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Kenny Mitchell - The Lark at Heaven's Gate CD (album) cover


Kenny Mitchell

Crossover Prog

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5 stars The latest offering from the criminally underrated Brit guitarist and keyboard wiz Kenny Mitchell.

Five tracks in total covering 53 minutes.

Four out of the five tracks are instrumentals with the fifth having a vocal line from guest artist Nathan Jon Tillett who has collaborated with Mitchell on previous work.

Along similar lines to his previous releases this is an album of genteel and elegant, somewhat vintage sounding prog with occasional angry bits sprinkled liberally throughout to keep the listener on their toes.

On the guitar side of things, there are many influences which can be heard, ranging from super fast Satriani style soloing to more pyrotechnic Vai styled guitar work - particularly on the long (24 mins+) opening track.

Tracks 2 and 3 are much more keyboard dominated and as with the previous album I reviewed from this artist, we can again hear the powerful Vangelis meets Jarre type of influences on the keyboard work with lush sounding pads and big soundscapes all wrapped up in a package of phasers and flangers on full overdrive - lovely. Guitars are still present on these two tracks although considerably more sparsely than on the other tracks, a deliberate ploy to highlight the artists keyboard skills by making the axes take a bit of a back seat..? Who can say, but this sparseness perhaps makes the guitars even more dramatic sounding at the points when they do make an appearance.

Track 4 is a kind of guitar/keyboard duel type of arrangement with guitar and keys taking turns at the solo spot - guitar definitely wins out in the end I think though which is no surprise as Mitchell always insists that he is a guitarist first and a keyboardist second.

On the final track we have some more delicate 12 string and 6 string acoustic guitar work throughout as well as the aforementioned vocal appearance. This is a beautiful track which builds up to an emotional and powerful climax, tapering off to end with just the piano and the vocal - shivers running down your spine type of thing.! More vocal work like this on your next album please Mr Mitchell.. !

As with the previous review I wrote for this artist, I would once again have trouble categorizing this album as it has so many different ideas, styles and apparent influences popping up all over the place, but if put on the spot I would say it was a kind of (mostly) instrumental BJH meets Rush with a bit of Yes thrown in with Satch standing in for Steve Howe much of the time and guest appearances from Jarre and Vangelis on the keys.

Conclusion : Very fine indeed and well worth a listen. 5 stars.

Available via the artists page on bandcamp on a pay what you want to pay basis.

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Posted Thursday, July 28, 2016 | Review Permalink

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