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Karibow - Holophinium CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.86 | 70 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars If you haven't heard of KariBow yet you can be excused. Although the band has some 15 albums (some of which are not full length, I presume), and although band leader Oliver Rüsing has issued an additional 6 or 7 albums under other band project titles prior to the founding of KariBow, many of the albums were limited edition pressings. When I recently inquired about purchasing older CDs, I was told that aside from the latest release, "Holophinium" and the previous album "Addicted", no other KariBow CDs are currently available, though "Man of Rust" is available as a download. This might change soon, however, as KariBow are currently on tour in Germany with SAGA and the feedback from the audience has been far above expectations. Demands for more KariBow albums could see near-future reissues of older recordings.

So what is stirring up all the fuss? KariBow's latest album "Holophinium": a double serving of crossover prog that blends strong AOR and catchy vocal melodies that will cling to your brain with a modern progressive sound that mixes heavier guitar rock with a synthesizer-inclusive neo-prog format. There are times when this album might make you think of IQ or Arena without the music sounding just like those bands.

On the previous album "Addicted", KariBow focused more on the melodic adult contemporary AOR rock style, filling it with beautiful choruses and that sweet kind of powerful layered guitar rock and less emphasis on the technical (i.e. progressive) side. If the kids would stop fighting in the car long enough, I am sure my wife would like this album. "Holophinium" maintains that style but dares to go further into the modern progressive sound, also adding in some heavier parts that go almost prog metal.

The first disc, entitled "Fragments", is a succession of separate tracks, contrary to the second disc, "Letter from the White Room", which plays out like a single epic divided into individual tracks that segue into each succeeding track. There is an atmosphere that pervades the whole album, and I find it very easy to slip into this soundscape and just go along for the ride. Aside from Rüsing's warm, passionate vocals, there are many great moments to catch along the way in the music as well as in the melodies. The album features several guests, including Michael Sadler of SAGA who sings wonderfully on "River", Colin Tench of Corvus Stone who embellishes "Part of the Century" with his lead guitar expertise, and Sean Timms of Unitopia and Southern Empire who plays some great keyboards on "Quantum Leap", and Karsten Stiers who takes lead vocal on "Orbital Spirits".

Recent reviews of the album have stated that this is one of those double albums that seems to end too soon. I personally find that there is something to discover in nearly every track and something to then look forward to with each subsequent listen. The second disc is only just over 36 minutes long and each part works well as an individual song, so this is not a tedious epic to trudge through. Careful attention has gone into crafting each track and the production captures the essence of the whole musical experience very nicely.

Aside from terrific song writing and musical performances, the digipak folds out in eight panels and includes a 32- page art booklet. It's an impressive package both visually and in melodic neo-progressive rock. Samples and a promotional video can be seen and heard on the official KariBow website.

FragileKings | 4/5 |


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