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Karibow - From Here To The Impossible CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.86 | 62 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars Oliver Rüsing is on a roll. His band's latest album, "From Here to the Impossible" seems to have done what a year ago might have been inconceivable: KariBow has topped "Holophinium".

But wait a moment! Back up, you say? KariBow? Holophinium? What's that? A garden shrub?

KariBow is a band project started by Oliver Rüsing way back in 1996. It was a six-piece outfit to begin with, but over the years members left and at last Oliver was the sole member. Working as an art professor and drum teacher, Oliver kept KariBow alive by writing and recording new material and releasing albums in small runs. Oliver is a talented song writer, composer, drummer, guitar player, and singer, and he seems to have no trouble handling bass and keyboards, plus he can record and mix everything on his own, and he does all the artwork to boot. Who needs a band when you can do all that?

But KariBow's releases were largely a private affair. That was until he recorded "Man of Rust" in 2011 and his wife encouraged him to submit it to the German Rock & Pop Musicians' Association and it won an award for best arrangement. Three years later, "Addicted" won the same award. Realising that he had something going on here, Oliver Rüsing began an ambitious project that would include guest musicians such as Michael Saddler (SAGA), Sean Timms (Southern Empire), and Colin Tench (Corvus Stone). It culminated in the double disc "Holophinium" which was released last year. The album proved to be a tremendous success as KariBow toured with SAGA. At the time, only "Addicted" was available from the back catalogue, but inspired by the great live reception, Oliver remixed and rereleased "Man of Rust" in the fall of 2016. And then this year in July came "From Here to the Impossible".

What makes any of the four recent albums work so well is Oliver's ability to write memorable, catchy melodies in an AOR format and blend in progressive passages or sneak in complex music beneath the melodies and beautiful choruses. Though "Addicted" and "Man of Rust" are less obviously progressive rock works (they are though!), "Holophinium" saw KariBow reaching for new heights. It was as if KariBow's music had come of age, smartly marrying melodic adult rock with modern progressive endeavors. And it's my opinion that "From Here to the Impossible" has taken one more step upwards.

Once again, KariBow delivers catchy and memorable melodies and once again the more complex passages are there. Right off the bat, we are treated to some of that in the first track "Here". But KariBow is more than just odd time signatures and stop/start rock. Once more Oliver has taken aboard a cast of outside talent and since last year also has a proper band to play live (one member joking that they were a KariBow cover band because they play live the music that KariBow wrote and recorded). This time we have Jim Gilmour of SAGA on keyboards, Sean Timms and Daniel Lopresto of Southern Empire bringing in piano/sax and guitars respectively (Daniel sings lead on "System of a Dream"), Monique Van Der Kolk of Harvest adding her beautiful vocals, Marek Arnold of Seven Steps to the Green Door and Toxic Smile contributing sax, piano and keyboards, and Mark Trueack of United Progressive Fraternity singing some backing vocals.

This team has created an album that goes where none of the other KariBow albums have gone before. Monique's vocals are angelic and complement Oliver's so well. The sax work on "Black Air" and "Never Last" is stellar, the whole instrumental intro to the former track being just superbly wonderful. And there's some orchestral arrangement for "Requiem".

Going beyond that, though, KariBow gives us harder edged rock in tracks like "Passion" and "Lost Peace" and contrasts that with such soothing ear candy in "Inside You", "Never Last" and the intros for "Crescent Man" and "Black Air". Songs are never entirely predictable because a harder-edged song might ease back and turn over a pretty melody or a softer track might crack a snare drum and slam down a power chord and change gear. One thing for certain is that for those who prefer their rock to not get too hard and heavy or too technical, KariBow is an easy choice then.

As with last year's "Holophinium", I feel KariBow have produced a very strong album that combines progressive rock with melodic rock. But it's my impression that the band has really struck just the right balance here. The music is truly coming to the forefront. Well done Oliver Rüsing and company!

FragileKings | 5/5 |


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