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Kansas - Freaks Of Nature CD (album) cover

FREAKS OF NATURE

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

3.22 | 131 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Monsterbass74
3 stars One heck of a non-lazy, powerful "comeback". This is a loud yet dynamic album.

Kansas has gone light over the 80's With Audio/Visions being such a varied, corporate album ("Monolith" was the last "true" prog effort of that line-up) yet was to be trumped by later 80's albums: the somewhat forgivable and spiritual "Vinyl Confessions", the Foreigner cover (or we sold our souls) album "Drastic Measures" (save for Livgren's songs), the surprise AOR rocker "Power" and the contemporary sounding (for it's time) concept album "In The Spirit Of Things". This 90's album, "Freaks Of Nature" was a welcome comeback for me. I played this more times front to back than all the 80's albums combined. And I loved "Power" for the sheer fact Walsh returned.

From first listen it all already known that this isn't a happy, skippy pop album. Walsh is spent emotionally and mentally and he sings about it all in every song. He needed to purge. Eerie sound effects, forceful rocking jams, fully cranked amps, violin theatrics, less keyboards than usual... and a drum solo in the middle of their only single "Desperate Times"... these are the elements of Kansas we're used to but at a much more angry pace. These guys can play. Yes, they played at powerful speeds and rollicking force in the past. Somehow it translates as much louder, angrier and forceful on this outing.

With David Ragsdale, the band is energized more so than other albums. It's also know that keyboardist Roberts did not play much on the album due to carpel tunnel syndrome or something. Walsh ... tee hee... sounds like Eric Cartman (from South Park) singing sometimes, yet can still hit those notes (with Greer's help). The others need no explanation (though Greer's bass sounds too much like Tool's awful bass), but Williams was left to spread out much more and proves he is THE guitarist of Kansas. Livgren's influence is not apparent save for is only contribution "Cold Gray Morning"... yet it's still played loud.

The other songs are more of the same while the end of the album tends to quiet down a bit, but all is worth it. Even for the "hidden track" which is titled like a movement from "Magnum Opus" on some websites.

It's not underrated, it's undiscovered.

So...

The prog rock: I Can Fly (in 3 parts with Ehart's signature drumming), Desperate Times (in 6/4, drum solo and some cool vocal hocketing in the outtro).

The hard rock/metal with some instrumental prog elements: Black Fathom 4, Freaks Of Nature.

Classic prog efforts: Under The Knife, Cold Gray Morning, "hidden track" ( think it's called "Father Padilla Takes A Dump" or something).

The ballads: Hope Once Again (with some female vocals), Peaceful And Warm

Experimental: Need

Not for the prog softies. I would recommend this to some Metal Heads and those silly DT worshipers.

3 stars because even though this does not suck, it's not essential like the 1st album or "Song For America" is.

Thanks again, Kansas!

Monsterbass74 | 3/5 |

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