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Genesis

Trespass

Review by Gary Hill

Trespass was the second album from Genesis. It was the final one to feature Anthony Phillips on guitar. This album doesn’t get the attention that many of their later releases do. That’s a shame because this is a brilliant work that’s among their strongest. It is, perhaps, a bit less consistent than some of the others, but it’s full of drama and beauty and is a fine addition to any prog rocker’s collection. It’s always been one of my favorites and should be owned for “White Mountain” and “The Knife” alone.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2009  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Looking for Someone

Peter Gabriel’s voice, with minor backdrop, leads this off with the title. The track builds up gradually from there. It is taken through a number of changes. At times this rocks out pretty seriously. At other points they focus on ambience. At other times emotional power rules. Later in the track they launch out into a couple of killer jams. Some points in these sections call to mind rock interpretations of classical music themes. The instrumental foray around the six minute mark is a soaring one that really represents the best of early Genesis. This section eventually closes the piece out.

White Mountain

If the closing sections of the last track were brilliant, this is purely sublime. It begins in a fast paced, yet understated, pattern and grows from there in a way that only this period of Genesis could ever pull off properly. After carrying along like this for a time they drop it way back for a balladic and melodic instrumental section and then pull it back up and out into the more frantic sounds to keep going. This has always been one of my favorite tracks from Genesis and it holds up very well in the 21st Century. It really shows off their ability to alternate between more rocking and mellower motifs and use this juxtaposition to create a powerful piece of music. This is purely brilliant. It works through a number of changes and alterations, but never loses track of its core beauty and elegance. The rather medieval sounding choral section that ends this is simply impeccable.

Visions of Angels

In some ways this isn’t as powerful as the two tracks that preceded it. It seems to wander a bit more and the mellower sections seem to hold less “oomph.” Still, the chorus is potent and there are a few tasty instrumental portions that do a nice job of making up for any weakness. Really much of the let down is produced by the powerful nature of the tracks that came before it. There are some particularly strong and lush moments on the extended outro.

Stagnation

Perhaps the best way to describe this track is as a thrilling roller coaster. It starts out slow and a bit clunky, but then turns into a twisting turning frantic jam. All this before it gets out of the extended instrumental introduction. When it does move out into the verse section it’s in a mellow sort of acoustic guitar driven ballad motif. They take this out into a harder rocking section but then drop it way back down again to gentle territory. This track might be a little less cohesive than some of the other material, and perhaps not as overtly potent, but it’s still quite cool.

Dusk

This is an intriguing and gentle piece. It is intricate and evocative. It doesn’t move far from its roots and is perhaps not a standout, but it’s not weak either.

The Knife

This keyboard laden jam is one of the hardest rocking pieces. It’s also an absolute classic. I’ve loved this track since I first heard it on the band’s first live disc, but you have to really hear the studio version to fully appreciate that live one. When Peter Gabriel sings, “Stand up and fight…” you really feel like you need to get on your feet and join the fray. This was a mainstay of the band’s live show and with good reason. It’s one of the strongest tracks any lineup of the band ever produced. It’s still got enough of the contrast between dark and light, mellow and rocking to establish itself as classic Genesis. I particularly like the dramatic building segment mid-song. It’s always felt so powerful and invigorating to me. A mellow flute laden jam serves as the base and the group begin to climb the summit from there. While this section is potent in the aforementioned live rendition it seems to shine even more here as it feels more pronounced and drawn out with short rest areas along the path. The final surge over the precipice is a smoking staccato jam that’s one part heavy metal and one part classic progressive rock. I can’t imagine a better closer to the disc than this roughly nine minute long epic. They bring us back to the familiar chorus to take it out in style, but even that has more energy and power to it.

 
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