Karmakanic - Entering The Spectra

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Regain Records
Catalog Number: RR0209-013
Format: CD
Total Time: 54:09:00

What would you think you'd get if you took 5 petals of The Flower Kings (a mix of current, then current and past members) and kept them together? You'd think you have The Flower Kings, wouldn't you, depending on the mix of petals. Well, here the mix that makes up Karmakanic is Jonas Reingold on bass, Jaime Salazar and Zoltan Cs?rsz on drums, Tomas Bodin on keyboards and Roine Stolt on vocals and guitars. And you know what? They do sometimes sound like The Flower Kings, but not always and not quite. It's a heavier FK. There are three other members to Karmakanic that are not members of TFK - Robert Engstrand on keyboards, G?ran Edman on vocals, and Johan Gl?ssner on guitar. (The lineup that recorded the second album, Wheel Of Life consists of Reingold, Csorsz, Edman and Krister Jonzon on electric and acoustic guitar).

Karmakanic sound like a lot of other people actually, besides the Flower Kings. The 60s Flower Kings-symphonic style can be heard in "Entering The Spectra - II Blue (The Innocent)" but that only represents a portion of the 12-minute epic that this title track is, as it moves through jazzy figures that puts bass at the forefront, to rockier guitar focused passages, to passages that focus on marimba like-keys ("III - Red," "IV - Purple" and "V - Indigo") only to return to the symphonic style of "II" for "VI - Green" and the closing movement "VII - White" (And the piece ends sounding a tad like how "Layla" ends... those last few dew-drop like guitar moment). And a heavier than TFK can be heard in "Cyberdust From Mars," it's rockier and more direct than most TFK material.

But beyond TFK, sometimes it's Pain of Salvation - "The Spirit Remains The Same" mixes middle-eastern vocal elements - vocalizations coming from deep within the throat - with shimmery guitar passages, and though Edman sounds more like Hasse Fr?berg than Daniel Gildenl?w, Karmakanic have a more metallic percussive edge here than FK, with screaming metal guitars for the sections that aren't balladic. Quite a dynamic in that contrast... a la Pain of Salvation. Bobo mentions Kansas and agree on that, too. And I personally thought of Orphaned Land with the vocalizations.

At others times it's a Star One sounding marching space metal epic "Space Race No. 3" complete with a chorus of voices singing throughout (think "High Moon"); or it's easy-going, bluesy, melodic rock more befitting ... oh Richard Marx comes to mind at the moment ("The Man In The Moon Cries") or rockier pop-rock piece that made me think of Robbie Neville and his hit "C'est La Vie" ("Loser's Game").

At another time we get a heavy guitar/bass/drums fusiony riffing instrumental that you know had to be written by Reingold given the bass' prominence and that brings to mind the fiery excursions of Planet X ("One Whole Half").

The first part of "Is This It?" is a balladic piece that reminds me of Elton John (Edman's vocals and the use of piano both) and that it should be in some modern stage play ("Part II" of this piece is atmospheric and subtle keys; the latter section "Part III" moves from TFK, to Pink Floyd, to a parpy, neo-classical prog metal keyboard solo from guest Richard Anderson).

"Cello Suite No 1 in G Major" is Reingold on fretted bass, riffing in a deep and bubbly tone, demonstrating that like the guitarists he's working with, he too is fleet fingered. This bubbly bass sound continues into the intro of "Welcome To Paradise" a rocking piece with lots of keys and percussion... that ultimately becomes a funky a little piece that'll get your feet moving. This piece is so varied, that it can be hard to describe... and sometimes it's just downright weird, such as the bit of verbal exchange that happens at around the 6-minute mark. Only the lyrics for some of the pieces are included, this being one of those not included.

Well, I have to say I like this CD, and like it quite a bit. The mostly spoken-word piece that opens the album (which sets out the overall concept) will get tired after a while, but the rest of the album more than makes up for it. And if you truly love this thing called progressive rock - by which I mean a certain aspect to that very broad genre - then you will love this. Yeh, sure it's because it influenced by so much that has gone before... or concurrently. And you will even come to like the pop bits. "Loser's Game" is a bonus track for the North American release of the CD, so while I won't say that European listeners are missing out per se... it's a nice song, but it's the prog rock and metal-esque stuff that comes before that is the meat. It's a really nifty release that sounds, production-wise, very great, giving you a lots of musical detal. Recommended.

The Little Man (1:29) / Entering The Spectra (12:20) / The Spirit Remains The Same (6:01) / Cyberdust From Mars (3:34) / Space Race No 3 (4:36) / The Man In The Moon Cries / One Whole Half (5:17) / Is This The End ? (7:12) / Cello Suite No 1 In G Major (1:02) / Welcome To Paradise (9:19) / Bonus Track: Loser's Game (4:12)

Jonas Reingold - fretless and fretted basses, keyboards, and backing vocals
Roine Stolt - electric and acoustic guitars, vocals (2, 4)
G?ran Edman - vocals (3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11)
Jaime Salazar - drums and percussion (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10)
Zoltan Cs?rz - drums and percussion (2)
Tomas Bodin - keyboards (2, 4, 6, 10)
Johan Gl?ssner - electric and acoustic guitars (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10)
Robert Engstrand - keyboards (5, 8, 10), grand piano (5, 8)


Diana Nunez - The story teller (1)
Thomas Nyberg - backing vocals
Inger Ohl?n - backing vocals (2), psychedelic voice (5)
Zapata Joy - tales from the bush
Chris Palm - electric guitars (7)
Richard Anderson - keyboard solo

Entering The Spectra (2002)
Wheel Of Life (2004)
Who's The Boss In The Factory (2008)
The Power Of Two (w/Agents Of Mercy) (2010)
In A Perfect World (2011)
Live In The USA (2014)
Dot (2016)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: October 15th 2005
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: reingoldrecords.se
Hits: 1261
Language: english


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