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TRACK LIST: 1. Sharp Bends Sudden Crests 6:12 2. Whitescape 9:06 3. Hugging Horses 7:54 4. Protean Profile 6:25 5. Winter's Edge I 11:17 6. Nuage Bleu 5:48 7. Winter's Edge II 3:20 All tracks: by Poor Genetic Material. LINE-UP: Stefan Glomb - electric & acoustic guitars Philippe Jaehne - organ, piano, & synthesizers Dennis Sturm - basses Ludwig Benedek - drums Philip Griffiths - vocals Produced by Poor Genetic Material. Engineered by the band at "Silent Studios".
Prolusion. "Winter's Edge" is the third album by the German band Poor Genetic Material (PGM hereafter). The reviews of the band's previous albums: "Summerland" (2001) and "Leap Into Fall" (2002) are available on Progressor and can be read by clicking >here and >here.
Synopsis. Do you regard the music on Genesis's eponymous album of 1983 and Marillion's "Holidays in Eden" of 1991 as Neo Symphonic Progressive? I'm not, and I used to call it Modern Art-Rock. Marillion played a true Neo Prog only during the 1980s (while "Brave" is their only Classic Symphonic Art-Rock album), and Genesis showed it in its pure form only once - on "Duke". In the CD press kit, PGM presents "Winter's Edge" exactly as the entity of Modern Art-Rock, which is correct regarding the first two songs (only): Sharp Bends Sudden Crests and Whitescape, and I even hear some echoes of Home by the Sea and Silver Rainbow (both from "Genesis") on each of them respectively. Of course, the voice, as well as the way of singing of Mr. Griffith, has nothing in common with that of Mr. Collins, but it does with that of Mr. Hogarth - at least in some ways and at least on this recording. Both of the following songs: Hugging Horses and Protean Profile are already about a 'classic' Neo Art-Rock and arouse associations with Marillion's "Seasons End" - especially the second of them, which features the heavy Rock romps sounding similar to those on Hooks in You from the said album. This is the only track here where the 'spirit' of winter isn't that evident. Overall however, the musical palette of the album is painted mostly with rather soft, somewhat pastel shades and just wonderfully reproduces the atmosphere of snowy, yet, quiet winter, which, by the way, is a really great achievement. The moods on "Winter's Edge" are lightly pathetic rather than dramatic, and this is also the part of the album's conception directly linked with a sensation of winter and related phenomenon. My memory keeps lots of albums with a very picturesque and imaginative music, but only on one of them, Genesis's "Wind & Wuthering", the breath of a season (autumn in this case) was reproduced as vividly as PGM did it on "Winter's Edge". The style that the remaining three songs on the album are done in is a blend of Neo and Classic Symphonic Progressive. With the sounds of Mellotron and Hammond, distinctive solos of electric guitar, and episodes consisting of purely acoustic arrangements, all of them: both of the parts of Winter's Edge and Nuage Bleuare are as if taken from the second half of the seventies and are not without traces of influences of still the same "Wind & Wuthering" by Genesis, the band, the legacy of which is the most honored by the contemporary progressive bands.
Conclusion. If I wanted to be only partly objective, I would content myself with saying that "Winter's Edge" is the most mature album by PGM. On the other hand however, this album is more accessible than "Leap Into Fall", and the presence of influences is another feature distinguishing it from its glorious predecessor. But while not a masterpiece, "Winter's Edge" is by all means an excellent album, which, in addition, is just marvelously attractive. In any case, I am absolutely honest now, with saying that I like it very much, as well as I like any of the albums I've mentioned in this review. I think this album will have a great success.
VM: October 21, 2003
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