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Tracklist: 1. Ladder From the Sky 6:53 (Smith, Spooner, Mabry) 2. Chaos With a Crown of Cold 5:58 (Smith) 3. Starfooted In a Garden of Cans 15:04 (Smith, Spooner) 4. The Illusion of Flesh 2:07 (Mabry) 5. In the Cave 9:13 (Smith) 6. Seed 10:09 (=) 7. The Bridal Chamber 2:42 (Mabry) 8. Don't Step 9:00 (Koehler) 9. Battle of the Archons 10:24 (Smith, Spooner) 10. Assumption 2:19 (Smith) Arranged & prodused by Smith, Spooner, Mabry, Koehler, & Post. All lyrics: by Mabry. Line-up: Malcolm Smith - electric & acoustic guitars Marc Spooner - keyboards, whistles John Mabry - vocals, acoustic guitar Bob Koehler - drums & percussion Jim Post - bass Recorded & mixed by Dave Gakle at "Suspect Studios", USA. Mastered by Bob Katz at "Digital Domain", USA.
Prologue. "Starfooted", the debut album by the US band Metaphor, was the second release by Switzerland's premier Prog label "Galileo Records".
The Album. Stylistically, "Starfooted" is a rather monolithic album. Only three short songs, namely The Illusion of Flesh, The Bridal Chamber, and Assumption (tracks 4, 7, & 10), are slightly different from all of the other compositions on the album. However, their presence here is quite justified and, on the whole, they're not out of a unified musical concept on this album. They're like the small islets of calmness and relaxation in the stormy musical sea where there are lots of intensive and often unpredictable undercurrents. On each of these songs, John Mabry sings to the accompaniment of the rhythms of acoustic guitar, chords of piano, and unobtrusive parts of the rhythm section. Kind of a keyboard pillow serves as a background to these accessible, yet, nice arrangements. The main and large-scaled Classic Progressive battles are developed on all seven of the remaining songs on the album: Ladder From the Sky, Chaos With a Crown of Cold, Starfooted In a Garden of Cans, In the Cave, Seed, Don't Step, and Battle of the Archons (tracks 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, & 9). The Symphonic Art-Rock arrangements, that on the whole are typical for each of these songs, consist of the following essential progressive ingredients. Seemingly endless interplay between various soloing instruments, such as the piano, synthesizers, electric, acoustic, and bass guitars, frequent and often unexpected changes of tempo and mood, and complex time signatures, etc. A few pieces contain passages of whistles and solos of Mellotron and Hammond organ. Ladder From the Sky is rich in the Church Organ- and Clavier-like passages of synthesizer, while on Starfooted In a Garden of Cans are heard the solo of violin. Although the numbers of vocal and purely instrumental parts are approximately equal on each of these songs, the instrumental arrangements flow nonstop regardless whether John Mabry sings or not. What is interesting is that while most of the synthesizer solos are here not unlike those of Tony Banks, almost all of the piano passages are very original. The same can be said about the guitar the guitar parts and the vocals. Most of the electric guitar solos are not unlike those of Steve Hackett, whereas the acoustic guitar passages are mostly creative. Although, unlike Peter Gabriel's voice, the timbre of John Mabry's voice is mellow, he sings for the most part in the vein of the original Genesis vocalist. However, despite the fact that Genesis's influences are obvious in both the vocal and instrumental departments of Metaphor, their music sounds by no means derivative. It is because there are enough of the band's own ideas in it as well. While it was always clear that, totally ignoring the wretched wannabees and poor imitators of the music of their idols, I like the true clones of the legendary bands as much as their followers.
Summary. Unlike Arena, who are very influenced by Marillion, who in their own turn, were very influenced by Genesis, the latter band never did mark the covers of their albums with the notes like "A Classic For the Future". A true Classic doesn't require any concomitant comments and especial hints about it, while Genesis is really the most influential band in the history of Progressive Music. Along with such bands as Marillion, Xitizen Cain, IQ, Ezra Winston, & Cast, I regard Metaphor as one of the true followers of the legacy of Genesis the Great. Overall, "Starfooted" is nearly a masterpiece album.
VM. March 19, 2002
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