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Karcius - Episodes CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.09 | 56 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Always restlessly approaching their interests in an eclectic sort of prog rock that mixes jazz-rock, psychedelia, fusion and symphonic textures, the guys of Karcius have released yet another gem in their repertoire by the end of 2008: "Episodes" is a marvelous exhibition of how much creatity these guys carry in their minds and souls in order o keep their artistic proposal fresh and renewed. As always, this band's sonic framework is loose enough as to fluidly incorporate sources of musical power that somehow relate their essence to the standards of prog-metal. You can also notice some bizarre progressions and ornaments that feel quite close to the challenging pace of avant-prog. This album doesn't fall short concerning these assets, but as I said before, Karcius does not replicate itself. "Episodes" comprises some new explorations related to space-rock, which in turn serves as a motive to emphasize the psychedelic factor that had already been present in preceding albums. The three sections of 'Elements' open up the album in a most revealing fashion. 'Submersion', the autonomous title of the first section, openly flirts with he dense flow of your regular spacey psychedelic rock. At first, Suriol's piano keeps things on a level of dreamy majesty, but it is only when l? Esperánce's lead guitar comes to the fore that the track meets its main body and crucial development. Things pretty much get heavy-prog, featuring an incendiary guitar lead augmented by an ominous choir mellotron. The opening motif then returns, partially capturing the increased energy. The last two minutes get very spacey, with a bass guitar riff that paves the way for the emergence of 'Sol', the second section. This one is more celebratory, elaborating a jazz-funk groove that might as well remind us of Weather Report-meets-Brand-X. Near the end, things get hardened, linked to the current era of jazz-rock. 'Combustion', the suite's third section, benefits from this particularly explicit momentum, with a first part that combines metallish riffs and Floydian environments: there is something grayish, subtly sinister about it. After the 6 minute mark, things get tighter up to the point of arriving at LTE-like territory. The epic conclusion provides a reprise of the bridge between sections 1 and 2. This suite has been simply lovely, a manifestation of the album's main virtues as a whole. 'Incident' is more patently fusion-oriented, clearly influenced by good old Return to Forever (mostly due to the Flamenco-like atmospheres), but there is also that aura of musical extravagance that sounds closer to bands such as The Lonely Bears. The piano sonata entitled 'Levant' is only 2 ˝ minutes long, but that's OK since its Gershwin moods are developed in a most efficient manner. A lovely piece, indeed. In this way, the listener is prepared to listen to 'Purple King', a solid rocker in which the lead guitarist seems o pay homage to Allan Holdsworth and Jeff Beck. The progressive ornaments that go settling in allow the band to teach a lesson of prog metal even if it is not a prog metal group. There is also an organ solo very worthy of a special mention, in which we find traces of Lord's exquisiteness and Emerson's vibration. 'Purple King' can be fairly regarded as the album's zenith. 'Racine' occupies the album's last 9- minutes. This one is very much like Ozric Tentacles: starting with a white reggae vibe, later on the track shifts towards a space-rock momentum augmented with fusion touches. This is very similar to Ozric Tentacles at their most sophisticated. Ultimately, the first motive is reinstated in order to provide a cosmic relaxation with agile spacey textures. All in all, this albums doesn't equal the robustness of 2kaleidoscope", but it is not to say that this album is soft or lacking stamina. It has lots of stamina, indeed, but the band has put it in a more subtle level. Karcius still rules!
Cesar Inca | 4/5 |


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