Various Artists — The River of Constant Change - A Tribute to Genesis
(Mellow MMP 270 A/B, 1995, 2CD)
by Peter Thelen, Published 1996-03-01
There’s no disputing the pervasive influence of Genesis on much of the progressive rock of today, and this two-disc set is the first of two tributes paying homage to them. This one features mainly British neo-progressives or virtually unknown Italian bands, with a few from elsewhere scattered within, some with totally derivative names like Seconds Out and The Queen of Maybe. The few Italian groups that one might recognize – Men of Lake, Eris Pluvia (now translated to The Ancient Veil) and Notturno Concertante, have either posted relatively unremarkable performances, or completely blown it (case in point is Men of Lake's "Twilight Alehouse"). In general, the better known British artists have fared much better, with Paul Ward's medley-take of "Wot Gorilla" being perhaps the best song on either disc, with Galahad's respectable "Chamber of 32 Doors" being not far behind – and though I despise the song, Final Conflict's "No Son of Mine" (why did they do that?) will give the original a run for the money. But Legend's awkward and irritating rendition of "The Day the Lights Went Out" – a lousy choice of a song to begin with – will make even the most enduring listener cringe.
But the best – and the worst – covers are offered by some of the virtually unknown Italian bands. Despite their positively brilliant debut album (reviewed in last issues’ roundtable), Finisterre's "Harlequin" is sloppy and off the mark, and like several other bands here, they have no business singing in English. By contrast, Mysia's "Hairless Heart" is a monster, and blows the Genesis original right out of the water. T.M.A.'s "Ravine" and Art and Illusion's "Lilywhite Lilith" are also worthy of note, the former so radically different that I had to look at the booklet to ID the song. Graziano Romani, a Joe Cocker sound-alike, injects a powerful new spirit into "Looking for Someone," while Submarine Silence's purely instrumental take on "Entangled" gives that song a whole new feeling. Germinale's "The Knife," with its center section sampled from Zappa's first album, is decent enough though memorable only for that brief novelty. And what could be done with "Horizons"? Max Michieletto of Asgard has done a fine job taking it into new directions.
These are only the memorable tracks. There are definitely some monumental stinkers here too. I don't know if it's just a coincidence or if it was planned to be this way, but it sure seems like the second disc is loaded with most of the best tracks, while the first is home to most of the losers, though there are a few tracks on both discs that don't comply with this theory. Truly, this could have been a much better package if condensed to one seventy- five minute disc of the best material, rather than two and a half hours with all the mediocrity mixed in. Still, definitely worth a listen, and probably something that the hardcore Genesis fan won't want to be without.
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
The Muffin Men - Baker's Dozen & Live @ The Cavern – The Muffin Men are a UK based act that is heavily versed in the fine art of being a Frank Zappa tribute band that features old Mothers vocalist Jimmy Carl Black. Baker's Dozen serves as a... (2005) » Read more