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Karcius - Sphere CD (album) cover



Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars This cd is totally a good piece of rock-fusion. Nice guitar soloing all over the 1 hour opus. Sometimes complex, sometimes heavy as train, sometimes jazzy. It makes me think of Mahavishnu Orchestra mixed with LTE, but Karcius as his own personnality. No other band I've heard as a signature like those guys. They are great musicians and they really get you in special mood when listenning.

Really liked Sphere.Iit's a real pleasure to discover a bands like Karcius, creating a music with no limits and never imitating other bands like too much prog-fusion bands are doing rigth now.

Enjoy it.

Report this review (#33105)
Posted Thursday, November 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars That's Karcius all over! Wonderfully complex, jazz-fusion. In a word, a great debut! It's good to have Something like that to listen to these days as 'good' bands are many but 'interesting' ones are really few. Anyhow, in my opinion, "Spheres" makes a riveting story based on a well-thought out combination of sounds and therefore I think it should be an obligatory item in any prog-rock-jazz-fusion maniac's cd collection. Highly recommend!
Report this review (#98534)
Posted Monday, November 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If fusion is your thing, then this release should be checked out.

These four guys have added some metal to their rock, and jazzed it up quite a bit.

Musically they create flowing songs, where they seldom use breaks to move a song into a new part. Instead, you'll often find two instruments playing slightly different melodies, and that one of the instruments lead the song into new territories.

To get a good idea of what this album has to offer, check out the track ""Bois ta Musique".

Report this review (#105591)
Posted Thursday, January 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars These guys from Montreal are amazing ! This music is often on the heavy side which I like, yet there is some good variety here including lighter Jazz passages.

Things get started with "Kunide" opening with intricate acoustic guitar with background synths. Drums, guitar and keys come in to provide an interesting, tasteful soundscape that intensifies.The melody changes again with heavy bass and drums with some great guitar as well. "Liquid Meat" is a crunchy, heavy song with intricate drumming and a great bass solo.The guitar is so good, man these guys would be incredible to see live ! "Evolution" opens with a good bass line with a great guitar melody that comes and goes.There is this amazing, searing guitar solo as well.

The next section is called "Lunatik" and consists of the next three songs starting with "Highway To The Moon". It opens with bass and percussion as synths, guitar and drums create a beautiful sound. Nice bass solo 3 minutes in ! There is some piano, light drums and a relaxing guitar melody to follow. "Synapse" is an uptempo song with drums and guitar before the bass and guitar trade solos. This continues until the lead guitar comes in with some scorching melodies. "Back To Earth" goes from a light and jazzy sound to a dark and heavy sound. Some more amazing guitar too as the drums pound away. "1111" is dominated with piano melodies with the drums and guitar providing different moods and tempos along the way. "Labyrinthe" features the bass outfront again as RUSH comes to mind in this well crafted tune. "Bois Ta Musique" is a lighter, jazzy song that eventually speeds up with some scorching guitar. "Absolute Decadence" is quite mellow until about 2 1/2 minutes in when the guitar is on fire again ! The tempo continues to change in this fantastic song.

This is a must have for Fusion fans, you won't be disappointed.

Report this review (#107067)
Posted Wednesday, January 10, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars "Sphere" has been the amazing debut by this highly interesting still rather new Canadian band blending Prog, jazz and metal. Well on the one hand, this mixture seams to be anything really groundbreaking and obviously a speciality by bands coming from the North-American continent. Names like Spaced Out, Estradasphere, Ohm or Avant Garden are coming to one's mind if it's about metal-jazz-fusion. Nevertheless Karcius doesn't sound like any of those bands and these four young musicians are rather doing some really unique and adventurous music without drifting in any moment into aimless and inaccessible territory and staying throughout highly enjoyable. I've read a review on a German site claiming that they do not really combine jazz with metal but rather leave the two different genres stand besides each other. I would not agree to that opinion, just take a track like "Back to Earth" (which is last part of the long Lunatic-suite) for example which starts like an easy-going mellow fusion or new-age piece and develops seamlessly over swinging jazz rhythms into metallic sounding guitar riffs and awesome bass/drums play, an incredible dynamic! In some of tracks like the opener and "1111" as well classical influences can be heard with pleasant piano or acoustic guitar play. I'm admittedly mainly into instrumental Prog thus this record offers exactly the stuff I'm looking for. Honestly though I like very much all of the bands mentioned above none of them was able to fascinate me as much as Karcius did. This album doesn't have any really weak track on and its versatility is that high to offer enough pleasure and excitement for both fans of metal and jazz music even after multiple spins. I happen to like both genres and thus seduction would be high to rate this one with the full score. But I'll to resist being aware that this would be highly subjective since this might be not everyone's "cup of tea" and moreover this is "just" their very first record so even greater things are to be expected from these guys. I'd highly recommend this band to any Progfan who's more into jazz fusion and doesn't mind some heavy rock/metal. ****1/2 really!
Report this review (#110102)
Posted Thursday, February 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is absolutely SA-MOKIN'!! These guys not only play great fusion jazz with aplomb, but they get the hard rock guitar involved in their sound for something truly unique and absolutely kick-ass.

The CD starts off in true fusion jazz form (lots of electric piano), and it simmers until the last two or three tracks, when the heat really gets turned up. I recommended this to my son, and when he bought it and played it for his friends, they all said, "Your DAD listens to this kind of music????" Ha ha!! Too funny! "This is NOT your father's rock and roll", right?

Well, I do recommend this CD very highly to all fusion jazz afficionados, as well as fans of shred. This Canadian band really knows how to tear it up.

Report this review (#122878)
Posted Sunday, May 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars I beg to differ... after hearing SOFT MACHINE and some other jazz stuff (actually i consider myself quite a jazz freak/alumni... whatever) i found this record into the limbo of uncertainty: i mean, not to much fusion, not to much jazz and some latin flavor... hu? well, this guys are the correct and polite FRENCH VERSION of PLANET X, period. Of course is not abad thing but they can do a lot better. The open track KUNIDÉ is great but it's like a rehearsal, except of course for EVOLUTION (the third track and a PROGARCHIVES FAVORITE i think) the only cohesive song in all the album, having fusion, rock, latin and then fusion stuff with the perfect dosage of those three elements... and that's the main problem, the whole record is like a jam session... ALWAYS!!!, with little focus and a lot of groove. Don't hate me, but this is like a bunch of outtakes, great for "listening/learning" but fatal for entertainment. I love "1111" but being the 7th song is like a bumpy road to paradise, a lot of honesty and good musicianship without production. This 2000-something record sound like a 70's album with nothing but nostalgia. peace
Report this review (#148400)
Posted Thursday, November 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Unicorn Records seems to have a penchant for finding bands full of incredible instrumentalists and with Karcius that is no different. These guys are just chops-maestros from any angle. They are wall to wall jam that leans towards the high-energy, the frantic, the adrenalin-stoked, while paying occasional lip service to subtler and calmer sections. I get the feeling that on Sphere they nearly had to force themselves to calm down for these sections as the fast and the furious are just itching to get back in the game. Karcius are described as melding fusion with harder rock or metal which is true, I would offer up Ohm as a band to perhaps compare them to. The guitar sound ranges from melodic fluent leads to colored backgrounds to metalized power chords. The bass is bottom heavy and active, but often difficult to hear well. The same is true for the drumming which is sometimes oddly low in the mix.I like drums to not overpower the others but in this case they sometimes are too soft. Keyboards are a welcome addition to the power trio base but again are frequently steamrolled by the guitar volume.

They have a 3-part eighteen minute suite called "Lunatik" which seems like the heart of the album so let's dissect that one. Part 1 is called "Highway to the Moon" beginning with bongo drumming of all things. Very soon a metalish riff begins crunching away and then subsides for a guitar solo over keyboards. Shortly after that we get some lead bass guitar which I always appreciate as the guitar joins back with the heavy riff. This breaks for another guitar solo that is flowing and melodic. Then there is a laid back keyboard solo with bass backing trading with e-guitar a few times. It's all very well done but not particularly memorable unfortunately. Part 2 Synapse kicks in very heavy again with a nasty riff on fuzzed guitar way overpowering both the bass and drums. The keys try to break though the din but I'm not sure why they bother as they are smothered in the speed-fusion. The guitar wanes for a moment of bass slapping and unison riffing. When the guitar returns it does so with a vendetta, louder than sh*t, and the shredding begins. It is an awesome thing to behold for the guitar-crush addicts. Sensing the need for some space part 3 "Back to Earth" starts with ocean waves rolling in and seagulls over pleasant clean chords. Then we get some piano which is cool as the piece saunters into a jazzy shuffle. The bass bubbles away against almost salsa rhythms. Soon the guitar joins for a crack at some Chris Poland style lead work. The jazzy moods turn back towards hard rock with some crushing drumming and power chords, then more leads with rapid-fire bass towards the finish line where the bongos return for closure. Not bad.

Can I appreciate a band like Karcius? Absolutely. I can appreciate their talents, recommend them to others whom I know love this kind of music, but beyond that they do not resonate much with me. Any time I feel that chops and adrenalin get too far ahead of good songwriting and solid, unique musical ideas, my eyes begin to glaze over. By the half-way point of the album, one wants to scream "we get can wail!" The question becomes, can you write a song that a listener will remember 30 minutes after hearing it, that a listener will have an emotional attachment to? Perhaps the intention of the band simply doesn't align with what I look for in music and that's the subjective angle. But it's a good album to be certain and a safe bet for those who love heavy fusion from a unique perspective. I have heard their second album at a friend's house and enjoyed it more than Sphere so I am curious to hear them move forward.

Report this review (#165507)
Posted Tuesday, April 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars KARCIUS are an instrumental band from Canada,who was found in 2001.All four members of the band received college and university musical education and had been part of several projects of the local music scene,before joining their forces in order to create a combinational sound of their influences.The band finally debuted in 2004 with the album ''Sphere''.In this all instrumental work KARCIUS deliver absolutely well-arranged musicianship.However the members do not focus on extended virtuosity,rather than they seem to aim to a carefully arranged sound built on delicate symph-like piano passages and nice guitar/piano interplays,while I also recognize some ethnic influences in their sound..At times the music really takes off,then you'll get some great guitar riffing supported by the strong rhythm section and the challenging keyboard work.All in all ''Sphere'' is a nice debut,strongly recommended for all fans of instrumental rock with fusion hints!
Report this review (#194496)
Posted Saturday, December 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Karcius is a Canadian quartet of instrumental Prog-Fusion, created in 2001. The debut "Spheres" had an independent release in 2004 but the reissue that I have in hand is a 2006 remastered version by the Canadian label Unicorn. I never got to listen to the original edition but, the sound in this remastered is excellent. The cover artwork is not that original or interesting but, it achieves its purpose, which is to perfectly reflect the sound of the album. This is a mix of Progressive Rock with a lot of fusion jazz (which is not my musical preference), with some Latin influences ("Evolution" sounds like a jam session with Santana) to some traditional Rock. There are a few above-average tracks, such as "1111" (the best track on the record) and "Kunid'", but for me, this type of Prog-oriented instrumental Jazz becomes boring after a few tracks. I'm not able to listen to the CD from beginning to end. Don't get me wrong, the album is not bad, the guys know what they're doing, they're great musicians, but this is not the kind of music I listen to in a daily basis. Besides, being a good musician is different from being a good composer. This sounds very mechanical and uninspired. A little more soul and some experimentalism could add extra interest to the band and their work. This is the kind of material that will appeal only to diehard fans of Progressive Rock / Jazz-Fusion and to musicians obsessed by musical perfection rather than by heartfelt and soulful music.
Report this review (#1819965)
Posted Monday, November 6, 2017 | Review Permalink

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