Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Karnataka - The Storm CD (album) cover

THE STORM

Karnataka

Prog Folk


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars FIRST COMMENTED REVIEW

I was rather blown away with their debut release : really impressed by the wonderful vocal harmonies, their great soft-prog with excellent guitar work. I was also totally charmed by the magnificent voice of Rachel. Their music is totally "Mostly Autumn" oriented and the same feeling prevails on this album. But it is not as systematic as on their debut album.

This album is maybe a bit more personal in the sense that they don't try to use the same type of song construction all the way through any longer. Meaning a first half featuring vocals while the second part would almost exclusively feature a great guitar solo. Ususally Josh (guitar player from "MA") or Gilmour oriented (since David is definitely the reference for both bands).

There are several excellent songs on this album again : "Heaven Can Wait" which is a highlight but the brilliance of their debut album is only to be featured too scarcely. Actually this album is folkier than their first release. But Rachel always sound so sweet, so wonderful...

Song format is also shorter now, and more ballad oriented like "I Should Have Known" or "Writing On The Wall" which gets us back to a classic structure (great guitar solo at the end). Both are enjoyable. The title track is the longest song from this album. It is also one of the best (with "Heaven..."). Classic song development for the band. Very efficient and superbly performed.

This album is not so catchy as their first one (but "Karnataka" was truely great and difficult to match). Still a good album. Three stars.

Report this review (#142460)
Posted Saturday, October 6, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I liked very much their first prog folk album in the line of Mostly Autumn.

But in this one their change radically their style from prog folk to ambient pop as Enya and October Project.

They are very few bands in the style and as good as the prog folk band Mostly Autumn and is a pity that Karnataka abandoned their friendship with MA and preferred to experience the poppy and commercial songs in the way of Enya or OP.

Well i expect in their next album they return to their roots.

3 stars

Report this review (#163361)
Posted Friday, March 7, 2008 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The biggest problem with Karnataka is that they sound just too darn much like Mostly Autumn. That pretty much sums it up for this album (as well as their others). Over the three Karnataka records it's almost as if you can observe the band morphing into a Mostly Autumn clone, from Rachel Jones' vocals right down to Paul Davies' guitar. That's the bad news.

The good news of course is that Mostly Autumn is a pretty decent band. That makes these guys a highly derivative version of a pretty decent band. Unfortunately that doesn’t necessarily equate to being a good band in their own right.

If there’s one track where these guys show a little bit of originality its “The Journey”, a nearly nine-minute rambling tune that manages to avoid the wailing and decadent screaming guitar forays that Mostly Autumn launches into at every opportunity. This one is a lot more restrained than that, and as a result the track makes for a pretty decent, folksy version of modern progressive music while still keeping some of the commercial appeal the band is clearly seeking to capitalize on as best they can.

I can’t say as much for the rest of the album, which is largely unvaried and largely forgettable. I can’t even find another track to highlight, save possibly for “Love & Affection” thanks to some warm and dominating bass work from Ian Jones. Otherwise I can’t distinguish this enough from any of a series of Mostly Autumn recordings to consider it worth spending much more time on.

I’m going to go ahead and mark this record down for three stars, but really were it not for “The Journey” I’d go with two. So pick this one up if you’re a Heather Findlay or Bryan Josh fan; otherwise I recommend moving along and finding something else. Nothing much to see here.

peace

Report this review (#172449)
Posted Wednesday, May 28, 2008 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
4 stars Karnataka ? The Storm Rachel Jone's crystalline vocals and the sounds of harp, sax and violin ? result: pure magic

I heard of this band due to a lovely photo in a prog magazine. When I first heard the music I was instantly won over by the musical talents and most of all the sweet female lead voice so often missing in prog bands. The album begins with the peaceful serene sounds of an ocean, the waves crashing somnambulant against the beach. The harp (on keyboards) begins to chime and the beautiful crystalline tones of Rachel Jone's vocal prowess bursts through like sun beams through a cloud. The lyrics are thoughtful and reflective about life and hope. The wall of sound is created by the sound of strings and soaring keyboards and the vocal harmonies are like another instrument.

The tracks blend seamlessly together at times and there are some sublime passages of lead guitar solo work and Steve Simmons sensuous sax. One is instantly reminded of Mostly Autumn but Karnataka are original in the way they merge a Celtic flavor with their own inimitable style. It is difficult to choose a highlight as each track adds to the ethereal atmosphere and thematic content. I am however quite drawn to the opening tracks.

All the tracks are well executed in terms of musicianship and vocal talents. The melodies range from soft and lilting to hauntingly ethereal. There are blasts of rock and lengthy instrumental sections featuring screaming guitars. Jones has a distinct way of performing, her vocals are almost nonchalant or effortless, soft, fluid and flowing on each track. She never raises her voice or performs vocal gymnastics, but her range is suited to the shimmering music. It is a very tranquil ambience that is created, a kind of enchanting dreamscape with melancholy moments though it is not depressing music. On the contrary the sound is uplifting, rising in crescendos from piano to forte.

Interestingly enough Jones became Cohen and has traversed into heavier territory recently with her new group The Reasoning, but this Karnataka album showcases Jones/Cohen at her most effective. The Storm is the best of the 3 Karnataka albums followed by Delicate Flame of Desire. I highly recommend this album. Female fronted prog at its best along with Mostly Autumn. A 4 star triumph.

Report this review (#228541)
Posted Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars It was simply love at first listening. I've heard similar (and maybe better) things, but nothing compares to THIS. Don't care 'bout me, I like this slower piece, but it doesn't mean I'm not rocking prog Peacefrog. (Prog, not frog, I think you know it.) And which song got me down ? Well, it's Love and Affection, for its rhythm, melody, and lyrics. Look at me, I want you, still want you ... good words to hear, especially for Marty. :-) And it's nice to listen so clear and drifting voice like R. J.'s singing. This music makes my reading more interesting, try combination of Karnataka and story 'bout witchers, elves, dwarfs, dryads and hijacked princess ... you will feel the difference. Four ? Is it enough ? Five ? Isn't it more than enough ? It's hard to decide. However, I write reviews only for greatest albums (in my point of view). So, five forever and ever. Like there will be no other day. Keep proggin' !
Report this review (#269282)
Posted Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | Review Permalink
VianaProghead
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Review Nš 443

Karnataka is a prog rock band that was founded in Swansea, Wales, in UK, in 1997. Karnataka was disbanded in 2004, was reformed in 2005 and that decided to suspend their activity in the late of 2017. "The Storm" is the second studio album of Karnataka and was released in 2000. Curiously, it was recorded in 1999, in the studio of the bassist of the group Ian Jones. The album was mixed at the Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales. Further live performances brought Karnataka to the attention of the record company Voiceprint that made the decision of distribute their albums.

The line up on the album is Rachel Jones (lead and backing vocals), Paul Davies (lead and rhythm guitars), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards), Ian Jones (bass guitars, acoustic guitars, bodhran and samples) and Gavin Griffiths (drums and percussion).

"The Storm" has ten tracks. All tracks were written by Rachel Jones, Jonathan Edwards and Ian Jones. The first track "Heaven Can Wait" is a gorgeous opener to the album. It starts with the sound of waves breaking on the sand, followed by a synthesizer harp like noise. After that, Rachel starts singing a beautiful and soft melody like we're in heaven. By chance this song represents my first contact with Karnataka's music. I checked this excellent track, incidentally, with "Mother Nature" of Mostly Autumn on the DVD "Progressive Rock Anthology", a DVD with a collection of ten progressive live concert clips of several progressive bands and artists, already reviewed by me on this site. The second track "Dreamer" represents another beautiful and excellent track with the celestial and unique voice of Rachel. If you've never heard Rachel's voice, it's somewhat similar to the voice of Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn. However, Rachel's voice has a bit of a mystical style. Her voice shine's through most of the album's tracks. The third track "The Journey" is, in a certain way, an epic track in its proportions. It's a soft ballad with beautiful acoustic and electric guitar works and an orchestral keyboard work. This is a song with powerful vocal melodies and other musical passages with some other lovely vocal harmonies. The fourth track "Hay" is a good song with a nice melody and, once more, is beautifully sung by Rachel. However, this always was a song that just doesn't worked very well on me, really. Probably the band was trying to experiment a bit with this song, but in my opinion, the final result not worked very well. The fifth track "Love And Affection" is a striking song where Paul Davies' powerful lead guitar and Ian's bass combine magnificently with Rachel's most sensual lead vocals that soar with a unique texture, showing her crystalline vocal abilities. The sixth track "I Should Have Known" is a sensitive ballad with Paul's melodic electric guitar parts leading the song and with Rachel's singing beautifully and illustrating her great and crystalline vocal skills. On the song, melodic bass and lead guitar join perfectly with Jonathan Edwards' keyboards. The seventh track "Everything Must Change" represents the return to the soft ballads. Rachel's sensual lead vocals are underscored by many layers of contrasting vocal harmonies. It's a better song than "Hay" is, and it's much more enjoyable to hear, indeed. However, it isn't really a true memorable song of the album. The eighth track "Shine" is also a kind of an experimental song. It opens with a soaring acapella intro before the rocking instrumental kicks in. Rachel's vocals are interspersed with many powerful electric guitar and bass effects, rich keyboards instrumental arrangements and rocking percussion. The ninth track "Writing On The Wall" is a song with a powerful bass work and a melodic electric guitar performance that contrasts with the sensitive sung vocal parts made by Rachel Jones. This is another beautiful and melodic song in the same vein of the rest of the album. The tenth and last track is the title track "The Storm". This is a very pretty song with layers of backing vocals and Ian's melodic bass style that support the melody of the lead vocals and recorder. Scottish small pipes arranged and played by Peter Davies join the sounds of the sea and do a memorable closing to this track and to this magnificent album too.

Conclusion: Karnataka's "The Storm" is an exciting follow up studio album after their self titled debut studio album "Karnataka". It has ten stunning vocally oriented progressive rock tracks. Probably the only weak track on the album is "Hay". Certainly, this is an album that appeals to fans of Mostly Autumn, Iona, modern Clannad and Renaissance. All these are well written and performed songs that are timeless in its construction technically superb. I recommend this album vividly to all those, like me, who like the British progressive rock song oriented albums and beautiful and elegant music. Ten beautiful themes sung by an impressive voice that are worth being heard carefully in our most melancholic moments in Autumn time, the time that I'm making this review. Concluding, I'm absolutely convinced that progressive rock fans who don't mind a bit pop in progressive rock should definitely take note of this band and this release. It's very well made, for the most part of it, and the real bonus on it is to hear the beautiful and gorgeous voice of Rachel Jones.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Report this review (#2575545)
Posted Thursday, July 1, 2021 | Review Permalink

KARNATAKA The Storm ratings only


chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of KARNATAKA The Storm


You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.