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Tracklist: 1. Effective Elective 6:17 2. Another Road of One 4:47 3. Bullfight 5:55 4. Time Traveler 4:05 5. Ancient Kings 3:07 6. Fox Scoff 4:42 7. The Stick 4:36 8. USA 3:56 9. Herman Muenster 3:18 10. Serving No One 4:23 11. Revelations 5:16 12. Seventh Day 4:34 13. Robot Reaction 5:02 All tracks: by North Star. Line-up: Kevin Leonard - keyboards (+ acoustic guitar on 3) Glenn Leonard - drums & percussion Joe Newnam - bass; vocals Dave Johnson - guitars Produced by North Star. Recorded & mixed by K. Leonard at "The Green Room" studio.
Prologue. "Triskellion" is the debut album by North Star, which was initially released in 1985. This CD reissue however, includes also a few of the previously unreleased tracks recorded by the band from 1982 to 1986. To read the review on the band's latest album (which is their fourth album actually), click here. Currently, the band is working on their fifth CD, which should be released in the beginning of 2003.
The Album. The music of most of the Genesis wannabes, as well as a few of the really successful followers of this great band, is most often in the vein of Legend's post-Gabriel progressive creation (1975 to 1978). Only a few bands tried to write and perform music, which is closer to Genesis's most complex works (1971 to 1974). While North Star, to the best of my memory, is the only band whose music on this album sounds for the most part like that on "Duke" (1980) and "Abacab" (1981). Eight out of the thirteen tracks that are present on "Triskellion", namely Time Traveler, Ancient Kings, Fox Scoff, USA, Herman Muenster, Revelations, Seventh Day, and Robot Reaction (4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, & 13), are openly in the vein of both of the said albums by Genesis. (By the way, in my honest opinion, "Genesis", 1983, is by all means more a coherent album than "Duke" and "Abacab".) Only two of these eight tracks are about a more or less decent Art-Rock. These are: the only instrumental piece on the album, Herman Muenster, which reminds me of Duke's Travels, and Seventh Day, which can relatively be compared to Sarah Jane from "Abacab", though there are no any pianos (i.e. acoustic or electric) on "Triskellion". The best songs on the album are those that are marked with the active participation of Dave Johnson, whose guitar solos are always fast, virtuosi, and completely free of any influences. These are: Effective Elective (1), The Stick (7), and Serving No One (10), all of which, with the exception of guitar solos, are in the vein of Genesis (circa 1976) anyway. (However, even Dave's solo could not save the fourth song on the album, Time Traveler, which is just very weak compositionally.) Both of the remaining tracks, Another Road of One and Bullfight (2 & 3), are also decent song, though, of course, like everything on this album, they are in many ways similar to those by Genesis. It must be said that, unlike all eight of the tracks that I described at first, each of the five of the better songs on the album contains excellent solos by Kevin Leonard on organ and synthesizer. The solos of bass guitar also play quite a significant role in the arrangements on this album. On a few of the weak compositions on "Triskellion", they're much more interesting than those of keyboards. Glenn Leonard's drumming is excellent on most of the album's tracks. The way of singing of (bassist) Joe Newnam is most often not unlike that of Phil Collins. Joe's voice is also very similar to that of Phil, but his vocal qualities are worse than those of Genesis's drummer and vocalist.
Summary. Paradoxically, Genesis, which is undoubtedly the most influential Symphonic Art-Rock band, exerted in many ways a negative influence on the Progressive Rock movement (involuntarily, of course). With its greatness, glory, and authority, it just crushes any band that tries to sound like it. Hundreds of progressive bands wanted, want, and will want for some reason to try copying the music of Genesis. However, it is impossible to copy any of the true geniuses, so as a result there is so much of the shit music on a contemporary progressive scene. (The most influential Metal band is certainly Black Sabbath, though, surprisingly, its influence on the further development of Metal in general and Prog-Metal in particular turned out to be highly positive.) On their debut album, North Star showed themselves as unscrupulous borrowers (to say the least) from Genesis. At the same time, "Triskellion" is probably the most accessible imitation of the classic Genesis sound I've ever heard. I am not acquainted with both the followers of the debut North Star album, but according to the reviews that I read of them, they're about the same imitation of Genesis. So North Star's latest CD, "Tempest", looks like a gigantic step forward regarding the band's compositional and performing skills and is by all means their best album to date.
VM. August 23, 2002
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