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Karmakanic - Who's the Boss in the Factory? CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 482 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars The boss is in the house (or in da house, if you prefer)

If there's one thing you gotta love about the ''retro'' bands on the current scene is that they know how to make consistently good albums. It's also cool to see who works on what cd and what project because at this point the line-up for these albums are starting to look like the family tree in a Louisiana swamp, small and interconnected. Jonas Reingold has appeared as the bass player for several bands such as Kaipa, Midnight Sun and Tomas Bodin, he's also produced a number of offerings for bands. He's best known for work on his own solo project, but also as a main-stay with The Flower Kings and The Tangent. This guy certainly is busy, but that hasnt stopped him from outputting this excellent opus. The line-up for the album makes one grin as it's pretty clear that Reingold has a lot of people who owe him favors. Along for the ride with Reingold are Zoltan Csorsz (The Flower Kings, The Tangent) on drums and jazz master Krister Jonsson (The Tangent, solo) on guitar. Guesting on the album are a few more familiar faces such as Andy Tillison (The Tangent, Parallel or 90 Degrees) on the organ and hammond, Tomas Bodin on keyboards and Theo Travis (The Tangent, No-Man, Travis and Fripp, Theo Travis Band). Quite frankly, a perfect line-up for this kind of album.

Karmakanic's third album, Who's The Boss In The Factory, is a lot of what you can expect from these guys based on their previous works. So fans of the avant fans can flee for cover and those who love ''retro'' old-school progressive rock should step right up for this album. With only 6 tracks it's pretty evident that this bass player was going for the grandiose feeling rather than the concise, and he seems to have pulled it off rather well. Here we get exactly what people want to hear from this kind of band, we have the 20-minute sprawling epic, the 13-minute powerhouse, a shorter rocker, a 10-minute mini epic and an emotional conclusion to the album.

A lot of people are likely already drawing parallels to The Flower Kings [TFK] just upon hearing the description of the album. Well, there are a lot of parallels, but these are two completely separate entities. While Jonas plays a more loose and jazzy bass on TFK's efforts he's switched to a harder-rocking sound for this album. While TFK is more of a light-hearted group with upbeat songs, Karmakanic is a little bit more cynical in the long run of things. Reingold says he made the album with the intent to make people feel good, something definitely archived by the opening epic, Send A Message From The Heart, which has all the upbeateties you could ever hope to find in a song. Soaring keyboard solos and a nicely uplifting voice from Göran Edman make for a very pleasant tune. The rest of the album, however, starts to get a little cynical. The excellent rocker, Let In Hollywood, is lead by a powerful bass and synth riff and makes for a good chorus when it rolls around. This makes for a nice break between the epics, as the lengthy title track is short to follow. This one is a lot slower and more evil sounding with it's chants and synths pressing in an almost industrial fashion. Two Blocks From The Edge is another more evil sounding song thanks to Theo Travis's wonderful sax work and the generally malevolent atmosphere provided by the keyboards and hammonds.

Of course the final two songs really deserve credit. Eternally (Part I and II) may feel slightly out of place as these are much more 'sad' songs than the rest, but that can be expected being that Reingold wrote these songs for his parents who tragically passed away late last year. The emotion can be felt right off the top of the first section as Part I is a short but delicate piano piece and Part II is filled with grand string sections and an emotional voice. The songs combine to make for a very moving piece, and Reingold really pulled it off well.

Great and somewhat dark symphonic prog from a great group of musicians. Fans of any of the bands mentioned above should definitely seek to acquire this record, you won't be disappointed. People who feel that TFK albums go on for too long or have too much ''filler'' should also seek solace in this record, since there's nothing on the album that could be considered as such. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to say that with this release the alumni of the various bands that the musicians come from have given their other bands a run for their money. 4 stars out of 5! A great effort.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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