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Ken's Novel - The Guide  CD (album) cover

THE GUIDE

Ken's Novel

 

Neo-Prog

3.13 | 16 ratings

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Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I know Ken's Novel for the first time when its song "Homeland" was featured in a compilation CD Un Voyage en Progressif Volume 3 - VARIOUS ARTISTS (LABEL SAMPLERS) from Musea. From then on I tried to know better about the band because I think the music was nice. The line-up of the band is basically very standard neo progressive or symphonic prog bands with five personnel. Homeland was taken from their debut "The Guide" which seems to me like a concept album. In general, the music they play is similar with those from Arena, Pallas, IQ or Pendragon. So, if you love those bands, I belive you will love this as well. The music of Ken's Novel is standard in the structure and style but it has a distinctive aspect, i.e. the guitar is played heavier than typical neo prog bands which usually sound something like Hackett or Rothery.

Conceptually, this album might be quite pretentious in its packaging especially in the way they present the tracks (by chapter, like a novel, really). They open the chapter with a beautiful "The Guide" (9:02). The track starts off with a beach nuance where you can hear the sounds of the nature, like when you sit on the beach. Soft keyboard work enters nicely with the sound of people mumbling and narratives while the keyboard notes play a music like an eastern music. The music enters in neo prog vein driven by pulsating keyboard work and flat drumming work. The vocal line flows in melodic way backed with guitar and keyboard. The guitar riffs remark the change of the beat into more uplifting one with more guitar work. It's a nice music especially with relatively aggressive violin solo in the later part of the song. I am sure neo prog lovers will love this song.

"Guiltry Witnesses" (5:31) is much more uplifting since the opening part with inventive keyboard as well as guitar work. The guitar solo is stunning and it's mixed thinly. Drumwork is a bit annoying, actually, because there are not so many improvisations. There is part where duet vocals is performed with male & female voices followed by great keyboard solo. "Homeland" (8:16) turns the music down with lead vocal sings with strong accentuation while the guitar howls augmented by long sustain keyboards. It's a nice song with excellent violin work and guitar riffs. The guitar solo is stunning and the song contains some hike-ups which makes the music dynamic. I personally enjoy this song.

"Power And Dignity" (7:42) starts with a repetitive keyboard backed by percussion and people chanting in African style. The riff-based music enters nicely augmented by soaring keyboard and percussion when vocal enters. The keyboard solo is nice, really. "Be Yourself Again" (7:59) brings the music in nature again with the sounds of birds like in the jungle, followed by keyboard effects and programming and dynamic drumming (programmed) followed by a straight rocker when the vocal enters. In fact, this is a nice song with dynamic structure and styles. I salute the band on making a lot of variations throughout the song. This song sounds different compared to the others.

"Thorny Present" (1:09) is a very nice bridge using classical guitar and it reminds me to Genesis' "Horizon" only that this is with vocal. "Rumour Of War" (6:16) starts with keyboard effects followed by vocal and drums. The drum then flows dynamically augmented by guitar while keyboard consistently delivers its sound effects. The interlude is filled with guitar solo. "Shielded?" (4:58) explores piano and percussion in a bit of jazzy style. The guitar solo in the middle is backed by percussion and piano. "In Disgrace" (1:28) is a bridge which starts with guitar sound effects followed by vocals in dialogue while electric guitar plays beautifully at background in rocking mode. "A Matter Of Pride" (4:58) starts nicely with acoustic guitar and piano featuring vocal. It's an unplugged song with good sound.

Overall, this is a worth collecting debut album from Ken's Novel. It has good composition and performance with some catchy segments throughout the album. For neo prog lovers, this is probably a recommended album. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 3/5 |

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