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Kansas - Audio-Visions CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.04 | 263 ratings

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2 stars To understand this recording I think some history of the band at that time needs to be brought to light. There were three Kansas related albums released in 1980. Solo albums by the main writers Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh detracted heavily from this one. In hindsight Kansas maybe should have taken the year off but I am sure pressure from CBS made them do an album anyway. After the huge success of Leftoverture and Point of Know Return Steve Walsh was having a lot of people whisper in his ear that he didn't need Kansas. Steve had already quit once but was talked back into coming back. Steve was seeing himself as rock singer in the lines of his hero Paul Rodgers. He wanted more mainstream music with a harder edge to it and was pushing the band in that direction. So much so that he got the band to drop Livgren's No One Together from Monolith! Livgren on the other hand had just converted to Christianity and was struggling to find himself as the musician and artist he was versus his vision of himself now, a man of God. The rest of the members were desperately trying to figure out how they could keep afloat through all of this instability and change.

So we come to the album. Of course we know that both Walsh and Livgren did not pony up, what they felt, were their best songs and reserving them for their solo albums. So Audio Visions is already crippled by this. Got Rock On, Loner and Anything for You were better suited for Steve solo album Schemer Dreamer than they were for Kansas. In fact Steve had stopped writing prog after Closet Chronicles on POKR. Of Livgren's less than prog fare here we have Relentless and Hold On the latter being the single released from the album. Better than Walsh's offering to be sure but Kerry has written better. (Although the guitar solo in Hold On still has some meaning for me.) Livgren did contribute two proggier songs in Curtain of Iron and the song left off Monolith No One Together (Livgren said he wrote this song particularly because he felt Kansas was moving too far away from this kind of song) there along with Walsh's Back Door represent the highlights of this album. The other two songs No room for a stranger penned by Walsh and Rich Williams is forgettable and the other is a band composition Don't Open Your Eyes Too Soon is not bad. Kind of a spooky song but with good energy.

So taken this all into consideration the three songs make this a two star album for me. As some mentioned you can get the best songs for this on other compilations so buying this one is for collectors only. Outside of No One Together, Hold On and Curtain of Iron I do not listen to this whole album anymore. If Kerry Livgren had decided to contribute Mask of the Great Deceiver, Ground Zero and Just One Way from his solo album Seeds Of Change this album might have been among Kansas best instead of their worst.

Garion81 | 2/5 |


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