2004 | Review Permanlink

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