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Proto-Kaw - The Wait Of Glory CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.65 | 94 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Proto-Kaw's second release as a reunited group is almost as strong as the first, and by almost, I mean "on the heels of." It's a very strong album overall, and like the first, has only a few songs that drag it down a bit. Other than that, there's so much here to sink one's teeth into, with several moments of absolute brilliance. Almost everything is strong here: Kerry Livgren's solid song-crafting, Lynn Meredith's distinctive vocals, and the band's tightness work together to produce a collection of music well worth having.

"Nevermore" The tribal feel working with powerful electric guitar, drums, and Craig Kew's heavy bass make for a great combination. The lyrical sections of this song proceed at a moderate pace. Meredith sings reservedly for the most part. Livgren's guitar work is exceptional, and I really like Dan Wright's organ build-up during the middle. No, he is not Keith Emerson, but his style works extremely well within the context of the music. No musician takes center stage here for too long. In fact, because of the way the musicians work together and take their turns in the spotlight (something I have always admired about Kansas), the instrumental section of "Nevermore" is one of their best. There is a spirited guitar solo that accompanies the song as it fades out.

"Relics of the Tempest" Regal strings and flute lead into a more straightforward rock song. The vocal melody is simply excellent, and Meredith comes out more strongly than on the previous song (although sometimes it sounds like he has a cold). The lyrics describe a (post-Rapture) apocalyptic world. The instrumental section, full of flute and electric guitar, is uplifting.

"When the Rains Come" This is a song composed of very different but well-constructed sections, the first of which is some wild saxophone work and intriguing guitar. After two minutes of this, things calm down for powerful and pleasant piano and acoustic guitar, over which Meredith sings and John Bolton's flute pipes in from time to time. The vocal harmonies are superb here. Once again, the instrumental section is fantastic and vigorous; the musicians (not the least of which is Wright) produce a thick wall of sound, one that can at times be very delicate.

"On the Eve of the Great Decline" Yet another excellent track, this has a mystical feel during the verse, and the chorus is highly powerful. Inspiring acoustic guitar and exotic flute pave the way for Meredith to perform at his best. It's a stellar performance, and one of my favorites on the album.

"Physic" This one opens up with some strange sounds briefly before getting into the main theme, which is a jazz-tinged, saxophone-laden rocker. After a couple minutes of music, the singing begins, which isn't bad, but isn't exactly a highlight of the album either. The harmonies are again exceptional, as is Wright's organ during the last two minutes.

"At Morning's Gate" A simpler melody takes over at this point. It's a brief song, with heavy piano and a clear-cut Christian message.

"Melicus Gladiator" Striking electric guitar and saxophone bring this charged rocker in. Vocalist Jake Livgren has a lot of energy, making it even heavier. The keyboard solo is similar to those of Jodan Rudess of Dream Theater- fast, furious, and sounding like a guitar. The other instrumental work is equally fascinating.

"The Vigil" Things simmer down a good bit on this somewhat extended piece. The vocals come in immediately with an interesting chord progression on piano and acoustic guitar. The other instruments are far more subtle during the verses, but on the chorus, it's John Bolton's flute that stands out alongside Meredith's convicting voice. The lyrics on this song are some of my favorite from all of Livgren's work. The bridge is exquisitely crafted, as is the instrumental section, which features a synthesizer solo, Craig Kew's embellishments on his fretless bass, and awesome layers of vocals.

"Old Number 63" This funk-tinged rocker has some annoying shrieks and spoken vocals. It's easily my least favorite track on this album, one that I'm always tempted to skip (and I often fall to that temptation). As a reward for listening, however, the musicians get some great jamming in, and each solo is extremely good.

"Osvaldo's Groceries" The only instrumental on this record boasts some quirky polyphony and some eccentric musicianship. The voices on the piece are definitely on the weirder side of weird. At times, the music has a distinctive Yiddish flavor.

"Picture This" A lovely verse gives way to an even lovelier (almost Celtic) section in 10/4. Wright dazzles the listener with some subtle but fancy phrases from his organ. The guitar lends this song the rest of what it needs to be a great piece.

"One Fine Day" The last track (more of a bonus track) is Proto-Kaw breaking out with some Motown. It's funky enough, and I guess is a fun piece to listen to, but nothing is lost in passing it by.

Epignosis | 4/5 |


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