Exposé Online banner

Metaphor — The Sparrow
(TropeAUDIO TA 045, 2007, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01

The Sparrow Cover artAcclaimed US prog act Metaphor’s third album is finally out after two-plus years of refinement, and the finished result is well worth the wait. I was lucky enough to receive a group of rough demos from keyboardist Marc Spooner at NEARfest 2006 as kind of an inside look at their challenging work in progress. Unlike Camel with Snow Goose, the band chose to carefully adapt the subject matter of noted writer Mary Doria Russell’s sci-fi epic with her permission. The resulting album is a well-crafted balance of lyrical and instrumental dexterity. Vocalist John Mabry has come into his own across the disc giving some of his best delivery on pieces such as the contrapuntal “Deus Vult,” “Stella Maris,” and the anthem “God Will Break Your Heart.” The key themes of religious conversion, space migration and cosmic awareness are well covered in the former two pieces while the latter track serves as Mabry’s most convincing ballad. Foxtrot-era Genesis influences are more diluted on this recording with early Gentle Giant like passages appearing in a few tracks. The band can credibly rock it up like their SF bay area contemporaries Puppet Show (“Starfooted”) (despite the odd meter and Mellotron) or push a weird Yes-like modal passage on “We Are Many and They Are Few.” Overall the group has easily transcended their earlier efforts and put their best foot forward, shaping their own identity on the small but loyal progressive scene.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2007 releases

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

Latest news

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

2020-03-17
Cruise to the Edge and Seaprog 2020 Festivals Postponed – The worldwide outbreak of the novel coronavirus has started to produce casualties in the music world, and festivals are not immune. We've had word that both the Cruise to the Edge (originally slated for March 27 - April 1) and Seaprog (originally June 5-7) have been postponed to later dates, with those dates to be announced. » Read more

2020-03-06
McCoy Typer RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of one of the most influential pianists in the history of jazz, McCoy Tyner. His tenure with John Coltrane in the early 60s includes some of the most treasured recordings of the era, including My Favorite Things and A Love Supreme. After leaving Coltrane's group, he had a long and successful solo career. He was 81. » Read more

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Attempt to Restore - Alpha Collection I – Most new German groups these days seem to have forgotten their musical ancestry from the high psychedelic days of the Ohr and Brain years. Practically all you see is bands like Chandelier, Bel Air,...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues