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Kaipa - Keyholder  CD (album) cover

KEYHOLDER

Kaipa

 

Symphonic Prog

3.76 | 171 ratings

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Anthony H.
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Kaipa: Keyholder [2003]

Rating: 7/10

Keyholder is the second Kaipa release after the band's reformation. It was released only 16 months after its predecessor, Notes from the Past, and it is just as long: a whopping 79 minutes. It's obvious that Hans Lundin was building up many musical ideas during the late 80s and 90s. This is a staggering output, particularly for a band that had been dead for nearly 20 years. For two albums released in such close conjunction, it is also surprising how much of an improvement Keyholder is over Notes from the Past. This is a more consistent and well-composed piece of work with many more memorable moments. The lineup is the same, but the performances are much more democratic. Roine and Lundin monopolized Notes from the Past, but other members step forward here. Jonas Reingold showcases his phenomenal bass work, and Patrik Lundstrom gets much more vocal time. Lundstrom's vocals are not for everyone, but he is undeniably competent. All of these improvements create an excellent album full of symph-prog grandeur.

'Lifetime of a Journey' opens the album in a suitably bombastic manner, with hard-hitting bass/synth lines and memorable motifs. Every band member shines here equally. 'A Complex Work of Art' is a light-hearted 11-minute piece with wonderfully lush synths. Aleena Gibson's slightly irritating vocals are the only downside to this track. Lundstrom gives a spectacular vocal performance on 'The Weed of All Mankind.' Lundin gets some great tones out of his organ here. 'Sonic Pearls' is a relatively short atmospheric piece with ethereal keyboards. 'The End of the Rope' is a multifaceted mini-epic. The instrumental section in the middle is one of the best parts of the whole album. The melodic and light-hearted 'Across the Big Uncertain' features great performances all around. I've always had a soft spot for 'happy prog' tracks like this. 'Distant Voices' is another excellent long piece. Lundin plays an absolutely phenomenal keyboard solo here. The album ends with 'Otherworldly Brights.' Roine's emotional guitar wailing perfectly concludes these 79 minutes.

Lundin and company created a superb piece of long-form symphonic progressive rock here. It doesn't bring anything particularly new to the table; instead, it polishes and refines Kaipa's grandiose style. Every musician gives a passionate performance, and every song is memorable. However, Keyholder doesn't quite carry the emotional weight that I anticipate from music like this. I don't find myself particularly moved while listening to this. This is not to say that that is album isn't engaging; rather, it doesn't pack enough of an emotional punch. Regardless, this is a fantastic album that any modern-prog fan will appreciate.

Anthony H. | 4/5 |

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