Review Summary: Genesis finally getting their sound together.
proved a step in the right direction, Genesis didn’t start to develop the full extent of their sound until their third record. Bolstered with the more versatile Steve Hackett and Phil Collins, the classic quintet was finally realized on Nursery Cryme
, introducing what many (rightfully) consider the greatest period in the band’s history. Genesis were not afraid to be different and continued to distinguish themselves not only from the general standards of pop music, but also among the rest of the British progressive wave that emerged during the early 70’s.
further expanded upon the kind of theatrical rock epic first exercised on Trespass
, specifically its culminating closer, The Knife
. The record is more or less centred around three of these lengthier compositions, alternated with somewhat shorter tales and pleasant interludes: a basic structure that would also be applied to later albums. What makes their third album an immediate greater accomplishment is that Genesis are mastering the build and release of tension, something that was one of the underdeveloped aspects of its less extrovert predecessor.
The contrast shows quickly on the 10-minute The Musical Box
, which Gabriel opens softly along some beautiful guitar work. The vocals hint only very subtly at the upcoming aggression, which enters with sudden electrified guitar and an alarming organ melody, while Collins goes out to show his chops behind the kit. The drummer-turned-singer didn’t take long to receive his first vocal spotlight, effectively singing lead on the pleasant For Absent Friends
Although his part would be somewhat diminished in favour of Banks’ leading role, Hackett extensively displays his unique tone on the brilliant opener, which introduces the classic Genesis sound in truly great fashion. Another one of his finest contributions is the raw, distorted solo during The Return of the Giant Hogweed
; not the tale of an actual giant that it may seem, but of the introduction of a certain plant named giant hogweed in the United Kingdom, which had hazardous environmental consequences.
Gabriel’s trademark storytelling, whether playful or serious, soon became one of Genesis’ signature traits. He fires his lyrics rapidly on the shorter Harold the Barrel
, voicing multiple characters in a scenario describing a restaurant owner who jumps to his death in front of a crowd. He is also at his dramatic best on The Fountain of Salmacis
, concerning a nymph in Greek mythology that attempted to rape Hermaphroditus (the child of Hermes and Aphrodite). The final track is perhaps the most bombastic piece on the album and employs the mellotron in a way that recalls King Crimson’s Epitaph
was another milestone for Genesis, improving on their previous effort in every possible sense and allowing their imagination to run wild, thanks to the successful chemistry and combined ability of the classic five-piece. The first of four essentials.
Genesis Mark III:
Peter Gabriel – Vocals, Flute
Steve Hackett – Guitar
Tony Banks – Organ, Piano, Mellotron, Vocals
Mike Rutherford – Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Phil Collins – Drums, Vocals
The Musical Box
The Return of the Giant Hogweed
The Fountain of Salmacis