Metaphor — The Sparrow
(TropeAUDIO TA 045, 2007, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2008-01-01Acclaimed 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.
Roswell Rudd RIP – Jazz trombonist Roswell Rudd, one of the distinctive players of his instrument in many strains of music, has died at the age of 82. With a career stretching back to the early 60s and over a hundred recordings featuring his playing, he leaves behind a substantial legacy. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2013. » Read more
Celebrate 10 Years of Fruits de Mer – As a special celebration for a decade of cool vinyl releases, our friends at Fruits de Mer records have prepared a limited edition reissue of an album by the first band ever to appear on the label: Schizo Fun Addict. The band is known for unusual release strag » Read more
Mega Dodo Presents New Charity Album – Our friends at Mega Dodo have put together a lovely compilation of their artists performing new arrangements of nursery rhymes, and all the profits from sales of the album will benefit Save the Children. It features a number of artists we've covered. » Read more
Phil Miller RIP – Sad word reaches us today of the passing of another of the great musicians of the Canterbury Scene — guitarist Phil Miller. His distinctive sound added greatly to Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North, and National Health, and he also contributed to albums by Caravan, Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin, and many others. He was 68. » Read more