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Forgotten Silence - Kro Ni Ka CD (album) cover

KRO NI KA

Forgotten Silence

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal


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4 stars This is the latest album from a Czech band that’s been around since ’94. As a huge fan of eastern European progrock, I eagerly put this on in my player after I got the promo. The prospects were really promising, 3 songs, each at least 17 minutes long. A bit scary, but the beginning was good after listening to the first one. The song was really melodic to begin with. After that it became clear to me, that this was a somewhat heavy album. In fact after a while the song introduces quite a few splendid and very aggressive riffs. It gives the feeling, that one could easily listen to it for the 25 minutes the first song lasts, and for that, it certainly varies enough.

The lyrics of this song are really good. It’s like reading a story of a man, who one might suppose is about to leave this world, and the story is very poetic. The only problem is, one only notices the lyrics when he reads the sleevenotes. And even then it’s really hard to hear them. The singing seems to be mixed very badly, badly enough to sadly take a huge part of the song's soul away. It’s a shame, that all the lyrics literally drown under the aggressive guitars. That is probably the only thing that really makes the first song a bit less good.

And I was sad to notice that this is a thing that continues throughout the whole record. It makes one wonder, why make full, long lyrical pieces, and even write them both in Czech and English if they’re not going to be heard? Well, nevertheless, the second track begins very pompous. And one hears a welcome to the Marble Halls accompanied by an organ, this actually sounds exactly like the song Pride of the Biosphere by Wigwam, though that must only be because of the same chord it begins with, and both have but organ and talking together. After that it turns on a really groovy gear. In fact the song is groovy in a Kansas like way all the way to the end of it.

I would not like to go comparing this band to something else, but some of those who have heard early albums of Porcupine Tree might have a very clear image of how the third song begins. The musicians themselves say in the sleevenotes, that the album is about a city, and travelling, both physically and psychically. Yet they do not wish to force anyone to approach the album only from a certain perpective. And this they do very well. In fact, I wanted to listen to this the first time, but didn’t really have time for it, so I ended up forcing myself. Couldn’t really get the hang of it. The next time I realised how extremely melodic this record is despite the aggressive rythms. Now that I’m listening to this again, I realise no matter how I feel, I really find it innovative and inspiring. Great music indeed. And, I think, personal in a good way.

Now here comes the hard part. What to say about an album, that is great on pretty much every aspect, but could sound a lot better or worse if it was mixed better. Well, I once saw/heard a great gig. I noticed it was horribly mixed, and the performers really suffered from it. That didn’t take away the fact, that it was great. But it was not the best, I thought. Without the problems it could have been better, but if that really is so, I will never know. Yet in this case, I have no certain image on how the lyrics would sound if they would sound at all. So I can’t suppose it would get better or worse. But if it could get better, it doesn’t deserve the best rating, and, if it could get worse, well then, the album benefits from errors like that, and can’t deserve a ten. Imagine a band cutting out the bass because the bass player couldn’t play. There would be no possible way of saying it’s completely good.

Now, getting back on this album for a review here on ProgArchives, I've begun to like it even more. The sounds don't bother as much, and the album is really enjoyable. I borrowed a review of mine that I did a year or so ago, but corrected some typoes and reconsidered the album, and I'm glad I did. I think, the record is, and I quote: an Excellent addition to any prog music collection. To any, exactly!

Rating: 8 (out of 10) Reviewer: Tuomas Renvall aka Passionist

Report this review (#178084)
Posted Thursday, July 24, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars Kro Ni Ka ('Chronicle') is the fifth album by Forgotten Silence, an esoteric band that does not fit into any established genre of music, except perhaps the under the vague categorization of avant-garde (which, let's face it, essentially means 'weird'). Unlike in the past, the Czech Republic-based group opts for a relatively straightforward progressive rock album, an hour of music containing only three lengthy songs, none running below fifteen minutes.

Structurally, each track is free-flowing, without much emphasis on repetition. Changes are rarely drastic as the songs evolve smoothly over their runtimes, but there are some good dynamics in each epic. Songs may reach quiet parts and start up again without coming off as fragmented or disjointed. However, the album's largest flaw is in this area of structure; none of the songs seem to begin with the end in mind, thus making them sound directionless at times. The whole album is reminiscent of a jam session, although there are more complicated, coordinated parts that confirm that there must have been prior rehearsal. However, this jam-like feel is not as large of a problem as it could have been, as the whole album is engaging and interesting.

In terms of sound, Kro Ni Ka is by no means strictly a metal album, though it is not without its heavier moments. Forgotten Silence is an eclectic band, but most of the riffs on this release have a basis in rock, and they are largely without their experimentations in Eastern folk, metal, jazz, etc. Kro Ni Ka probably cannot even be called avant-garde, perhaps just prog in a more traditional sense. If each song was split up into shorter sections, and these sections were mildly normalized structurally and given vocals, the album wouldn't be so inaccessible. The runtime of these tracks is especially what can make them so hard to get through for those unaccustomed to songs of length.

Kro Ni Ka is not atmospheric, but it does feature some mood changes. Containing darker portions, much of it is actually quite upbeat as well, notably the grand finale of Mezzocaine to close off the album. They keyboard is the central instrument and Marty produces some absolutely fantastic soloing, a definite highlight of Kro Ni Ka. He mostly keeps one tone throughout but occasionally opts for a church organ, as in the beginning of Declaration, a grand piano, and even the alien/sci-fi synth sound. The bass is pleasantly loud, but the vocals aren't. Between their tendency to be inaudible and how they take the form of only spoken word, I would consider Kro Ni Ka to be an instrumental album. The vocals are secondary and designated to the background, indecipherable whispers that sound as if they have been filtered out.

In the end, Kro Ni Ka isn't really metal, and it might not even be avant-garde like other works by Forgotten Silence. The best description I can think of is a jam-like prog odyssey. Either way, it is an excellent album from a band that defies classification. While it could have been more focused, with each song maybe building up to something instead of meandering about, it is overall a solid release.

Report this review (#1476876)
Posted Saturday, October 17, 2015 | Review Permalink

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