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Knight Area - The Sun Also Rises CD (album) cover


Knight Area



3.97 | 153 ratings

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Jonathan Pine [jonathanpine1
5 stars Debut releases, like the first dates, seldom appear to be wholly satisfying. They usually leave a longing for greater fulfillment. Maybe that was the reason why my voice of niggling doubt was warning me: "Hold your horses, there is nothing to write home about inside" when I excitedly fought against CD cellophane of my copy of this record. This time, however, my initial skepticism was replaced with respectful admiration after the first listen of this album. It is high time for me to clench my dropped jaw and write something about this band and their music.

Knight Area is the brainchild of Gerben Klazinga (keyboards and drums) who kept toying with the idea of The Sun Also Rises together with his older brother Joop (flutes and lyrics) for over 20 years. Like excellent wine it took some time for the concept to mature. And like such high quality wine the result is worth the wait. The album was recorded in the brothers own studio (actually the name "Knight Area" is the direct translation of the Dutch word "Ridderbuurt" which is the street name where the studio is situated) in cooperation with guest musicians from the Dutch progressive rock scene. Lyrically the work reminds me slightly of Marillion's Misplaced Childhood. It is a kind of a journey in search of identity, from the darkness of childhood through the purgatory of misjudgments and misunderstandings to the hopeful light of a new day.

The opening track is the 29-second instrumental "Beyond." It sounds as if a continuation of a some forgotten song from the 80s. Peter van Heijningen presents one of his classy guitar solos for the first time here. A nice introduction to the entire album. At the beginning of the second piece, "The Gate Of Eternity", some Gregorian-like chanting can be heard. Then very gentle vocal (Mark Smit) joins after a while and a wonderful Latimer-like guitar solo unfolds. One can also hear accordion (which adds moody romantic air of a Parisian café) and flute. This is not a peacefully sounding ballad, however: the second part of the track contains some heavier guitar playing. There is also something in the background, some kids' voices. Is it a noise from the "playground of broken hearts" ?

"Conspiracy", the following song, presents memorable melodies and nice keyboard passages which are reminiscent of Arena, Pendragon and IQ. Fast paced "Forever Now" seems to show another side of the band.

My favourites are: the aforementioned "The Gate Of Eternity", the title composition, "The Sun Also Rises" which is an instrumental track, "Conviction" (fast paced, the heaviest on the album and very melodic too), "Mortal Brow" (a pleasant female vocal of Stephanie Lagrande fits neatly into the musical soundscape, the Gregorian-like chants come back here), the ballad "Moods Inspiring Clouds" and the instrumental finale "Saevis Tranquillis In Undis", although, to tell you the truth, I usually listen to this album from the beginning to the end. Nice and strongly melodic neo-prog arrangements, very good vocals of Mark Smit, fine musicianship, interesting lyrics/story and very good production make me think that this CD should not been missed and Knight Area truly deserve attention in the future too.

In conclusion, a very mature progressive debut release, one of the best albums I have had pleasure to listen to in the last few years. Rating 4,6/5

| 5/5 |


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