Babylon - s/t. 1978 USA

Babylon - s/t. 1978 Mehum Music

CD reissues: 1999 Syn-Phonic; 2010 Belle Antique (Japan mini LP).

Packaging details: The original LP was pressed twice, first with a white cover, and the second with the silver one (the top cover shown). I own the silver one on LP, but they're both relatively scarce. It hasn't been repressed on vinyl since. Along with the LP, I still own the Syn-Phonic CD that I bought on day 1 of release. Nice reissue with plenty of unique photos of the band. There's scant bio info though, which is a bit of a disappointment. Note the CD cover has been doctored a bit to look more like an alien. The Japanese CD restores the original cover art. Still, that's not enough for me to consider getting it, as the original single cover isn't really that interesting.

Review: Well it's quite apparent by reading many reviews, that a lot of folks (mainly progressive rock fans) aren't too keen on the sole studio Babylon album. Not to be a contrarian, but I like it immensely. The CD liner notes say that Babylon were influenced by Genesis, King Crimson, Gentle Giant, Van Der Graaf Generator, Happy the Man and "various European and American progressive bands." Yea, whatever. It's 98% Genesis circa 1970-1973 and 2% the rest and maybe Yes is 1% of that. So they ape the sound of "Trespass" through "Selling England By the Pound". Is that so bad? The songs are entirely original, but the style is ridiculously similar to Gabriel and crew. The US landscape of 1978 is filled with bands that mixed progressive rock with AOR styled pop rock. Not Babylon. This is progressive rock made by geeks to be listened to by progressive rock geeks (I'm guilty as charged). Personally I think 'Dreamfish' is their masterpiece and a song that perfectly fits their sound. It's like Genesis extract: Hyper, intense, dramatic and complex. A great album, and Tampa Bay's one sole contribution to progressive rock... long before they would become the Death Metal capital of the world.

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