Yes, we are following straight on from the last post; The Sparrow, as well as being an excellent example of literary sf, is also, it turns out, a prog rock album by an obscure band called Metaphor.
I have to say that as either sci-fi music or prog rock it doesn’t quite tick all my boxes, but then my boxes are all weirdly Porcupine Tree shaped, and I’d only be annoyed if Metaphor just copied the Tree. That said, it does have its good moments, so let’s crack on with the review shall we?
The album opens with Inquisition, which is based on Emilio’s inquisition in the novel, and is similarly depressing. In fact, that is something of a recurring theme in the lyrics of the album – Mother Night is a particularly bleak song, and elsewhere titles like Death in Eden and God Will Break Your Heart sort of set the tone.
It’s not all that bad though, and some of the songs are quite fun: Deus Vult is about humankind’s realisation that we’re not that special, but just ‘another ball in freefall’; Stella Maris is about the trip out to Rakhat, and something about a turtle on a fence. the source of the mysterious space music. God Will Break Your Heart, meanwhile, goes for the chanting monks sound to pretty good effect.
Fence turtles not withstanding, I largely prefer the instrumental tracks; Song From A Nearby Star especially, while short… well, does exactly what it says on the tin; slightly spacey, mysterious, and leaves me wanting more.
And of course, this is a prog rock album, so there are of course Challallah Khaeri and Stranded, the obligatory 8 minute plus tracks with lengthy instrumental sections meandering across entire spectrum of prog sounds. You either like that sort of thing or you don’t, ultimately.
Stand-out tracks: Song From A Nearby Star, and God Will Break Your Heart.