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




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 482 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This album took a few listens to sink in for me, and at first I was feeling like it was pretty bland and a bit too smooth, in an almost "prog by numbers" way. This, however, is not really the case at all and may have been a case of some initial disappointment after the hype that was built up by reviews I saw here and elsewhere.

The opening track is the first and so far only truly epic composition by Karmakanic. Jonas Reingold, of The Flower Kings fame (or infamy, depending on who you ask) is the leader of this band, and is responsible for all the composition. Jonas is, without question, the finest bass player in modern prog and probably a top 10 bass player in the entire world. Yes, you doubters, he is really that good and if you listen to him playing in other contexts, you will find it hard to deny, whether or not you like the music. Send A Message From the Heart is a very well constructed epic with an upbeat main melody and lyrics which initially struck me as pretty sappy, but actually are refreshing in this age where so much music is unremittingly dark and dismal (I'm looking at you, Procupine Tree :-) It also features a fantastic jazz driven instrumental section.

Second track, Let In Hollywood, is a fun and quite complex track that ridicules popular music. I love the time signatures in this piece and the acerbic lyrics. This is followed up by the title track, which is a bit darker and slower paced than the preceding songs, but has a satisfying structure and some great lead playing. Two Blocks From the Edge is similar, but with a bit more bite and some great guitar playing. Again, a darker theme to the song.

To really appreciate the final two tracks, you have to understand their context. Eternally Part 1 is a piano improvisation by Lalle Larson, based on the main melody of Part 2. Jonas told Larson to just do his thing, and he did, and the result is a beautiful and skillfully executed introduction to the main song, which is Part 2. This song was written by Jonas for his parents, who died tragically a year or two before the album was released, in a car accident at Christmas time. So, understandably, is has a dirge like structure and features poignant, sad lyrics that nonetheless reflect his love and admiration for his parents. The song builds up to a powerful crescendo before ending quietly. A beautiful piece that had an immediate effect on me.

I should also point out that at 55 minutes, the album is not overlong (like many people are fond of accusing the Flower Kings albums of being) and to me therefore never really loses my interest. I wish more bands would focus on their strongest material and keep albums under an hour (though for some reason, I never have a problem with Flower Kings and Transatlanic's and related bands going for 70+ minutes).

Overall, I enjoy this album a bit less than the previous one, but a great deal more than the first one. This is one that I would say requires a few listens to really sink in and also that the listener cast off their prejudices towards modern symphonic prog. If you can do that, I think you'll be rewarded with a satisfying album. For myself, I would like to give it 3.5 stars, but will round down as this doesn't reach the heights that the previous album did instrumentally, but still features plenty of great playing. Well worth checking out for Flower Kings fans and fans of the other Karmakanic albums.

infandous | 3/5 |


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