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Panic Room - Visionary Position CD (album) cover

VISIONARY POSITION

Panic Room

 

Crossover Prog

3.52 | 40 ratings

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Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer
4 stars When Karnataka broke up after the excellent live album Strange Behavior, I was wondering what would happen to those talented musicians that seemed to have such affinity and tight sound during that period (see their DVD Live In The USA 2002). As most fans know it it all came down to the break up of (vocalist) Rachel and (bassist & leader) Ian Jones marriage. Rachel now is part of The Reasoning, while Ian Jones recreated Karnataka with a whole new line up. And what about the reamaining members? Only recently I found out they´ve stayed together and had released two albums already under the name of Panic Room.

Anne Marie Helder (once part of the backing vocalists team and now promoted to full time singer), Paul Davies (guitars) Jonathan Edwards (keyboards and loops) and drummer Gavin John Griffiths recruited bassist Alun Vaughan to round up the new outfit. The result is obvioulsy similar to Karnataka, but they also allowed themselves to experiment more and the new songs turned to be quite more interesting and progressive than much of what their former band has ever tried.

Not that their style changed too much: it´s still very accessible, melodic stuff, a mix of prog rock, folk, gospel, eastern melodies and rhythms, plus bits of jazz and eletronic here and there . They are quite bolder and more adventurous than ever, with some really surprising and inventive playing. Anne Marie rises up as one of the best and most soulful singers I´ve heard lately. She may not sound as ´sweet´ as Rachel Jones, but she has a fine, educated voice, that she uses for full effect (often overdubbing herself in multi track backing vocals) . The result is a very strong, passionate and convicing delivery that gives Panic Room a unique mark.

As expected, the musicians perfomances are all excellent (special mention should be given to Eduards subtle and effective keyboards lines and Davies brilliant guitar licks and solos). The addition of guest violin player Lizzie Prendergast on several tracks is just wonderful. the arrangements are tasteful and quite creative. Production is also very good. Of course nothing would ever work if they didn´t come up with a bunch of very good songs. Even if this is their fisrt ever work together without the Jones, the new stuff is simply superb, with many highlights and almost no lows. Visionary Position is a very well balanced album that you can enjoy from start to finish. It may take a few good spinnings to get all the details and to fully appreciate its sheer power, like all good prog albums do, but once you do, you´re hooked (well, I am!).

Conclusion: a very nice surprise! Visionary Position is Karnataka taken one or two steps further into prog and should be heard by anyone who likes good, melodic and elaborated music. Definitly highly recommended!

Final rating: 4,5 stars.

Tarcisio Moura | 4/5 |

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