Exposé Online banner

Metaphor — Starfooted
(Rock Symphony RSLN 021, 2000, CD)

by Jeff Melton, 2000-10-01:

Starfooted Cover art

Genesis-derivative bands don't get a fair shake in the prog world and maybe they shouldn't. Look at the 80s careers of Fish-era Marillion, IQ, Discipline, or Iluvaar. There are few wiser adapters who can draw on influences without getting buried or selling out England by the pound. SF Bay area's best-kept secret, Metaphor, (lead by guitarist Malcolm Smith) prove their allegiance by forging into familiar, but still fertile creative ground. Together with keyboardist, Marc Spooner, the guitarist had led their own Genesis tribute band whom I can testify rendered a faithful version of "Can Utility and the Coastliners." Since then, the two scouted out co-composer and vocalist John Mabry, who is the secret factor in the album's ten tracks. His manner is simply stated, musical, and untied to any specific comparison to any other singer — this is an exceptional trait. The group is at its best when driving toward full-scale theme development such as on "Seed" or "Battle of the Archons," which spotlight keyboard and lead guitar unisons which build into majestic and calypso passages. Possibly the best track, "Starfooted in a Garden of Cans," rhythmically recalls Genesis' "Back in NYC," but strict comparison ends there. Starfooted is an auspicious debut for a quintet destined to appear on top ten lists of most prog publications this year. Don't miss an opportunity to see these guys in any West Coast live show — they are certain to deliver.


by Dane Carlson, 2000-10-01:

Starfooted is the debut album by Metaphor, and it’s a winner. Not content with a simple collection of songs, Metaphor enters the field with that staple of progressive rock pretentiousness, the concept album. The theme is the Gnostic version of creation and the human condition (if you are not familiar with Gnostic teachings consult your neighborhood web browser). Metaphor have taken this ancient belief and spun a decent tale. The band isn’t a follower of this religion; they are more of the Genesis school. In a prior life Metaphor was a Genesis cover band and I guess having played music by the best prog band ever really rubbed off on these guys. The musicianship and composition here is first rate. They have blended classic era Genesis (Foxtrot, Nursery Cryme) with their own vision, and it works. The Genesis factor is most apparent in the guitar work of Malcolm Smith, who uses lots of that wonderful Steve Hackett sound. The vocalist John Mabry might have a bit of ol’ Pete in him but basically he is All-American. I like his voice a lot, he’s got more range than many current singers have (though I would draw a strong comparison to Jeff McFarland of Land’s End). Keyboard player Marc Spooner really shines here as well. His keyboard work lays the foundation, the Banks sounds appear here and there but he’s a strong player, and his style emerges. Bob Koehler definitely rises above any label of neo-prog drumming; his playing is crisp and tight. The same goes for bassist Jim Post; the two are an excellent rhythm section. The album stands on its own, but by visiting the band’s web page you get more of the concept behind the songs, so you can look for the deeper meanings if you wish. In all Metaphor have released a strong first effort; good playing, good lyrics, familiar enough to immediately like, but with enough originality to keep you listening.


by Mike McLatchey, 2000-10-01:

Metaphor used to be an early-Genesis cover band, and they wear it on their sleeves. Occasionally the influence breeds near-plagiarism, while mostly it is a springboard for a more modern style, one that is sure to find wide appeal among stylists. I won't jump up on the soapbox and start bemoaning Genesis clones and what have you — nevertheless, this band is undoubtedly operating in the legendary group's shadow, one that may encompass the largest area for a "classic" prog group. For instance, Metaphor parallels the mystical Christian imagery of Foxtrot and runs with it, although Metaphor's strange story having to do with Gnosticism is not a Christianity most people will be familiar with, and its elucidation with both biblical and modern characters makes the concept feel vague and even downright ponderous in its execution. It is definitely a lyrical excursion, and one feels they have reached a long-awaited oasis when a segment verges instrumental. As Starfooted has all the buzzwords — Mellotron, concept album, organ, mystical imagery, etc. — you can imagine that this is as dead center "prog rock" as you are going to find and will likely be of wide appeal. Metaphor undoubtedly do a pretty nice job in an overcrowded genre, yet one hopes that a broader group of influences will spur this band beyond its grandfather.


Filed under: New releases , Issue 20 , 2000 releases

Related artist(s): Metaphor, Marc Spooner, Malcolm Smith

More info
http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/metaphormusic2

Latest news

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santan, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more

2020-05-06
Florian Schneider RIP – Florian Schneider, one of the founders of the pioneering electronic group Kraftwerk, has died at the age of 73. Co-founder Ralf Hütter announced that his bandmate had passed away from cancer after a brief illness. » Read more

2020-04-23
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more

2020-03-24
Bill Rieflin RIP – The sad news reaches us today of Bill Rieflin's death. Rieflin was best known as a drummer in bands ranging from post-punk to industrial to indie-rock to progressive rock, including work with The Blackouts, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Swans, Land, and King Crimson. Rieflin had been battling cancer for several years, and succumbed to it on March 24. He was 59. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Steve Howe - The Haunted Melody – The Yes/Asia guitarist realizes a lifelong ambition by creating the perfect jazz setting with son, Dylan Howe on drums and Ross Stanley on Hammond B3. The arrangements across the stellar recording...  (2009) » Read more

Bruford - One of a Kind – After UK’s rookie tour of the US, Eddie Jobson and John Wetton fired Bill Bruford and Allan Holdsworth, thus removing the pervasive jazz element from their soon-to-be transitory super group. The...  (2005) » Read more

The Third and the Mortal - Nightswan & Painting on Glass – Not long ago, you may recall, this Norwegian band gave us their debut releases: the mini-CD Sorrow and its full-length companion Tears Laid In Earth. These were promising but unexceptional. Not so...  (1996) » Read more

Christian Vander - A Tous les Enfants... – Packaged in a 40 page hardbound CD size book, A Tous les Enfants... is essentially a Christian Vander children's album. Playing keyboards and contributing vocals, Vander is joined by several other...  (1995) » Read more

D.S. Lionfire - Jerusalem: A Symphonic Saga - Part I: The Mask of Love – Jerusalem: A Symphonic Saga is a collosal undertaking of a fellow who calls himself D.S. Lionfire. He calls this creation of his an opera, the first part twenty years in the making, and the body of...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues