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Knight Area - Hyperdrive CD (album) cover


Knight Area



3.30 | 80 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
3 stars I had so much difficulty to write this review Iīm not sure if Iīm ready to do it still. Well, letīs try: Iīve been following this dutch neo prog band since its beginning, watching them growing better with each release. And after an excellent double live album, Rising Signs From The Shadows (2011) followed a brilliant fourth studio offer, Nine Paths (from the same year), of course the expectations were high. However, it took them 3 years for Hyperdrive to see the light of day. When it did things were quite different: long time members guitarist Mark Vermeule and bassist Gijs Koopman were out. In were Mark Bogart on guitar and veteran bass player Peter Vink. And the sound changed a lot.

Of course I expected them to keep leaning a little more towards the classic symphonic progressive sound they were courting since the very beginning. Alas, that was not to be, although Knight Area did not shed their trademark sound altogether. The opening track Donīt Be Afraid Of The Dark was quite misleading since its heavy guitar riffing and atmospheric keys seemed to indicate they decided to take a progressive metal approach, but that does not repeat on the remaining songs, although the guitar sound is indeed more upfront and heavier than before and the keyboards do take a kind of back-seat on several tunes, but not on all of them. On the plus side their knack for writing melodic tunes was still intact: whether you like or not their new instrumental take, the songs are very good. And in many ways I keep loving some of the stuff: Avenue Of Broken Dreams is a good example (it has a mini-moog sounding solo that is as brilliant as anything they have done in the past). Living In Confusion and Running Away are also songs that could sit comfortably side by side with tracks from any of their best moments. Still the lingering feeling after all these years is still the same: an hybrid album, with some excellent tracks bearing their old sound and some that sound a little forced and/or out of place.

So in the end I cannot shake off this feeling of strangeness. A (good) progressive band trying to sound "simpler" or "modern" for the wrong reasons. Or maybe my expectations were just too high after a string of fine albums that had a firm sense of direction, something this one does not. And even if none of the songs are bad or even weak, the production is right and the performances are spotless and tasteful, this is not a CD that is very convincing. A lack of identity? This is the main point here: For, individually, I like all of the tunes. Together they simply donīt work as a whole. A band that lost their bearings, not their talent. Wish I could say more.

Rating: 3 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 3/5 |


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