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K2 - 'Black Garden' http://ns2.rocktopiarecords.com/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/83/38/8d/936_k2blackgarden_1296256457.jpeg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     January 28, 2011    
 
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The seven tracks on offer have all the hallmarks of the genre: good songs, decent melodies and amazing musicianship.

Originally a project featuring a number of Prog luminaries (e.g. Alan Holdsworth) put together by bassist Ken Jaquess to play music he had created, it has taken another five years for the quintet that he subsequently gathered as the 'live' incarnation of the band to put out album number two.

Aside from Jaquess we have the ubiquitous Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard, GPS) on keyboards, Josh Gleason (vocals), Karl Johnson (guitar) and Doug Sanborn (drums), who between them have created a pretty impressive collection of classic Prog tracks. It probably goes without saying that it's a concept album, based on the journey undertaken by the ancient Polynesians as they sailed the globe before settling in the South Pacific. All this 2000 years before Columbus.

The seven tracks on offer have all the hallmarks of the genre, good songs, decent melodies, amazing musicianship and those extended instrumental sections that transport you to a better place emotionally. If you are seeking comparisons than there's a particularly obvious one thanks to Gleason's voice because he bears a remarkable resemblance to Peter Gabriel, which instantly brings Genesis to mind. That said, after listening to this a number of times I changed my view slightly because whilst Gabriel is the key comparison he also has a slug of each of Fish and Nad Sylvan (Agents of Mercy, Unifaun) in his voice as well. Musically there are other influences in the mix, not least Spock's Beard, Yes, Transatlantic, Presto Ballet, Marillion and Rick Wakeman all making an appearance from time to time, and of course the use of Mellotron again harks at Genesis.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The title track opens proceedings and really sets out the band's stall with great vigour, huge symphonic keyboards and lush bass, redolent of Chris Squire (Yes), driving the song along in rampant fashion. Johnson's solos are well observed and Jaquess' bass is an absolute delight. I have to say that a number of the melodies on the album weren't immediately memorable but this is one of those that requires time to reveal all its glories. 'Storm At Sunset' is pure early Genesis, although Okumoto gets to show his prowess with the piano during the quiet passage in the middle of the song. If I have one gripe it would be that at times Okumoto gets a bit widdly for my taste, but that's a minor criticism in the overall scheme of things.

There's a theme on 'Path Of The Warrior' that reminds me of The Flower Kings and yet at other times Spock's Beard come to mind. Like the album itself this track is an epic that moves through different themes and tempos and it encapsulates why Prog fans are going to lap this up.

Gary Marshall


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