From Genesis To Revelation


London Records, 1969

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


When I seriously got into the British prog-rock band Genesis, like any other group I found myself pulled towards, I decided I had to own every single record they had ever put out. But for the longest time, one disc seemed to be just beyond my grasp -- their debut effort, From Genesis To Revelation.

When I finally acquired it some years later, I listened to it, and quickly decided that the search hadn't been fruitful. Many years later, I still feel that way about this record, no matter how many times I listen to it.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

(Before we go into the critical drubbing, one note: I'm working off of the 1969 release on London Records; I am aware that a CD version exists with more tracks than are on this record. So if you wonder why I don't mention a specific track, it might be that my vinyl copy doesn't have that track.)

The group -- Peter Gabriel, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips and John Silver -- seemed to be plowing new ground in 1969. I'd be hard-pressed to call some of the songs on this record as progressive, but then again, they're neither folk nor rock. Confused yet?

Now, I recognize that the age of band members should have no bearing on how good or bad an album is. But it really seems like such a tremendous musical undertaking is a lot to ask of musicians who were barely out of their teens. Gabriel's vocals don't have the bite that would make his later contributions sound much more urgent. Sometimes, it doesn't seem like the band knows when to use Phillips' guitar or Silver's drums, making this sound like poorly laid-out hippie elevator music.

I do believe that Genesis was trying hard to make a good album with From Genesis To Revelation; the evidence is there in the song "One Day," one of the few bright moments of this album. But on tracks like "Where The Sour Turns To Sweet," "The Serpent" and "In The Beginning," it all just seems to be a tangled mess that doesn't know which musical direction it wants to follow.

Oh, I can imagine that the diehard Genesis fans will be up in arms over comments like that -- hey, if you dig the album, that's fine. But if you're someone who is curious about what lies beyond the radio-friendly single, you might want to steer away from From Genesis To Revelation until you're really comfortable with early Genesis. Either way, this is definitely not the album to start exploring the group on, and it's one that needs to be purchased only by the true fans.

Rating: D-

User Rating: D+



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of London Records, and is used for informational purposes only.