Subtitled “Seven Cheery Songs about Death”, this is the second CD released by the US band Metaphor, a band who surprised me a lot with a debut album titled “Starfooted” (2000), that takes the listener to Genesis atmospheres but without losing respect for the band and without falling in the easy photocopy.
Fortunately or unfortunately this album has no Genesis influences and the band develops an own personality that they have to round off and finish off in forthcoming albums.
Jim Anderson (bass, pedals), John Mabry (vocals), Malcolm Smith (guitars, guitar synth), Marc Spooner (keyboards), and drummers Jeffrey Baker and Bob Koehler, give us seven tracks with a common theme: death. Everything wrapped in a smooth and slow progressive rock, perhaps too slow for my personal taste.
The opening track “Socrates” (7:59) has good melodies but, well… it´s seems like the band doesn´t want to step on the gas in some moments. The sound production is very good and they could have take advantage of that in order to get more variation. It happens the same with the second track “Galatea 3.3” (7:43), so the wonderful instrumental part that emerges around the fifth minute walks a little bit on tiptoes. “When it comes together” (4:17) is one of the best tracks of the whole album, with highly original arrangements and a very good development. “Raking the bones” (7:43), inspired by the advisable Finnish epic Kalevala, still has that lack of speed I´ve already stated. For example the fragment that starts around minute 1.30 could have been jazz-prog dynamite with only a little bit more adrenaline. Anyway all the musicians are very skilful, mainly Malcolm Smith, a guitar player with an own sound. The following track has been titled “Call me Old and Uninspired or Maybe Even Lazy and Tired but Thirteen Heads in the Backyard says You´re Wrong” (3:31), but this is the less old, uninspired, lazy and tired track of the album.
Uneasiness seizes me when I see that the next track lasts almost 18 minutes (“Yes & No”) but fortunately this suite is more varied and dynamic that the tracks previously listened. Metaphor recovers sounds from the first album and early Genesis, inserting different moods and rhythms. I´m keep on thinking that the production is the only weak point because it shows a sound very homogeneous, but in this song variation wins production.
Sometimes I´ve talked about the “second album syndrome” and I think this has happened to Metaphor. You have all the time in the world and lots of tracks in order to create a good debut album, just got to be patient. But the pressure for a second album and not to be forgotten by the fans (very easy if we talk about progressive rock) could make unpredictable results. If I haven´t listened to Metaphor before I´d say that this album is not bad at all, but having listened to the wonderful debut album, I must “punish” the band because they have proved they can do it better.