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Proto-Kaw - Forth CD (album) cover

FORTH

Proto-Kaw

 

Symphonic Prog

3.12 | 51 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Their third album comes forth

This third full-length studio record from Proto-Kaw seem to have passed under the radar of many Prog fans, including - for a long time - my own, I must admit. For those who don't know the background of the band, Proto-Kaw was a band that existed in the very early 70's and was Kerry Livgren's pre-Kansas band. Nothing was released under the name of Proto-Kaw at the time, but recordings from 1971 to 1973 emerged in 2002 to coincide with the return of the band after some 30 years. Brand new material was then recorded and resulted in the aptly titled studio album Before Became After in 2004. A couple of years later came another studio disc in The Wait Of Glory. Both of these albums are very good and highly recommended!

Being a Kansas fan I naturally had an interest in hearing Proto-Kaw, but it must be pointed out that the two bands are quite different. I like to think of Proto-Kaw as the American counterpart of Jethro Tull. Like that of the latter band, the sound of Proto-Kaw contains heavy Rock with jazzy and bluesy elements and lots of flutes and keyboards. But also similarities with other early progressive Rock groups like King Crimson and Camel can be detected. Given the ancient roots of the band, the 'proto' in the name is very apt, not just because of the relation to Kansas, but also because Proto-Kaw could actually be seen as representing an alternative route that progressive Rock could have taken on the other side of the Atlantic (unlike Kansas which was perhaps more of an American take on British Prog).

Forth continues in a similar style to the previous two albums but perhaps one could say that this one is a little bit slicker compared to Before Became After and The Wait Of Glory. While some songs are every bit as progressive and almost as good as the material on those previous albums, there are here also a few more straightforward, bluesy rockers that I don't care all that much for. Though I agree with what seems to be the general consensus among those who have heard this album that it is relatively weaker compared to its predecessors, I do not agree that it is a weak album as such considered in its own right. Certainly a newcomer should best begin with Before Became After and The Wait Of Glory, but anyone who admires those albums will probably find something to like here as well. At least, I do.

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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