In The Rapids, An Overlooked Gem By Genesis

In The Rapids is a Genesis song that really does not get much attention. It is the penultimate song from the band’s superb concept album The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway (1974). At two minutes and twenty two seconds the track is short, but it sure is not sweet. The band packs an incredible amount of music and emotion into this compact gem.

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Peter Gabriel certainly had his fair share of great vocal performances during his time with Genesis. Dancing With The Moonlit Knight, The Lamia, The Battle Of Epping Forest, Back In N.Y.C. are just a few that come to mind. I would say that In The Rapids stands as one of my favorite vocals from Peter Gabriel.

It is amazing how much the band packs into this song. There is more brilliance on display inside of this short song than many bands are able to put onto an entire album. Every member of the band shines here adding their musical parts and pieces to enhance the collective whole.

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The song has a deceptively low key intro, just clean guitars. Peter Gabriel enters soon after, initially delivering a reserved vocal.  At the 0.54 mark the rest of the band slowly enters. They spend the remainder of the song slowly building layer upon layer of musical tension, emotion and drama. To fully appreciate this gem you really have to listen to it with headphones on.

The band puts on an absolute clinic in subtlety and finesse. Initially the music is a foundation for Gabriel’s vocals. But as the song progresses there is so much going on, the music feels as if it is swirling around Gabriel’s vocals.

At the 1:29 mark Steve Hackett’s electric guitar wails and the rest of the band bring up the intensity. At this point there is less than one minute until the song segues into the album’s finale with the song It. The desperation in Gabriel’s vocal is nearly heartbreaking. Steve Hackett’s guitar adds to the melancholy felt during this end portion. It almost sounds like his guitar is weeping. Phil Collins is at the top of his game here and throughout The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway. Not content to just display his considerable skills on the drums, Phil always had a musical approach to the drums. His drumming is not merely keeping the time, his playing elevates the somber mood of the song.

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Before you know it the song is over. The tension is released with the siren like intro of the album’s final song.  As a stand alone track In The Rapids is very emotional. But taken in context with the rest of The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway the song is so much more. At this point of The Lamb’s storyline as a listener you are emotionally drained by Rael and John’s journey.

For me In The Rapids is the most overlooked gem in the entire Genesis discography. At 2:22 it is all too easy to miss this track. After the tour for The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway the band never played this song live again. It is to bad that in later years Genesis never really explored much of The Lamb live beyond the title track, In The Cage, The Carpet Crawlers and a section of Colony Of Slippermen.  Granted, In the Rapids is an unusual song to play on its own. Perhaps it would have worked best in the context of a medley. I have included audio for both In The Rapids and It.  Since one goes directly into the next, it is hard to play one without the other.

Troy T.

Song Spotlight: Haven’t We Been Here Before, By Styx

Styx’s 1983 concept album Kilroy Was Here accomplished a few things. It brought the band new found popularity with the highly successful music video for the song Mr. Roboto. At the same time it split the band’s fan base. To this day many Styx fans dislike the musical direction that the band took with Kilroy Was Here. And ultimately the album led to the demise of the band in 1984.

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I will go on record and state that I truly love this album. I even love the much maligned track Mr. Roboto. For me it’s a fun, yet dramatic song with a great vocal by Dennis DeYoung. On the plus side, Kilroy Was Here contains some of the best music that the band ever produced. On the negative side, the album is far too short and the concept is not fully fleshed out. The album’s storyline is not clear or easy to follow from song to song. Overall it is a very solid album, however the band missed a big opportunity to put out a great concept album.

The latter half of the album finds a batch of songs that are among my favorite from the band. Haven’t We Been Here Before is one of those songs. The song finds Tommy Shaw and Dennis DeYoung elegantly harmonizing in a rare duet. Written by Tommy Shaw, it is one of the band’s most beautiful songs.

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I absolutely love Tommy Shaw’s vocals on this track. They are delicate, and filled with desperate emotion. During the chorus when he’s joined by Dennis DeYoung their harmonies are achingly beautiful. Styx as a band were known for exceptional vocal harmonies. This song really took things to a new and different level vocally.

Musically I can not say enough about the subtle brilliance on display throughout this song. Tommy holds the down the rhythm with his always steadily strummed acoustic guitar. Dennis DeYoung’s subtle keyboards add to the song’s dramatic feel. As the song progresses a slightly overdriven electric guitar enters and adds to the musical layers. The ever reliable Panozzo brothers hold down the foundation on bass and drums

The guitar solo contains the album’s most progressive rock moment. Tommy lays down a melodic and majestic sounding guitar solo. The rhythm section plays a musical figure that recalls the band’s best album, The Grand Illusion. This brief moment really elevates an already emotional and dramatic song.

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It’s such a shame that the band broke up after this album. Musically they tapped into something refreshing and different with Kilroy Was Here. As a fan I feel that the songs Just Get Through This Night, Double Life and Haven’t We Been Here Before are among the best written by the band. I would have loved it if Styx had recorded a whole album in the vein of these songs. I’ve always wondered what a follow up album would have sounded like. When this line up did reform in 1995, minus drummer John Panozzo, they had all moved on in other directions musically. Any hopes of more music akin to Kilroy Was Here seem to be long gone.

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Perhaps one day Dennis DeYoung and his band will play the whole Kilroy Was Here album live. I am sure that he has learned from the missteps of the Kilroy tour in 1983. No theatrics, no acting or prerecorded tracks. Just a fully live version of the album from start to finish. I feel that this album is too good to be left unplayed. I’m looking to Dennis DeYoung because there is no way that the current version of Styx will play it. Perhaps one day.

Troy T.

My Top Ten Favorite Metal Albums

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I’ve been a metalhead since 1984, so over the years I have heard quite a bit of metal.  Picking ten was hard, putting them in order would be near impossible.  So after much thought here are my top ten favorite heavy metal albums, in no particular order.

Candlemass – Nightfall:  Heavy riffs, amazing leads, great production and the vocals of the one of a kind Messiah Marcolin add up to an amazingly diverse doom metal masterpiece.

Metallica -Master Of Puppets:   Hands down the greatest thrash metal album of all time, one of the greatest metal albums of all time and perhaps THE metal album of the 80’s. 55 minutes of near perfection in metal.

KISS – Music From “The Elder”:   A concept album??? KISS?!?!?! Yep and it’s a good one. Deemed a failure by many, including the band, but one could argue that the band never sounded better.

Megadeth – Rust In Peace:  Megadeth’s best album and the second best thrash album of all time. The riffs and leads played by Dave Mustaine and Marty Friedman are insane.  Mustaine never sounded better vocally. The perfect mix of aggression and melody.

Zero Hour – The Towers Of Avarice:  Four equal parts creating the ultimate prog/technical metal album. Erik Rosvold sounding like the offspring of Ronnie James Dio, Geoff Tate and Freddie Mercury. The Tipton twins, Jason and Troy, locked in on guitar and bass taking the listener on a roller coaster ride of riffs. Mike Guy laying down the rhythm to this insane musical journey. As if that were not enough, it’s also a concept album.

Shadow Gallery – Tyranny:  A concept album on par with the greats. Mixing the influences of Queensryche, Metallica, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Queen, Dream Theater and Yngwie Malmsteen into a unique blend of prog metal that unlike other bands in the genre is the perfect mix of prog and metal. There is plenty of space for keyboard and guitar solos. Like the great concept albums the story is quite an emotional journey.

Queensryche – Operation: Mindcrime: Queensryche’s finest moment and one of the best concept albums in any genre.

Epica – Design Your Universe: My introduction to symphonic metal and the heavenly voice Of Simone Simons. A perfect mix of metal, thrash, death metal, progressive rock and classical music.

Sepultura – Beneath The Remains                                                                                  – Arise:

Two from the once mighty Sepultura. Sepultura did not invent thrash, but they sure perfected it.  With back to back albums they produced two classics of the genre. Led by one of the best voices and riffmeisters in thrash, Max Cavalera. The band also features two of the most overlooked musicians in metal, Igor Caverlera on drums and Andreas Kisser on lead guitar. Kissesr lays down some of the most melodic leads in thrash.

Honorable Mention: Albums that were close to making the top 10:
Extol – Burial
Stryper -In God We Trust
– Reborn
Overkill – The Years Of Decay
Extreme – III Sides To Every Story
Tourniquet – Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance