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TRACK LIST: 1. Socrates 7:59 2. Galatea 7:43 3. When It All Comes Together 4:17 4. Raking the Bones 7:43 5. Call Me Old 3:31 6. Yes & No 17:49 7. Wheel of the World 7:55 All music: by Smith & Metaphor. All lyrics: Marby. LINE-UP: Malcolm Smith - guitars John Marby - vocals Marc Spooner - keyboards Jim Anderson - basses With: Jeffrey Baker - drums (2, 4 to 7) Bob Koehler - drums (1 & 3) Tony Abena - saxophone (4 & 7) &: The Hilmen Horns Ensemble - horns (1) Produced by Metaphor & C. S. Cooper. Engineered by C. S. Cooper at "Annex Digital", CA.
Prolusion. Five years passed by since Galileo Records released Metaphor's excellent debut album, >"Starfooted", and, well, this US band is back with their second, this time self-released output "Entertaining Thanatos", subtitled as "Seven Cheery Stories About Death". By the way, the original, full-length version of the title of track 5 is Call Me Old & Uninspired or Maybe Even Lazy & Tired but Thirteen Heads in the Backyard Say You're Wrong. I won't repeat it in its entirety below, OK? Thanks!
Synopsis. What happened to Metaphor during their 5-year hiatus since their first album was released? This was the first thought to enter my mind after I listened to "Entertaining Thanatos". Here, Metaphor's one, but really all-absorbing passion, the name of which is certainly Genesis, has become more than merely obvious, and the band, which was until now considered one of the most inventive followers of the legend, appears before the listener just like poor imitators of their idols. All of the band's original ideas, which made "Starfooted" a really strong effort from any standpoint, have been lost, and "Entertaining Thanatos", which should've been subtitled as "Cheesy Stories", turned out to be one of the most roughly derived albums in the newest history of Progressive. Is it really prudent to milk the sacred cow of Genesis as much as one wants? No, everything has its limits, and there is direct evidence of result, which is almost zero, at least from a creative standpoint. I don't know what calls some bands forth to try sounding just like their idols, but this is an anomaly in any case. Both vocally and instrumentally, "Entertaining Thanatos" much resembles Genesis in the second half of the seventies, although Genesis would never do such a lifeless album as this one, full of some unconquerable tiredness and free of any inspiration. All the arrangements are either slow or slow-to-mid in tempo, and the musicianship is hardly notable for real virtuosity. The short Call Me Old (5) is the only song on the album that sounds more or less original. The others are like the mere shadows of Genesis, though a couple episodes may evoke associations with Supertramp in general and Rick Davis and John Helliwell in particular. Just listen to the vocals going along with the parts of piano somewhere in the beginning of Socrates (1) and the sax solo on Wheel of the World (7).
Conclusion. There are many other unoriginal (mostly Neo-related) albums that I find worse and even much worse than "Entertaining Thanatos", which, nevertheless, remains within the framework of Classic Art-Rock. On the other hand, I generally can hardly tolerate any uninspired, openly laboured, and, what's most important, obviously stolen music. Let's see what other reviewers say about the second Metaphor output. I believe most of them will agree with me, at least on the whole.
VM: March 19, 2004
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