Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography




From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

K2 Black Garden album cover
3.27 | 55 ratings | 7 reviews | 15% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy K2 Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2010

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Black Garden (6:25)
2. Passage To The Deep (11:35)
3. Widows Watch (6:37)
4. Encounter Or Absence (7:11)
5. Storm At Sunset (11:05)
6. Summer's Fall (2:12)
7. Path Of The Warrior (10:43)

Total Time 55:48

Line-up / Musicians

- Josh Gleason / vocals
- Karl Johnson / guitars
- Ryo Okumoto / piano, organ, keyboards
- Ken Jaquess / bass, keyboards
- Doug Sanborn / drums, percussion

Releases information

CD Magna Carta ‎- MAX-9107-2 (2010, Europe)

Thanks to rushfan4 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy K2 Black Garden Music

More places to buy K2 music online

K2 Black Garden ratings distribution

(55 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(15%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(38%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (7%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

K2 Black Garden reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by lor68
3 stars Well, this time I can not completely "forgive" them for their replacement of A. Holdsworth, by means of a good guitarist like Karl Johnson, cause the original project should have been remarked as the re-birth of the UK famous superband (in spite of E.Jobson and J. Wetton lacking), in the main concept at least; but now, by going back to their beginning once again, the band has been obliged to reset everything, even though They are well driven by the mastermind Ken Jacquess here and their flawless playing is unequivocal.

In fact his plot develops the beautiful story of the first inhabitants who colonized the wild islands, cut-off from the civilization of the modern world; so, by using some fine lyrics and capturing the emotion of the first adventures, Ken has performed a good job...ok some music passages are mellow and the album plot predictable as well, but it's not so much derivative and in vein of such a classic prog rock of the seventies, after all!!

I don't like the discontinuity of the composition (unlike "Book of the Dead"), but the vocalism is very good, even tough the melodic lines are quite uneven!!

Make your personal choice as usual but- in spite of being inferior than their debut work- this new album is not bad; and- even though K2 stand still in search of a precise identity, remaining "in the average" like many other prog bands from the USA, I hope to see them live on stage, before evaluating their performance definitivelyl!

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars The super group that lost its "super"

Black Garden is the second album from K2. Their first album featured none other than the great Allan Holdsworth on guitars, but he is no longer in the band on this follow up album (just as he left the super group UK after their first album). The vocals are still highly Peter Gabriel-like, but the music is somewhat darker and heavier this time around. I don't mind this, but the songs are not particularly memorable and without Holdsworth's distinctive and classic guitar sound, K2 have slipped down a whole dimension on my scale of interest. In fact, I was slightly reluctant to even give the album a chance. But since I very much enjoyed K2's first album, I though why not. It would perhaps be too much to say that it is a disappointment. Rather, it is just as expected - a decent album, but one that falls far short of the high quality of the debut.

Possibly the music can be described as a darker, heavier and less theatrical version of Peter Gabriel-era Genesis. This does not sound bad at all on paper, but if we also remove the "star quality" and originality of that classic Prog group and keep in mind also the rather unmemorable material, the situation begins to looks worse. Another downside is that the album is rather long and whatever excitement they managed to build up on the first few tracks starts to wear off towards the middle and it almost becomes a challenge to stay with them all the way trough to the end.

I can warmly recommend K2's debut Book Of The Dead, but this follow up is primarily for fans

Review by VianaProghead
3 stars Review Nš 130

K2 is a project of the bassist Ken Jaquess of the L.A. based band Atlantis, formed during the 90's. He wanted to recreate the classic 70's symphonic sound, by which he is passionate. To achieve that objective Ken searched for musicians who could recreate the sound of the instruments of those times. His choice was Shaun Guerin (vocals), Allan Holdsworth (guitar), Ryo Okumoto (keyboards), Yvette Devereaux (violin), John Miner (guitar) and Doug Sanborn (drums), and thus came their debut album 'Book Of The Dead', in 2005. The album is based on 'The Book Of The Dead', the ancient Egyptian book and which tells us the rules of the ultimate journey of the souls to the afterlife.

As Jacquess has a huge fascination with the ancient world and with all their civilizations, which was instilled by his mother, he returns in 2010 with his second album 'Black Garden'. This is another conceptual album. But this time, the concept is based around ancient Oceania, whose islands were populated by the Polynesians over 2000 years ago. The concept of the story is about the journey that the ancient Polynesians undertook sailing over a third of the world before they settled on the South Pacific islands. So, this entire story took place 2000 years before Christopher Columbus set sail. This is quite another amazing story and Ken thought it would be a great subject for the music on 'Black Garden'.

But on 'Black Garden', the line up is a bit different from their previous debut album, 'Book Of The Dead'. Shaun Guerin, unfortunately passed away soon before the debut album, Allan Holdsworth, Yvette Devereaux and John Miner left the project and don't participate on this new album. Holdsworth was replaced by Ken's friend Johnson and the vocals of the late Guerin are perfectly sung by Gleason, a vocalist who had worked in a Genesis' tribute band too, like happened with Guerin. Therefore the references to Gabriel are still intact. Together with the original drummer Sanborn, Jaquess started to work on a second studio album, but it took a long while before we could finally enjoy this second recording of K2. So, about five years later, that same quintet have finally released K2's second album, 'Black Garden'.

So, the line up on 'Black Garden' is Josh Gleason (vocals), Ken Jaquess (bass and keyboards), Karl Johnson (guitar), Ryo Okumoto (piano, moog, Hammond and synthesizer) and Doug Sanborn (drums and percussion).

The album has seven tracks. The first track 'Black Garden' which gave its name to the album is a very powerful and a great song to open the album. It's a song that reminds me their previous album with a touch of an oriental Arabic music with a touch of progressive metal, as if we were in a bazaar of any North African or Eastern medina. This is really a nice exotic track. The second track 'Passage To The Deep' is one of the two lengthiest songs on the album. Despite it's a song clearly influenced by Genesis in Gabriel's era, but in a modern way, in the beginning I think we can clearly feel the influence of IQ on it. I also want to highlight the keyboard work of Okumoto which is completely amazing and that it will be maintained throughout the album. What a nice piece of music we have here, indeed. The third track 'Windows Watch' is a very simple and beautiful ballad basically sung by Gleason and perfectly well accompanied by the piano of Okumoto, with a nice keyboard solo section. This is really a very interesting song. The fourth track 'Encounter Or Absence' is one of the songs on the album with more Genesis' influences because all its elements are there. It's a song with a mysterious and dramatic cinematic sound and it has also a great keyboard work. This is a good and melodic song. The fifth track 'Storm At Sunset' is one of the other lengthiest tracks on the album. It's another song where we can see the clear influence of Genesis in Gabriel's era, probably even more pronounced than in the previous track. This is a good and powerful song. The sixth track 'Summer's Fall' is the smallest song on the album. It's a brief piece of music only with vocals and keyboards, but it's still a good track. The seventh track 'Path Of The Warrior' is a nice ending for the album. It's the epic track on the album and the guitar sound reminds me Yes. This is a song where Ken and Okumoto perform very good keyboard solos and it has some Johnson's simple and beautiful guitar solos too.

Conclusion: I must say that I was very pleasantly surprised when I saw that K2 had a new album, because as had passed five years from their debut, I was convinced that they wouldn't release another new album. In the second place, despite the departure of great musicians, the new elements complied with that replacement. Johnson brings a reasonably work with his guitar in the traditional neo-prog leanings with a touch of prog metal and Gleason, beyond the clear resemblance with Gabriel's voice, seems the perfect reincarnation of Guerin. In the third place, and despite the clear and main influence of Genesis, Yes and Marillion, with a touch of IQ, and due to their taste for recreating the classic 70's symphonic sound, with this album K2 proved they have a very own and inimitable modern sound. However, the absence of Alan Holdsworth can be felt. His unique and intricate guitar work isn't present anymore. We may say, the super group lost its 'super'. So, despite 'Black Garden' be not as good as the previous one, it still is a good album.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I really like this album. Having never heard its predecessor, The Book of the Dead, I have nothing to compare it to. Despite this, I find the compositions very well constructed, the vocals very powerful, the instrumental performances of a very high caliber, and the sound production quite good. I first heard this album around the time that it came out, put in my queue of "wish list" items but never pushed "buy." Yet, every single time I've reviewed my wish lists I've had the nagging urge to push "buy." Finally, with my deep dive into the Neo Prog world I've singled it out to review and I am still finding myself loving this music! There are a lot of Gabriel-era Genesis-like instances and yet, as one other reviewer said, it all has a more modern feel to it. Though this could put them in competition with bands like IQ, Marillion and Spock's Beard, I come away with an almost unique and different sense than I do from those bands' albums.

1. "Black Garden" (6:25) powerful song with awesome vocal performance. (9.5/10)

2. "Passage To The Deep" (11:35) very IQ-like; great keyboards & bass (17.5/20)

3. "Widows Watch" (6:37) piano and voice. Very PG-like?perhaps even more representative of his solo era. Interesting "piccolo" bass work in the middle. (8.75/10)

4. "Encounter Or Absence" (7:11) sad to hear dated synth so prominently during the opening sequence. Once the song kicks into gear, all is fine?though the melody of the vocal gets a little lost there. I like the chunky bass being mixed so far forward. (13/15)

5. "Storm At Sunset" (11:05) the excellent PG-like vocal doesn't always fit with the music; the music often shifts tempos rather roughly and, I would argue, unnecessarily (complexity for complexity's sake?) while the vocalist just plows along as if the music doesn't matter. Amazing bass play. (16.5/20)

6. "Summer's Fall" (2:12) TD-like synth wash chords over which Josh sings quite impressively in his PG voice. It seems that Josh's skill is best displayed over very simple, quiet passages. (4.5/5)

7. "Path Of The Warrior" (10:43) nice use of effects on voice in the first minute. Then chunky bass and full YES-like ensemble break into a folk-melody-based section. Impressive! The slow, more sparsely filled section that begins at 2:40 in order to support a guitar solo is nice. Three minutes later piano announces a new section?a return to the original folk-melody and its vocal. A little King Crimson feel to the next new section in the eighth minute before several thematic transitions leads to a kind of "Iron Man" support for another Karl Johnsons solo. The "chorus" that it comes out with is good but then, surprise, another tangent into solo-support?this time a most excellent passage with a most excellent synth solo. Well done. (18/20)

Total Time 55:48

B+/4.5 stars; a near-masterpiece of progressive rock music and an excellent representative of fine Neo Prog music. Nice work Josh, Ken, Ryo and Doug?your skills and sounds enmesh quite perfectly!

Latest members reviews

3 stars K2 is back again with their second album. If my memories serves me right, I liked their second album. This one though is a bit of a different beast. First of all; they have got the album title spot on. The songs here are pretty blackened, but still not without organic life. The reason for mu ... (read more)

Report this review (#406605) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Wednesday, February 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars After six years , with a new guitarist(Karl Johnson) and a new vocalist (Josh Gleason) the K2 are back with a new studio album called Black Garden. For those who are interested(I rarely listen to the lyrics these days) , apparently this is a concept album about ancient Oceania and the journey of ... (read more)

Report this review (#385435) | Posted by idlero | Sunday, January 23, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I had a promo copy i heard 4 times and then deleted. I m sure i ll get one original. Excellent return of K2. Not so good things in this album: a)The first song : I presume it will be the single they hope to become a hit,but in prog matters this is a bad pop prog metal song. b)The absenc ... (read more)

Report this review (#300781) | Posted by robbob | Tuesday, September 28, 2010 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of K2 "Black Garden"

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


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: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

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