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Karnataka - The Gathering Light CD (album) cover




Prog Folk

3.52 | 147 ratings

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Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars The drastic change in the line-up of the band (only founder Ian Jones remains) seems to have had a positive effect on KARNATAKA's sound. Comparing with their previous release, already 7 years ago, the listener will instantly identify the absence of Rachel Jones' voice. Lisa Fury has replaced her, and although she might not sound as ''original'' as her predecessor, she delivers the vocal melodies in a beautiful manner.

Although being only familiar with Delicate Flame of Desire, it is evident that the whole musical approach has taken a shift forward - towards more progressive and creative forms, obvious even from the choice of the opening tracks: a short ''folkish'' intro gives its place to a very interesting instrumental track. This announces the change of musical direction with lots of melodic phrases and continuous background keyboards. Changes of tempo and odd-time signatures confirm that this is clearly a new band...

The spine of the style still remains in the vein of melodic ''commercial'' prog rock, mainly based on slow tempo compositions, with female vocals taking the lead in most cases. However, the musicianship is allowed to shine more through the (relatively) long compositions. Moment in Time is a moment of magic, peaking in terms of melody and vocal performance, while the ''hit'' Tide to Fall brings a middle-eastern aura which works perfectly between two longer tracks. These two moments along with the brilliant instrumental State of Grace are the high points and differentiate in their own way from the rest of the album.

The longer compositions (three above 10 min!), although structured in a professional way and consisting of convincing, well-worked main themes, lack the complexity that someone would expect. The lyrics in some tracks also appear to be a weak point and the resemblance to bands like Evanescence (!) and most likely, Mostly Autumn might put some listeners off (or attract others). This is where the negative points stop and clearly, the positives outweigh them... Special mention goes to the brilliant sound of Troy Donockley's pipes in the opening and closing tracks and the abundance of instruments like cellos and violins that ''colour up the sky''.

Despite some weaknesses, this last effort from KARNATAKA is a step forward for the band and a really carefully planned outcome. Not a masterpiece as such, but a very good soft melodic prog rock album with a hint of folk and neo-prog, deserving not less than 3.5 stars.

aapatsos | 3/5 |


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