It is somewhat surprising that a band like Metaphor comes from the United States -cradle of other progressive styles-, a group that began as a cover band of Genesis classic songs in San Francisco's area. They have surprised me positively with this first CD "Starfooted". The members of Metaphor are John Mabry (voice), Jim Post (keyboards), Malcolm Smith (guitars), Marc Spooner (keyboards) and Bob Koehler (battery) and their music, as could not be otherwise, drinks directly from the fountain of Genesis. Fortunately, Metaphor moves away from the structures adopted by the British bands determined to continue milking the empty udders of easy neoprog. Their music is closer to bands such as The Night Watch or Citizen Caín, music made with much dramatic and theatrical sense than that of other bands as Enchant or Iluvatar. I would even dare to recommend this work to all of you that like Marillion in "Script for a Jesters Tear" or Arena in "Songs from the Lions cage", as we will see, the similarities are evident.
"Starfooted" is a conceptual album with a extended length (73:49), divided in 10 songs that maintain a constant level of quality. Instrumentally, the band plays in a very professional and blended way; they are not amazing instrumentalists but inside their limits, they play in a very spontaneous way, with a tremendous easiness when recreating -without falling in plagiarism - the arrangement structures of Genesis of Peter Gabriel's time. We must make an special mention to the vocals, with very elegant melodies that fit perfectly inside the music and the concept of the album. The topic that opens the CD "Ladder from the Sky" (6:53) is a perfect sample of how to make a melodically perfect piece without falling into plagiarism, as we find influences from the already mentioned Genesis and also from Jethro Tull. "Chaos with a crown of Gold" (5:58) reminds me a lot from the first Marillion mixed with the sound score for Brian de Palmas movie "The Paradise´s Phantom" mainly in the vocals of John. Other strong pieces of the CD are "Starfooted in a garden of cans" (15:04), in which they recreate the magic of Genesis in "Selling England by the Pound" or "Foxtrot", and in which we notice the expertise of these musicians in interpretating their favorite band. Also, the short and beautiful "The Bridal Chamber" (2:42), etc. The general tone of the CD is very interesting and very respectful to its Genesis influences, so it is difficult to highlight any compositions above the others.
Which is the problem then? Why does the CD not have a higher grade? Very easy: it is very, very complicated to maintain the listener's interest during more than one hour. Not more, not less. I don't understand the current attitude of 90% of the bands that always want to give us an excessive length in their albums. If "Starfooted" lasted only 45-60 minutes, the CD would be perfect. I don't say that it is not, but to enjoy 100% of its quality, it should be listened in two parts so it doesn't become excessively long.
I believe that this mistake of Metaphor is easily solvable for future releases. Basic albums such as "Thick as a brick", "Selling England by the pound", "Red" or "Close to the edge" do not last more than 50 minutes. Anyway, if this CD had been split into two parts, it would have obtained the highest grade. Specially recommended for fans of Genesis, the first Marillion and lovers of the most descriptive and theatrical progressive rock. To follow them closely.