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Karibow - MOnuMENTO CD (album) cover

MONUMENTO

Karibow

 

Crossover Prog

3.84 | 6 ratings

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FragileKings
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Oliver Rusing's KariBow has really been on a roll these last few years. Ever since earning a couple of German Music Awards early in the decade, KariBow has stepped up the gear and delivered almost two albums a year, beginning with the double disc package of "Holophinium" in 2016, 2017's "From Here to Nowhere" and the reissue of "Man of Rust", and 2018's selection of unreleased tracks "The Unchosen" along with the double disc "MOnuMENTO".

Though Oliver is responsible for nearly everything from instruments, to song-writing and vocals, to recording and mixing, he has since 2016 brought in a selection of talented guests to contribute to the KariBow sound. Guests have included the late Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, CTP, Oceans 5), Sean Timms (Unitopia, Southern Empire, Damanek), Marek Arnold (Seven Steps to the Green Door, Toxic Smile, Cyril), Monique van der Kolk (Harvest), and Michael Saddler (SAGA) to name but a few.

"MOnuMENTO" was inspired by the hypothetical thought of what if this was to be the last album Oliver could ever do. The title then incorporates the words "monument" and "memento" as a visual reminder of what Oliver Rusing and KariBow leave for the world in this hypothetical scenario. The album is a double disc with the first disc being the regular album while the second is comprised of two epic songs which are divided into parts with each part its own track on the CD.

The music is exactly what we have come too expect from KariBow: very powerful, emotive, melodic rock with beautiful interludes of soft rock and harder rocking moments. Oliver is always one to try something new to broaden the KariBow sound and he has help from several guests, including Michel St-Pere of Mystery and Huis, Hayley Griffiths of Kamataka, John Young of Lifesigns, and Joe Cairney of Comedy of Errors,

The title track is our introduction to the album and with 11:41 of music, we have an adventure awaiting us. A powerful, melodic rock song indicative of the KariBow sound, there is a beautiful sax solo.

"District of Dignity" features vocals by Hayley Grifiths and works itself from a gentle beginning toward a big stadium sound. Hayley's vocals give the song extra breadth. "Spirits on the Water" is another duet with a female vocalist and quickly became my favourite track with its beautifully haunting melodies and accouterments of well-placed world music sounds. As with most KariBoow songs, there is more than one musical theme, offering pleasant surprises in the song. There's also a great keyboard solo.

The first disc wraps up the album successfully with "Seeker of Dawn" and "Elay", two more strong KariBow tracks. Disc one earns itself a place in the KariBow catalogue, and then we are off to a fairytale fantasy and a crusade with disc two.

"Prelude to a Fairytale" is an orchestral piece that could easily be the intro to a fairytale movie. "Lost Is All I Am" is one of the big highlights for me on the second disc. The protagonist has come seeking answers from a cave- dwelling creature but he fails to understand the proffered wisdom as he can't understand the words. The creature speaks in deep, grumbling tones while the protagonist speaks in German in order to emphasis the language barrier. The song then switches to a surprisingly aggressive metal theme with the lyrics barked in German. I love this part! The chorus is yet another dynamic and powerful melody.

Guest vocalist appears on "Intruder" and the adventure continues in typical KariBow fashion with "Touching the Borderline", followed by "The Lion and the Lamb", another melodic rocker at first before it returns to more orchestral music. Very beautiful. This transitions into "Keep of Fairy Blood", the conclusion to the story and in three parts, including a reprise of the melody from "Lost Is All I Am" and a music box "solo" before the song reaches its climactic conclusion. It's an adventure in music alright, but it's not over yet. Now we're off on a crusade!

"Prelude to a Crusade" is another orchestral intro and rather different from the Fairytale intro. There's some lovely harp which I feel is quite befitting the music of KariBow. The music is sombre and inspires images of a few figures setting out in the mists of early morning. Then "The Lonely Way" bursts in before easing back. I can't help catch the lines, "You're raising your sword while I'm raising my shield / Why don't you fight your battle on somebody else's field?".

"A New World" is a prime example of how KariBow can move from atmospheric music to melodic rock, then to almost hard rock before swinging back to those gorgeous melodies. Catch those soaring notes in the song's conclusion! Then the whole Crusade track concludes with "Monument of Life", acoustic guitar and accordion, while the "Crusade" melody is reiterated soft and soothing. This final track is a beautiful conclusion to not only the second disc but the "MOnuMENTO" package all together.

For my own conclusion, "MOnuMENTO" doesn't make any grand changes to the sound KariBow has established over its last six releases. The guitar sound, the music style, and of course the vocals remain consistent. But as with any KariBow album, that consistency is balanced by the broadening of the KariBow sound palette via the inclusion of guest musicians and vocalists and Oliver Rusing's perpetual interest in trying to add new things to KariBow songs. Anyone new to KariBow would do well to spin these two discs. They offer an excellent introduction to the music of KariBow.

FragileKings | 4/5 |

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