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Proto-Kaw - The Wait Of Glory CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 99 ratings

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2 stars I bought this album on the strength of the majority of reviews for it, and I must say that I am more than just a little underwhelmed. In fact, not only is this not "symphonic prog" (as the genre for Proto-Kaw would have it), but most of it barely even straddles prog at all. It is not so much that the emperor has no clothes. Rather, it is that the suit that some are claiming is Versace is actually off the rack at J.C. Penney.

There are precious few passages in any of the songs (and most of these are definitely "songs" rather than "compositions") that display any prog elements whatsoever. Indeed, not only does one have to wait until the middle of the album (Melicus Gladiator) for any true prog muscles to be flexed (though Physic has a part or two that come close), but the first four songs have almost exactly the same (slow) beat, and thus one must wait until the middle of the album even to hear anything upbeat. (As an aside, the "extra" song (One Fine Day) is actually among the best on the album, if for no other reason than that it has a bright tempo, and displays some of the elements that made Kansas prog on those occasions when it actually was.) And when Livgren & Co. do express themselves progressively, the results tend to be more methodical (even tentative) than exciting or compelling.

Having said all that, taken as an album with only minimal prog elements in a few of the songs, the songs themselves are not bad for prog- (and sometimes jazz-) inflected rock. And there is an interesting, almost "Native American" flavor to some of the rhythms, chord progressions and arrangements. As well, the musicianship is high- caliber, and the vocals are handled well (if sometimes at bit too oh-so-seriously) by Mr. Meredith, who has a wonderful voice. As is Mr. Livgren's wont (like Neal Morse, he is a recently "reborn" Christian), the topics tend toward the spiritual and eco- environmental, and there are some very poignant lyrical/musical moments in some of the songs. In these regard, if taken on its own terms, the album makes quite pleasant listening, with a few moments of true inspiration.

Ultimately, however, I remain unconvinced that this album can seriously be considered "prog" as a whole (much less "symphonic prog".), and it simply does not measure up to the hype it is being given. And that is sad, because Mr. Livgren can be quite creative (progressively) when he puts himself to it. However, he is going in a different direction now - one that may well be quite interesting and creative in and of itself, but only skirts prog.

maani | 2/5 |


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