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METAPHOR

Neo-Prog • United States


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Metaphor biography
Founded in San Francisco, USA in 1993

METAPHOR was formed by Malcolm Smith (guitars), Marc Spooner (keyboards), Bob Koehler (drums), and doing the bass and vocal works, brothers Vince and Robert Montia, respectively. It happened in 1993, in California, USA and the original band line-up specialized in covering the songs of UK-progressive band Genesis, from the so-called Gabriel Era (1970-1975).
In 1997, after the departure of brothers Montia, Jim Post joined as the bassist and John Mabry as vocalist/lyricist. Rehearsals began with much of the music written previously by M. Smith and M. Spooner, as well as one done by Bob Koehler, added by two others from the new member John Mabry; so in 1998, they started recording their debut CD.
In 1999, METAPHOR completed the recording of their debut, "Starfooted", at Suspect Studios in Sunnyvale, California, and subsequently signed a record contract with Galileo Records, a Swiss progressive rock label. "Starfooted" was released in April, 2000.
Bassist Jim Post decided to leave the band in 2000 and he was replaced by Jim Anderson, who is now responsible for duties related to bass and bass pedals and also helping in the composing department. The following year, METAPHOR directed their time on composing and arranging a lot of new material; later this year, drummer Bob Koehler left the band and they had to count with guest drummer Jeff Baker for their second CD, "Entertaining Thanatos" released in 2004. In 2005, percussionist Greg Miller (coming from the neo-prog band Mind Furniture) joined METAPHOR.
In 2006-2007, METAPHOR wrote, arranged, rehearsed, recorded, and released their 3rd CD, "The Sparrow", which is based on the best selling novel of the same name by Mary Doria Russell. Members of METAPHOR have also worked on various side projects, with the promise of a new collection of METAPHOR music in the not-too-distant future.
METAPHOR sound has everything able to please prog fans: mellotron, odd-time signatures, many complex rhythm changes, good compositions and arrangements. However, they are not too derivative of any particular band, although the influences of a number of past and present progressive rock bands can be fairly discerned: YES, GENTLE GIANT, KING CRIMSON, CAMEL, IQ, The FLOWER KINGS, ALAN PARSONS PROJECT, MARILLION and JETHRO TULL.

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The PearlThe Pearl
Trope Audio
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StarfootedStarfooted
Rock Symphony
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$14.90 (used)
Entertaining ThanatosEntertaining Thanatos
CD Baby 2016
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METAPHOR discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

METAPHOR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.64 | 58 ratings
Starfooted
2000
3.41 | 35 ratings
Entertaining Thanatos
2004
3.35 | 30 ratings
The Sparrow
2007
3.33 | 23 ratings
The Pearl
2019

METAPHOR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

METAPHOR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

METAPHOR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

METAPHOR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

METAPHOR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Pearl by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.33 | 23 ratings

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The Pearl
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

3 stars "The Pearl" is the 4th studio album released by the Neo-Prog band "Metaphor" from San Francisco, California. The band was formed in 1993 as a Gabriel-era Genesis cover band, but released an album of original material in 2000. Except for the drummer, the members of the band have remained the same after their debut album. The lead singer is John Mabry with Malcolm Smith on guitar, Marc Spooner on keyboards, Jim Anderson on bass and Greg Miller on drums who joined the band in 2005.

The music for the album "The Pearl" was recorded in 2018 and released as an album in early January, 2019. The album is based on a story about a young man that ventures out into the world to find a pearl that is protected by an evil dragon. But, as the adventure continues, we discover that the dragon is the least of his problems.

"The Open Road" starts with a long introduction with the full band based off of a 5 / 4 meter and a repeating riff which also ventures to other meters while it plays out. After a while, the meter shifts again and a new theme emerges just as the vocals start. This is the style of music you can expect throughout this album. The sound is a complex and ever shifting sound and meters, but don't necessarily expect a Genesis sounding band anymore as it is definitely Neo-prog with a retro feel, but based off of the sound of many bands now. The obvious thing that remains Genesis-like is the verbose music, and with better vocals, it would be more enjoyable. The music is good enough and full of progressive tricks and traits.

One of the complaints many people have had with Mabry's vocals is that his voice is one dimensional. This continues to be the case on The Pearl. His voice is okay, at least it isn't grating or obnoxious, but it is also not very emotional as his range is limited. There are several places where the music or concept idea requires that he pushes those limits and it make his weakness apparent when he approaches those limits especially in the tracks "Lying Down with Dogs" and "The Love Letter" for example. As far as the instruments go, there is a nice balance of both keys and guitars with a solid bass and percussion. The musicians are definitely talented and the production and recording is mixed very well so that all instruments are heard. The songwriting and the lyrics are well done. Overall, the music sounds great, but there isn't any experimentation here at all, just great, complex neo-prog.

The tracks that stand out to me are "The Open Road", and "The Mist of Forgetting" for its ever-shifting moods from melodic to quirky. Most of the tracks here have some great sections that would have been much better with better vocals. "Romancing the Wurm" would have been a great track if it had been an instrumental or done with another vocalist. It seems that Mabry's vocals get worse as the album continues.

Since this album and Metaphor's music relies so much on lyrics, it would do them a lot of good to find a better vocalist as this seems to always be a problem with their music. On this album, the musicianship is better than ever, but the vocals lack, and they need to either write their music to match his range or find someone that can sing what their music requires, and I tend to think the latter option is better. The album would definitely be in the 4 ? 5 star category if this were the case.

 Entertaining Thanatos by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.41 | 35 ratings

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Entertaining Thanatos
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Less than three months had passed since Metaphor's ''Starfooted'' and Jim Post decided to call it quits, soon to be replaced by Jim Anderson.In 2001 the group started writing down material for a second work.Two tracks were ready, before Bob Koehler also decided to leave the group and the following year Metaphor recruited Jeff Baker as a guest drummer for the recordings of the remaining songs.Meanwhile the group established its own indendent label Trope Audio and their second album ''Entertaining Thanatos'' was eventually released in 2004.

Metaphor proove with this album to be among the finest modern US Prog bands, borrowing the inspiration of 70's legends and coming up with another nice work full of interesting tunes, refreshing melodies and lovely arrangements, offered mostly through long and elaborate compositions.Cross references with compatriots CRUCIBLE, ECHOLYN and ILUVATAR are reasonable, as Metaphor's music has a strong GENESIS and MARILLION feeling throughout, always delivered with a personal touch.The pieces evolve from smooth, lyrical textures to emphatic, symphonic passages, characterized by excellent keyboard parts and great guitar work.The lush orchestrations are definitely satysfying, the vocal parts are pretty sensitive and the changing themes on organs, Mellotrons and synthesizers keep the listener's interest in a certain deegree.Their songs contain some light, poppy sensibilities akin to SPOCK'S BEARD, but the musicianship is absolutely great, highlighted by the very good 17-min. long ''Yes and No'', a fine example of melodic, emotional yet intricate and serious Progressive Rock with tons of shifting moods, dramatic lyrical moves and technical performances.

A trully consistent group with nice instrumental ideas and a decent level of songwriting.''Entertaining Thanatos'' is a very good effort of tight Progressive Rock along the lines of the classic 70's groups, offered through a modern and fresh sound.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

 Starfooted by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.64 | 58 ratings

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Starfooted
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars With Genesis influences worn on their sleeves and a songwriting style reminiscent of a mildly more complex IQ (but only very, very mildly), Metaphor's Starfooted isn't exactly the most original album out there. But if that's the sort of style you like - and there are so many bands playing in it these days it must be enjoyed by a lot of people - there's a lot to love here. Whilst there's othing really new about the music it is, at least, competently performed, and a wee bit more diverse in terms of instrumentation than your typical band working in this particular niche. The lyrics are actually more original, presenting as they do a simple and easy to follow summary of the beliefs of the Gnostics (well, some of them anyway - the Gnostics were a diverse bunch). Despite the not especially inspiring delivery, they do manage to provide enough of a twist to make the album not completely forgettable.

A decent effort by this group, but it's not going to set the world on fire, and it's not something I'm likely to revisit terribly often - but good enough to come back to occasionally. A solid three stars.

 Starfooted by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.64 | 58 ratings

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Starfooted
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Talented US act formed in 1993 in San Jose,California by guitarist Malcolm Smith,focusing on covering Genesis songs in their early years.By mid-90's with addition of Jim Post on bass and John Mabry on vocals,replacing brothers Vince and Robert Montia respectively,METAPHOR started composing their own material.By the end of 1998 the band entered Suspect Studios in Sunnyvale,Califonia to record their debut album.''Starfooted'' was ready the next year,when they were signed by Galileo Records.The dream came true...

Professionalism is actually what fully characterizes this album.From the shorter track to the more extended ones,everything in here is carefully arranged and every note seems to be in the right place at the right time.Obvious influences come from the Symphonic Rock scene,so fans of GENESIS,YES,SPOCK'S BEARD and even MARILLION and IQ will find plenty to like in ''Starfooted''.Add to these symphonic influences some complicated GENTLE GIANT-like twists and you are totally in the game.Guitar work ranges from dramatic HACKETT-ish inspired melodic stuff to to more energetic grooves,close to IQ's Mike Holmes.Very good stuff indeed and moreover you can add the excellent and varied keyboard work of Marc Spooner.You won't face only the familiar and well-arranged organ and synth sounds in ''Starfooted''.Prepare yourself for some awesome piano performance and surprisingly there is even some vintage harpsichord sounds to be heard throughout.On the other hand I personally discover a slight black hole of compositional structure to the longer tracks.Beware:this is excellent stuff as well,but the themes seem not to stick that much to each other.Despite their heavily GENESIS- influenced music,I would more likely compare METAPHOR to bands trying to fully re-capture the vintage 70's spirit and thus,SPOCK'S BEARD,THE FLOWER KINGS,STRANGEFISH or MAGIC PIE fans will propably get thrilled a bit more than other fans.

''Starfooted'' is pure and Classic Progressive Rock of the old school.Lots (and I mean it) of great music will fill your time with memorable moments.The problem is that this excellency of some tracks won't follow the whole album...and this is the main problem of nowadays too extended CD's. However about 50 minutes of really nice music will lead to a fair 3.5 rating.Certainly a band to watch and a very strong (and of course recommended) debut!

 Starfooted by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.64 | 58 ratings

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Starfooted
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is American band METAPHOR's debut from 1999. These guys started out as a GENESIS cover band before composing their own songs and putting out this album. Certainly the GENESIS flavour is very strong throughout this concept album which is about the belief's of a gnostic. At almost 74 minutes it's way too long though, take off 20 minutes and I would like it a lot more. I do like it better than the follow up "Entertaing Thanatos" even if that record has a more original sound to it than this one.

"Ladder From The Sky" opens with almost spoken words as the sound builds. I like the angular guitar with the sampled mellotron here.This is one of my favourite sections on the whole album. Synths take over for the guitar late and the drums become more prominant. "Chaos With A Crown Of Gold" opens with piano followed by a fuller sound including guitar. It settles with vocals 1 1/2 minutes in. They do get theatrical before 5 1/2 minutes. "Starfooted In A Garden Of Cans" has a 1 minute intro then the tempo picks up. It settles with organ breifly before 6 1/2 minutes. Another calm after 8 minutes. Almost spoken words 10 minutes in as the tempo continues to shift often. "The Illusion Of Flesh" is a short tune with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals,although it does get fuller.

"In The Cave" is led by mellotron and drums early then vocals join in. This reminds me of FRUITCAKE I must say. It's fairly laid back really. "Seed" opens with some atmosphere before vocals and a beat take over 1 1/2 minutes in. This is very GENESIS-like. More atmosphere after 5 minutes. Strummed guitar then vocals after 6 1/2 minutes and a fuller sound follows. "The Bridal Chamber" is a short tune that opens with strummed guitar as soft vocals join in. Drums and piano follow. It settles again late. "Don't Sleep" opens with mellotron then it kicks in around 2 minutes. I like this especially the bass. It settles back before 7 1/2 minutes to the end. "Battle Of The Archons" is one of my favourite tracks at least until the vocals arrive before 5 1/2 minutes. Nice bass in the first half of this one. "Assumption" is the short uplifting (musically) conclusion of strummed guitar and vocals. Keys do come in and mellotron.

Once again a good album but with lots of flaws as far as my tastes go.

 Starfooted by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.64 | 58 ratings

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Starfooted
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Time for this review because I just did the review of a more or less underwhelming album and I suddenly thought of this one as being a really overwhelming one. In my quest for the greatest neo on earth I stumbled over this one, heard it a couple of times and can only come up with: this must be one of the most overlooked prog albums ever.

Metaphor is in all reviews regarded as a Genesis clone (or at least cover band) and therefore referred as such where the influences are concerned. Of course these influences are there but so are many others but to me this band produces highly original compositions with great variations and transitions within the songs. These are so original, I hardly heard anything like this before and I feel it's cheap to link it all to the seventies as if Metaphor owes it all to that era and the bands that domiated that period. Metaphor is simply and incredibly talented band, mainly where the compositions are concerned but also with the execution is hardly anything wrong. I disagree with the comments that John Maybry is a poor vocalist. I think he fits these songs and this musical style perfectly.

But I keep coming back to the songs and then mainly the first 5,6 which are simply amazing. The build up is genius and the songs are very complex and therefore so worth while to check out. It will take at least ten spins to begin to get the hang of them and after that you start enjoying them more and more. So many musical ideas put in each song and still they all make a perfectly flowing composition. Twists and turns flying all over the place, I simply can't get enough listening to this album.

In the end it's a pity the last few songs really go a few steps too far where originality is concerned because that spolis the highest possible rating for me. If the album would have consisted of the first seven songs it would have been a masterpiece for me but as it is now I will have to cut down to four but it's still 4,5 everything considered.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR EVERY PROG FAN !!

 The Sparrow by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.35 | 30 ratings

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The Sparrow
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by Prog-jester
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Many of us face the fact of Prog Rock's dying. Being the first person to review THE METAPHOR's latest album, I'm afraid this is somewhat true.

THE METAPHOR plays that good old Prog from 70s, without any sign of modern techs or influences. Even drums sound a bit sloppy, as if recorded in some kind of 70s basement. I like debut record of these guys very much, it was innovative and striking, with music inspired by GENESIS, KING CRIMSON, GENTLE GIANT and JETHRO TULL (and lesser known British/American Prog Rock acts) and vocals that reminded me of Steve Hogarth of today's MARILLION (!). Quite unusual unity, that gave birth to enjoyable and worthy Retro Prog record. With "The Sparrow" guys show their ability to stay conservative - but I doubt it would be better for them. Their best melodies and ideas were on "Starfooted" (that debut), and on "The Sparrow" we have the same melodies and ideas without a slight sign of re-work, re-make or something. Wearing out the very idea of Retro Prog, "The Sparrow" sounds cool, but only if it's your first Retro Prog album you ever experienced. Unfortunately, I found it rather dull despite the obvious melodic gift the band has. Most die-hard Retro-Prog aficionados that would kill for GG, KC, GENESIS or PF will find this one to be rather good, maybe even stunning. But sorry, not me. Recommended for Retro-Prog / Neo-Prog / Art-Rock / Symphonic Prog fans mostly

 Entertaining Thanatos by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.41 | 35 ratings

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Entertaining Thanatos
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars In the liner notes the band says that the album consists of "7 cheery songs about death". "Thanatos" is the Greek god of death, so yes these guys are funny, but they are smart funny. As hdfisch suggests there is a lot in this record to investigate and digest when it comes to the lyrics.This is a philosophical look at death in an amusing way through classic literature and mythology and just plain amusing tales.

The singer really reminds me of Murray McLaughlin, a Folk singer from Canada. I can't say instrumentally that there are any highlights, no outbreaks, it's all fairly bland really.They used to be a GENESIS cover band which apparently is quite evident on the previous record "Starfooted", but no evidence of that here.

So if nothing else this is entertaining, even if the subject is death.

 Starfooted by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.64 | 58 ratings

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Starfooted
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by NJprogfan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I have to piggy back on what Allan says above: the vocalist IS a distraction. Now mind you, when you play music that sounds so much like a certain band, (Genesis) the vocalist must be top notch. But I hate to slag off on anybody. Yet, Mr. Mabray's voice is just too colorless and monotone. When he sings well, like on the track "Chaos With A Crown Of Gold" I'm not so distracted, in fact its a damn good song. But for most of the album it seems that everything is just a tad restrained, especially in the keyboards department. I'm waiting for the band to burst loose with something powerful, but the vocals kick back in and flattens it. Most American Neo prog bands fall into the same rut. A decent album that just seems like it could have been much better. 2.5 stars really.
 Starfooted by METAPHOR album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.64 | 58 ratings

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Starfooted
Metaphor Neo-Prog

Review by mharringtin

4 stars These guys started life as a Genesis tribute band but they are way beyond that now. Sure the guitarist stiil sounds a lot like Steve Hackett and they most certainly are old-school prog (as opposed to neo-prog), but that's about as close as they get to Genesis. One of their biggest influences appears to be Gentle Giant and being American, Echolyn is also around. However don't let this fool you into thinking their just a rip-off, because if you do you'll miss some of the most complex, powerful, and original music coming from the American prog scene.Oh, by the way, regarding the first rock band to have a side-long track, it was an L.A.band called Love and it was the title track from their 1966 release "Da Capo."
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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