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Karmakanic - Who's the Boss in the Factory? CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 487 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Among proggers, this album was one of the most popular of 2008, and it gathered so many positive reviews I felt I had to check it out. The omens weren't too good: one look at the cover and I was afraid this was just one more product from InsideOut's prog factory. But "Send a Message from the Heart", the near-twenty minute opening track, blew me away. Rousing melodies, stately "symphonic" arrangements, wild Moraz-like synthesizer solos and surprisingly jazzy (almost Holdsworthian) guitar solos: the piece had it all. Besides, you could easily listen to it just for Jonas Reingold's magisterial trebly bass. It initially seemed that Karmakanic would have a better chance of impressing me with their "epics" than most of their coevals.

However, on subsequent spins the glory of "Message to the Heart" diminished somewhat. It probably depends how cynical a mood I'm in. On certain days I'm quite prepared to get carried away by fake-sincere vocals. On other days I just can't take lines like "Compassion leads your way into the sun on your way to paradise". I understand most symphonic prog bands try to sound uplifting, but a cliché is a cliché, no matter what.

And to my regret, the remainder of the album fails to reach the level of excitement of that opening track. The second track, "Let in Hollywood", is conventional Flower Kings-style rock based on a blunt hard rocking riff. The third track (the title piece) sounds like a superfluous attempt to rebuild THE WALL, although it's redeemed a little by yet another (brief) Moraz-style synth solo, and a splendid middle section on piano. "Two Blocks from the Edge" sounds worse: histrionic vocals AND histrionic lead guitar serve no better purpose than to demonstrate run-of-the-mill adolescent angst. Empty lyrics like "What's the question, what's the answer, this life is killing me" are chucked at the listener, yet the music doesn't speak of true emotion. (To be fair, the piece ends with some truly elegant electric guitar flourishes, but it's a case of too little too late.) The final track, "Eternally" (parts one and two), is Reingold's requiem for his parents, who perished in a car crash in 2007, and I hate to say it (in this case the composer's feelings must have been all too real) but music and lyrics are almost unbearably sentimental.

Verdict: Good in part, but not necessarily better than the dozens of other symphonic prog albums that get churned out nowadays.

fuxi | 3/5 |


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