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Ken's Novel


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Ken's Novel Domain Of Oblivion album cover
3.75 | 34 ratings | 4 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2005

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Chapter I - Sadfield (8:08)
2. Chapter II - Crowd on Sale (10:07)
3. Chapter III - Empress of the Frozen Sea (10:18)
4. Chapter IV - Reject (1:27)
5. Chapter V - Voices (7:25)
6. Chapter VI - Wisdom Peak :
- a) The Magnifying Glass (2:47)
- b) Mirror Man (3:53)
- c) Distorted Reflection (3:14)
7. Chapter VII - The Hallucinogenic Lake (8:56)
8. Chapter VIII - Peaceful (0:21)
9. Chapter IX - Domain of Oblivion (16:06)
10. Chapter X - Distinctive Signs (3:52)

Total Time: 76:34

Line-up / Musicians

- Patrick Muermans / lead and backing vocals, drums & keyboards, programming
- Eric Vanderbemden / electric and acoustic guitars
- Bruno Close / keyboards
- Sébastien Mentior / bass
- Geoffrey Leontiev / drums, percussions, drums programming

- Christine Michel / backing vocals
- Sophie Hercot / backing vocals (9)
- Philippe Thibaut / lead guitar (6a,10)
- Alain Vael / guitar (10)
- Ludo Catalfamo / keyboards (2,7)
- François Gaube / keyboards (3,5)
- Bernard Piette / keyboards (6c)
- Walter Prevoo / keyboards (9)
- Ales Hrdlicka / violins
- Gabriel Arias Luna / cello
- Alain Léonard / bass (6b,10), fretless bass (2,7)
- Francis Winandy / bass (9)
- Agnês Nanogak / incantations (8)

Releases information

CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4569.AR (2005, Belgium)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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KEN'S NOVEL Domain Of Oblivion ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(44%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KEN'S NOVEL Domain Of Oblivion reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars Ken's Novel is a 5-piece band from Belgium featuring Patrick Muermans (lead - and backing vocals, drums and keyboard programming), Eric Vanderbemden (electric - and acoustic guitars), Bruno Close (keyboards), Geoffrey Leontiev (drums, percussions, drums programming) and Sebastièn Mentior. In '99 they released their first album "The guide", this one was boosted by a positive review from the magazine Prog Resiste and a distribution deal from the known French progrock label Musea Records. Ken's novel played on several progrock festivals and in 2002 two songs from the band could be found on the compilation "Spring rock festival 2000". A year later Ken's Novel released the CD "Unplugged?" and in 2002 the album "Domain of oblivion" was released on a demo. Two years later the band put it on CD, again distributed by Musea. On this CD the band use a wide range of guest musicians (keyboards, bass, backing vocals, lead guitar, violins, cello).

The music on the CD "Domain of oblivion" sounds melodic, dynamic and varied with good solos on guitar and keyboards and strong interplay between these instruments. The propulsive parts with organ evokes KANSAS but in general the main reference is STYX, especially because of the vocals and the more polished parts of their music (AOR/poprock). Despite the running time of almost 77 minutes, the music didn't fail to generate excitement: lots of spectacular synthesizer flights, some sparkling piano ("Voices"), sensitive electric guitar with soaring keyboards, metallish guitarwork and bombastic organ ("Wisdom part 3") and a ballad with wah- wah guitar in the end ("Distinctive signs"). The absolute highlight on this CD is the long titletrack (more than 16 minutes): fiery electric guitar and sumptuous keyboards, acoustic guitar and piano, a beautiful, bluesy guitarsolo and then ... it's solo time featuring a jazzy piano, sensational synthesizer runs and a swirling organ, this band 'progrocks' during these instrumental fireworks.

This is the best from Belgium I've heard since the legendary Machiavel!

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars The band needed five years to release their second album. In between, there will be the release of a demo single in 2002 with two songs from this album (the title track as well as "Mirror Man", the middle part of "Wisdom Peak"), and an "Unplugged" EP with three traks from their first album.

"Domain Of Oblivion" is a concept album which story is fully depicted (in French) on their web-site : (and not the link referenced on PA). Well, Iam glad that this has been corrected in the meantime (this is an edition made on December 31st, 2007).

It is a weird and very complex (and long) story. Our hero wants to change from life and migrate to a better one. A better land. He has heard of a place where the past would be erased, where you could start a new life again. It is called the domain of oblivion. It is located on the other side of the world. But he will find this place.

This is only the introduction of this excellent story. Full of fantasy, mystery, strange creatures, weird adventures etc. I guess only "The Lamb" holds more craziness.

Musically, this album is rather pleasant. Fully neo-prog, I should say. Again on the hard edge during some songs, "Arena"-like to situate the band. Still, several light and passionate moments are included in this album as well. The work of the vocalist is quite convincing. The whole band is really good, even if the keyboards take the main place.

Our hero will have to face lots of dangers, fears, humiliations. Almost each song is a lesson for the main character : hope ("Crowd on Sail"), disdain ("Empress of the Frozen Sea"), courage ("Voices"), wisdom ("Wisdom Peak"). This section divided in three parts is particularly interesting : both musically as well as on the storyboard side.

The "pièce de résistance" is of course the epic title track. Musicianship is very good, and it rocks solidly. It flirts with some heavy sounds (but this was a characteristic of their debut album as well). This song is very complex but the chorus is truely catchy. It could have been a bit shorter. This is also a critic for this album. Almost eighty minutes is too long to be interesting from start to finish.

This song will feature some great guitar work (one of the very few one of this album). and a beautiful finale. I really recommend you to visit their web-site and get the full story for this album (but you will need to be fluent in French to grab the essence of this crazy adventure).

Having to face several weird adventures like "The Hallucinogenic Lake" in which he almost died, our hero will reach the land of "milk and honey" (well, he won't really get this feeling...). Actually, when he will reach his goal (The Domain Of Oblivion), he will realize that it was not what he was expecting and he will decide to probably get back ... home !

It tells us of course that the grass is not always greener elsewhere. Another nice lesson.

I will rate it with four stars, which is a bit on the high end (actualy seven out of ten would be closer to - my - reality) but the story is so elaborate that three stars would be a bit too "short".

Again, give it a try while reading the storyboard to get the full picture.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Having satisfied with the debut album, I kept searching the next release and found out this "Domain of Oblivion" is an excellent album and represents the band's positive progression. Not that the music is beautifully composed, the melody is most of them catchy.

A solid album with excellent melody

"Sadfield" (8:08) is a great opening track using excellent combination of violin and cello that accompanies vocal in dark mood at acoustic part. The music then blasts off in rockin' mood with hih energy in the vein of Genesis but with wild guitar work. From the opening track I can sense that the music is quite matured compared to debut album. The keyboard / organ work is reminiscent of ELP and it sounds really great. The music suddenly breaks and it reminds me to the kind of King Crimson. During the break there is an exploration of violin and cello followed nicely by guitar solo and vocal. From this part I can say that the song is really dynamic as it changes in style from start to end. The vocal part tries to emulate Peter Gabriel. This opening track is really great and it has all vintage components of prog but mellotron.

"Crowd on Sale" (10:07) enters wonderfully with symphonic prog rock in relatively fast tempo and high energy. At approx 0:52 the music breaks with the sound of keyboard accompanying vocal and the tempo slows down dramatically. This part moves in acoustic style even though drums accompany the music. AT approx 3:10 there is a sound of sitar and tabla that really enrich the textures of the music. I believe this is not typical neo progressive music as it has many improvisations. The interlude part is brilliant and beautifully composed.

"Empress of the Frozen Sea" (10:18) kicks off ambient with soft guitar riffs and stunning drum followed by music in symphonic style with inventive keyboard work. The music flows naturally in symphonic prog style augmented by nice violin work in the style of Kansas. The beauty thing about this track is the use of acoustic guitar fills plus brilliant interlude which explores guitar solo textured by vibraphone and dynamic basslines. Ohman .. I really love this part. And I really salute Ken's Novel for having composed this great song. There are great intertwined roles of violin, cello, guitar, keyboard and bass throughout the ending part of this track.

It's in the tradition of Ken's Novel on making short bridge like "Reject" (1:27) with an attractive composition. This time is just a repetitive guitar riffs, simple voice "Don't Reject Me" and at the end closed by violin / cello solo. It's a nice bridge. "Voices" (7:25) flows in mellow style with catchy melody of vocal line backed by wonderful acoustic guitar work.

"Wisdom Peak" is an epic with four parts where the opening part .a) The Magnifying Glass (2:47) contains stunning electric guitar solo backed by ambient long sustain keyboard work followed with piano. It's a nice opening. b) Mirror Man (3:53) comprises loop followed by howling guitar, and the music rhythm section reminds me to Genesis' "Follow You, Follow Me" in a darker style. The chorus part is more dynamic than Genesis and the interlude part featuring howling guitar work is excellent. c) Distorted Reflection (3:14) is a dynamic track with great pulsating keyboard solo.

"The Hallucinogenic Lake" (8:56) opens like a ballad with nice guitar work and powerful low register notes of vocal. The music flows in mellow style. The interlude part with guitar solo is stunning even though the song is quite long in duration. Fortunately there is an inventive style at approx 6:22 which enriches the texture of the song. The ending part is different in style than the previous segments at opening and it has high energy.

"Peaceful" (0:21) is basically an acapella to bridge the next epic title track "Domain of Oblivion" (16:06) which starts with keyboard work followed with a blast of music which features guitar solo augmented by pulsating keyboard work. The music styles of this epic varies from one segment to another with influences from Styx, Kansas, ELP, Marillion and Pallas. The beauty is of course enjoying the changes in styles throughout the epic. For those who have not been exposed to prog music this epic is probably quite hard to digest. But if get used to music like Yes' "Gates of Delirium" or Genesis' "Supper's Ready" this is not a tough task at all. "Distinctive Signs" (3:52) concludes the album with mellow style in catchy melody.

Overall, this album is better and much mature compared to the debut album. Fans of neo progressive rock will enjoy this album in its entirety. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Another concept album from Belgium's KEN'S NOVEL. I do think this one is an improvement over the debut I just don't find myself getting too excited about it unfortunately. Another long one coming in at 76 1/2 minutes. A boat-load of guests helping out on this one as well.

"Sadfield" opens with some atmosphere as piano then cello joins in. Vocals before 1 1/2 minutes also join in. It kicks in after 2 1/2 minutes thankfully. Oh it's the vocalist that sounds like the singer from TILES, I forgot about that. A calm before 5 1/2 minutes with acoustic guitar and reserved vocals. It kicks back in. "Crowd On Sail" opens with a good heavy sound but it settles right down when the vocals arrive a minute in. Contrasts continue. Some silliness to end it. "Empress Of The Frozen Sea" sounds like a ship in the sea to open. Guitar and drums come in then it settles when the vocals arrive. Contrasts continue. This one rocks pretty good at times. I can't help but think of TILES during those sections. Some nice guitar late. "Rejected" features some strange sounds and guitar. Vocals then cello come in.

"Voices" is a mid-paced tune with vocals. It's ok. "Widom Peak" is divided into three parts.The first section features some crying guitar after a minute. The second section is catchy with vocals, while the third part gets heavy before a minute with organ before settling down. "The Hallucinogenic Lake" opens with laid back guitar. Sounds great too. Reserved vocals and bass join in. It's fuller 2 minutes in but still laid back. It kicks in around 8 minutes. "Peaceful ?" is a short spoken word piece. "Domain Of Oblivion" is the 16 minute epic. It's atmospheric early then it kicks in with vocals. Relaxing guitar with organ 7 minutes in,piano follows. Great sound 10 minutes in. Not a fan of the mellow piano / vocals section after 11 minutes. It picks back up to that earlier uptempo sound. "Distinctive Signs" opens with synths as fragile vocals join in. Bass then drums follow as it slowly builds. Nice guitar solo after 2 1/2 minutes. It's an ok ending to this long album.

Good album but nothing more as far as i'm concerned.

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