Peter Gabriel
Melt


4.5
superb

Review

by Thomas Bambaataa Ghidrah Towers USER (67 Reviews)
May 13th, 2006 | 193 replies | 14,768 views


Release Date: 1980 | Tracklist


4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Peter Gabriel was a pioneer in several things aesthetically when he was in his band Genesis. Years before Kiss put on their trademark ludicrous amount of makeup to cover up the fact that they werenít very great at all, Peter Gabriel would burst on the stage, with eccentric narratives before each song, dressing up in costumes, and with ridiculous amounts of [url=http://mitkadem.homestead.com/files/Genesis_PeterGabriel_live.jpg]makeup[/url]. Yikes! Gabrielís antics took the attitude of progressive rock to a new level, like the less threatening Alice Cooper of the genre, or an even more pretentious David Bowie. The result of this ambitious mixture of dramatics and music left Genesis as the talk of the town, particularly Gabriel, and his fantastical story concepts laced with social commentary. And even though Genesis spawned a plethora of crappy rip-offs, the stage imagery still is impressive to this very day. Alas, Peter Gabriel mustíve known that he couldnít continue being a show innovator forever. So that leads us to the music experimenting that he reached with his solo career.

Of course Peter Gabriel (this is the 3rd of the four [the fourth had a name in the US] eponymous albums he released, also known as Melt) didnít begin Gabrielís adventure in the studio. The preceding albums also widened Gabrielís musical palette, but did so to a less successful extent. His debut stretched the variety too far. The sophomore effortís hazy creativity and patchy continuity garnered a dip in critical acclaim from its predecessor. Third timeís a charm, though, as they say, and Gabriel combined what everybody loved about his first two self-titled albums, then took his career to a new level.

The unique way drums and percussion are used on the album is what shapes the album overall. Peter Gabrielís famously dark mood is shaped on the thunderous, hollow drum sound that was invented during this albumís recording. This is known as the ďgated drum" effect, invented by the albumís engineer Hugh Padgham, which achieved the sound of a reverb-loaded drum that doesnít fade away, but cuts off quickly, leaving a dense, echoic sound. Think back to Phil Collinsí In the Air Tonight if you think youíve never heard the sound. The other pioneering drum technique, isnít really a technique, but Gabriel was one of the first to use drum machines on albums. He uses them wisely to shape the mood carefully, whenever the roaring real drums arenít acceptable.

The result of these moody, tense drum sounds is shown instantly on the songís opener Intruder, which was arranged by Gabriel after listening to the simple drum over and over again. He growls the vocals in a maniacal way, whispering in a violent tremble stalker-freak lyrics like ďThe sense of isolation inspires me/I like to feel suspense when Iím certain you know I am there". These slightly shadowed by the grinding industrial noise and the boisterous drums. Intruderís sparse use of synthesizers, exotic percussion, foreshadows the forthcoming more organic moments, and Gabrielís increasing interest in African music (which doesnĎt blossom until later in his discography.)

Peter Gabrielís use of synthesizers and guitars is similar to David Bowieís Low, either creating an energetic new-wave atmosphere, or a scarce, spacey feel. Also like Low (the first half, at least), Melt constantly makes innovative pop songs through intertwining instruments and styles that are usually seen as opposites. Though this record has an ominous feel because of Gabrielís very charismatic outbursts of paranoia and industrial-style drums, the subtle funky texture provided by the outlandish percussion, and the slick slicing synthesizers even things out. This is amply shown in the hit Games Without Frontiers, a dark politically-driven song lightly touched with a robotic bassline and other wry, funky elements. Unfortunately, a lot of the music and sound elements that were fresh at the time for this album sound saturated at times in itís more pop rock moments, because of the synth, sax solo, and similar, but badly produced drum sound overkill of a lot of 80s pop music.

With a lot of lyrical depth, ranging from the narration of attempted assassination (based on a true story) to triumphant political chants, Peter Gabriel may have stopped with the queer theatrics, but his storytelling remains as imaginative as ever. The futuristic sound and overlapping themes that resonates on the album shows that the pop label doesnít restrain Gabriel at all. Yet the label puts some people off who assume Gabriel took the same turn as ex-band mate Phil Collins, who drummed on this album (without using cymbals,) abandoning prog rock and going to mildly interesting pop. Well to those people I say: if Peter Gabriel isnít interesting, then youíre probably just gay for men in weird makeup.



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user ratings (206)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
igg20 (5)
Para mi, el mejor disco de Peter Gabriel. PGl demuestra en este disco la verdadera fuerza de su pecu...

Spamue1G (5)
Pop doesn't have to play by the rules all the time......

AndreasG (5)
Peter Gabriel's groundbreaking masterpiece...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2006



16071 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Another great review. I tend to find his solo stuff to be onpar with his Genesis work, but this album is his weakest for me.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

JohnXDoesn't
May 13th 2006



1247 Comments


This is a nice, tight review. I like the way you put links to your references, also. I have never really gotten into Gabriel past his better known songs, and then some. But I have seen him a couple of times live and think he is an amazing performer and showman. This sounds like it might be a nice place to start with him to delve deeper into his work. I'm going to add him to my library at my music service.

Dragon_Prince
May 13th 2006



272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Peter Gabriel is great, there need to be more reviews of him, I will be reviewing him soon too sometime. He is an amazing songwriter and makes great music

Zebra
Moderator
May 13th 2006



2647 Comments


This was a well written and entertaining review. You focused on the drumming a lot throughout the review and the comparisons to Low make it even more interesting.

Grant
May 13th 2006



26 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love this album, Biko and Family Snapshot are the highlights for me.

Peter Gabriel is a genius, plain and simple.

pulseczar
May 14th 2006



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks everyone, though I probably should've mentioned Biko.

morrissey
Moderator
May 15th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sweet review. This is a great album, probably my favourite of his. But I haaaaaaaaaaaaaaate "Games Without Frontiers". Easily my least favourite song ever.

Grant
May 15th 2006



26 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I think Security edges out Peter Gabriel III just slightly. And morrissey, what is so bad about "Games Without Frontiers"? If there's any PG song to rip on, it is "Kiss That Frog".

morrissey
Moderator
May 16th 2006



1688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really have no rational reason for hating it, there is just something about it that makes me never want to listen to music again.

StrizzMatik
June 18th 2007



3158 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

This album is required listening for anyone who likes music. It's undeniably great and still fresh after 27 years.

Dragon_Prince
June 23rd 2007



272 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm in love with Family Snapshot at the moment ^^

StrizzMatik
January 21st 2010



3158 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

John, I'm disappointed boy!

lmletal
June 28th 2011



95 Comments


rules

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
July 26th 2011



14884 Comments


fucking awesome

KILL
September 24th 2011



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rules hard

KILL
February 4th 2012



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

get this cunt to 100 pages right now

KILL
February 4th 2012



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fags

DarthMann
February 4th 2012



13467 Comments


hey

Ire
February 4th 2012



41453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

rules

DarthMann
February 4th 2012



13467 Comments


yeah m/



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