Poor Genetic Material – Island Noises

Poor Genetic Material is a German melodic prog band, one of many to grace my ears in recent weeks. In today’s overly recycled and inconsistent prog scene, making a double album can sometimes be seen as a last-ditch attempt to distinguish oneself from the merciless hordes of Genesis copycats and the like. Poor Genetic Material do manage to release an hour and a half of generally enjoyable music here, but all the same, I do not think that this is quite enough to make them leap up from their peers. ‘Island Noises’ is a very warm and enjoyable, yet tame release.

A project that initially set out to make soundtrack music, Poor Genetic Material have since sought to go for a more melodic route in their music, although the ambient direction typically associated with soundtrack or film music is still here in the longer pieces of the album. As well, Poor Genetic Material write music in tribute to some literary material, which could be considered a soundtrack in itself. What I am referring to is their two-part rendition of ‘Brave New World’, one of my favourite novels. The band manages to take the core material and express it through a somewhat brooding, yet ultimately upbeat pair of tracks that make up the highlight of this album.

The performance of the musicians is quite well done, although the work with guitars and drums is nothing too impressive so as to shock the listener or anything. One aspect of the band that did really impress me were the vocals of Phil Griffiths, who has a strong voice on him. The music here is something that one would expect from melodic rock; nothing too adventurous, but pleasant and warm. One thing that does happen to work against the overall effect of this album is the length, which is also arguably its greatest selling point. At over an hour and a half long, this is a monster of music, that one would imagine needs many listens to properly digest. Sadly, there aren’t enough nuances or depth enough to warrant such a long journey. Something half as long would have benefited the listener just as much, if not more. ‘Island Noises’ has some good melodic prog that I have enjoyed, despite not being a fan of the particular style itself.


Disc 1:
1. Roarers (5:39)
2. A Dance So Strange (4:44)
3. Brave New World – part 1 (3:56)
4. Brave New World – part 2 (5:52)
5. Caliban’s Dream (6:09)
6. Island Noises (19:55)

Disc 2:
1. Banquet Of Illusion (5:49)
2. Assassins And Sleepers (5:47)
3. In A State Of Grace (6:22)
4. Fountain Of Innocence (8:38)
5. Sycorax (4:32)
6. Ariel (2:42)
7. Drowning The Book (9:04)
8. Dreamstuff (8:33)


* Phil Griffiths – vocals
* Stefan Glomb – guitars
* Philipp Jaehne – piano, organ
* Dennis Sturm – bass
* Dominik Steinbacher – drums
* Martin Griffiths – recitations



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