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Kansas - Leftoverture CD (album) cover

LEFTOVERTURE

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

4.21 | 665 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

spookytooth
5 stars (Originally posted on rateyourmusic.com)

Sad that people assume that Kansas is yet another throwaway late 70's early 80's arena rock band simply because their huge hit Carry on Wayward Son was hard rocking and appealed to fans of arena rock (even though if you look deeper, Carry On IS a prog song). These people who assumed this are either: A. retarded B. haven't listened to other Kansas material C. Didn't realize that they made Dust In the Wind which is far, far away from arena rock. Most of these people turn out to be either B or C, luckily. Anyway, on with the review:

This album is absolutely amazing. Every song is flawlessly composed and put into the right area. The album starts out with the hard rocking, fist pumping Carry on Wayward Son, which was (unintentionally) a huge international hit, and secured their popularity for the rest of rock existence. People think of this song as arena rock or poppy, but really, they're wrong. If you look deeper, you can see time signature changes, epic (and very good) lyrics (they were very good songwriters), a wide variety of instruments (and elaborate instrument playing), and three guitar solos and a keyboard solo. Very good song, just happened to be killed by radio overplay (As many great rock songs have been. Nirvana, anyone?)

The next song is more proggy, The Wall and has a religious theme. Very good, too. What's on my Mind could be considered the most pop song on the album, due to it's lyrical content, catchy riffs, and not as much complex instrumentation. They get very close to sounding like a Foreigner or Styx clone.

However, Miracles Out of Nowhere completely blows this arena rock skepticism out of the water. Starting out with an acoustic guitar, a violin piece (adding to their uniqueness), and a keyboard solo. Very good track. Opus Insert and Questions of my Childhood keeps up the pace, too...

...But The next two pieces don't, they go faster than the previous pace! Cheyenne Anthem is an incredible song. It starts out very folky, with acoustic guitars and keyboards in the background, but slowly builds up to multiple solos on guitars, keyboards, and even the violin, and this song, along with the next one, are some perfect examples of their original and unique wall of sound, which is when the violin, guitars, drums, bass, and the keyboards are all playing at the same time. Now on to the next song...

...Magnum Opus. The title fits perfectly. This could be the best musical piece they have ever done. Only a paragraph of spoken lyrics in the entire song, but the incredible instrumentation throughout just fits together like a puzzle. The slow, soft sounding drums slowly become louder with an organ softly emerging in, as if it's creeping up on you. And later, the guitars emerge as if they came out of nowhere, and the drums become harder, along with all the other instruments. The instrumentation thereafter can be described as nothing as flawless, and I'm not exaggerating, either. The slow, awesome sounding guitars playing alongside an eerie violin in the middle of the song just adds to the greatness of this song., and the instrumental playing slows down, and the lyrics start to emerge, as if it's another instrument itself. After the lyrics, some more great instrumentation, and some greatly arranged distorted guitar solos that add both texture and depth of the song, and the song slowly goes back to the same melody from the beginning of the song, as if it were a theatrical performance (which is what the album feels like).

Leftoverture is not only the best Kansas album, but in the top five of the best prog albums I've ever listened to. It's sad to see this album is fading away from the public eye, people need to get over the arena rock assumptions. Arena Rock is an idiotic statement, anyway. If it were a true genre, wouldn't the Beatles or the Rolling Stones be considered this because they played in arenas? Completely idiotic. Anyway, Kansas (along with Thin Lizzy) may be one of the most underrated rock bands ever. Definitely a must buy, especially if you are a prog fan. Every track is flawless, and they flow seamlessly through and they fit as if it were a theatrical production (as I stated earlier). Get this album NOW! No excuses...

spookytooth | 5/5 |

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