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Kinetic Element


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Kinetic Element The Face Of Life album cover
3.48 | 28 ratings | 5 reviews | 11% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Epistle (7:08)
2. All Open Eyes (15:56)
3. The Face of Life (19:35)
4. Last Words (3:49)

Total Time: 46:28

Bonus track on 2019 CD/Digital editions:
5. Last Words (radio edit) (2:55)

Line-up / Musicians

- Saint John Coleman / vocals
- Peter Matuchniak / guitar
- Mike Visaggio / piano, organ synth, harmony vocals (2)
- Mark Tupko / bass
- Michael Murray / drums, harmony vocals (2)

- Yvan Matteau / gong

Releases information

Sub-titled "A Symphony In E Major"

Artwork: Man In The Mountain

CD Melodic Revolution Records ‎- MRRCD-22164 (2019, US) With a bonus track

LP Melodic Revolution Records ‎- MRRLP-12-007 (2019, US)

Digital album (With a bonus track)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KINETIC ELEMENT The Face Of Life ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(11%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (46%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KINETIC ELEMENT The Face Of Life reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars US band KINETIC ELEMENT was formed back in 2006, as chance then made it possible for composer and main man Mike Visaggio to form a band around his music. Three albums have see then light of day since then, and "The Face of Light", released in 2019 through US label Melodic Revolution Records, is the most recent of these.

There appears to be a growing cadre of bands that has a desire to explore the symphonic progressive rock of yesteryear. Visaggio has been doing this for quite some time now, both as a solo artist as well as with his band Kinetic Element. Those who know and love this band will be happy with this album, as will many with a general interest in this specific variety of symphonic progressive rock. In this case and for this album, I also think that the music is geared slightly more towards the accessible and slightly less towards the more expressive varieties of the style. A fine companion piece to the band's previous album. Perhaps not quite at the same level, but this is much depending on personal taste as well. Cue the use of the words accessible and expressive.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars The band Kinetic Element is a Neo-Prog band from Richmond, Virgina, founded in 2006 by keyboardist Mike Vissagio. Mike had actually assembled a band for a solo project that he released around that time, and the band worked so well together, that they decided to make a regular band out of the line-up. After bringing some attention to themselves after they performed in various prog fests in 2016 ? 2017, they started working on their third album.

They have released 3 full length albums and there have been a few changes over time, but as of the released of this album, "The Face of Life" in early 2019, the band is made up of Mike on keys and vocals, Saint John Coleman on vocals, Peter Matuchniak on guitars, Mark Tupko on bass and Michael Murray on drums and backing vocals. "The Face of Life" is an album made up of 4 tracks but has a total runtime of around 46 minutes. The band will also see their first vinyl release ever with this album which should be available at the end of March 2019.

"Epistle" begins with a short spoken word section backed by guitar and soon joined by the entire band. The vocals start shortly after with an obvious Christian theme. The music and themes have a definite progressive feel with tricky rhythms and non-standard structure. All of the musicians are in good form and prominent in the mix, the production sounds really good. The vocalist is good enough, but is a bit too clean and could use a rougher edge to better match the music.

"All Open Eyes" starts off with harmonic and unaccompanied vocals except for little snippets of music between the vocal lines. After a short time, there is an instrumental interlude and build up with each performer shining through. Just before 4 minutes, the music climaxes and then is replaced by a solo piano and soon after, vocals. Staying fairly mellow, the drums and bass come in and then things develop into more intensity, but still staying bright. Before the 8 minute mark, the 2nd verse ends and the instruments that have been itching to get back at the forefront take off with a great progressive section with guitars and synths both playing front and center supported by a tricky and ever changing rhythm section. Just before 10 minutes, a gong ends that section and things become more atmospheric, but build back to the vocal theme again. After the 3rd verse, the guitar gets to take things to a majestic finish, but just when you think it is to wind up, there is a build up to another short vocal section, and another big finish ends everything at almost 16 minutes.

The title track "Face of Life" starts off with a piano and an atmospheric guitar. When the band comes in, the track has a slow and stately feeling. Just after 3 minutes, the tempo picks up and we head into a guitar solo first and then later an organ solo. Vocals finally start at just before 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the vocals don't quite match the quality of the music or the passion of the lyrics, and that keeps making everything feel a bit weak and unconvincing. I'm not a fan of Christian lyrics, but I try to not dwell on that when listening to an album. But in this case, the vocals don't quite sell the message anyway and either they need to not be so perfect and clean or they need a new singer. At around 10 minutes, a moderate tempo provides a background for a synth solo and then guitar. A few minutes later, a faster beat brings in another vocal theme. As the track continues, there are some short instrumental breaks, but there are way too many vocals. The themes changes a few times, but this track suffers a lot because it never really gets a chance to take off much, and the vocals start to sound too much like preaching, and with a 20 minute track, that just makes the entire album suffer.

The album ends with the short 3 minute "Last Words", but by this time I am wishing there weren't any more words at all. A lone synth brings in more vocals in a prog style melody, but it seems like aimless singing which makes the lyrics meaningless.

The one thing that stands out on this album is utilized well in the track "All Open Eyes", and that is the instrumental work, which is really the only place this gets to shine. There are vocals in this track, but at least they are less in quantity on this track. The rest of the album is just too wordy and since the vocals don't seem to match what they are trying to convey, the album just suffers. All of the ground that the band made in that one track is lost by the rest of the album by utilizing too many sub-par vocals. 3 stars.

Review by FragileKings
4 stars There was a lot of buzz in my Facebook feed recently about the latest album by American prog rockers, Kinetic Element. With a third album coming together in 2018, the fuss was all about the band adding guitarist Peter Matuchniak to their ranks. Peter's figures prominently in my CD collection with his individualistic and easily recognized style of playing on his solo albums, Gekko Projekt's two albums, Evolve IV, recent Marco Ragni albums, and last year's well-received and highly-rated Bomber Googles album, 'Gyreland'. I admit that I didn't know anything about Kinetic Element except for that they were one of the many excellent bands signed to Melodic Revolution Records, a number of whose artists have CDs on my shelf.

According to the MRR web site, Kinetic Element had really hit their stride on this third album, 'The Face of Life'. A band whose influences run deep in classic seventies prog, there might be some concern about the music being too 'retro'. However, after the first listen I quickly arrived at the conclusion that if a band can play classic-prog-inspired music this well and sound like they are having so much fun doing it, then there is no shame at all in being retro. This band really nails it!

'Epistle' is the opening track and a great warm up to the album. Peter Matuchniak's guitar playing is instantly recognizable. The band show off their skills as a modern symphonic prog band with every intention of making the past sound fresh and exciting with their own musical skills. The vocals remind me a lot of Elephants of Scotland, another band who exhibit great talent for making retro prog sound alive and kicking.

'All Eyes Open' is the first of two epic tracks, this one just shy of 16 minutes. The a cappella intro with short instrumental bursts intervening will remind one of Yes and Gentle Giant alternating. Then the song comes crashing in with a big organ solo and a choppy, muted, seventies guitar that reminds me of, among many others, a part in 'The Revealing Science of God' and the Space 1999 theme. Synthesizer solos, more organ solos, all courtesy of Mike Visaggio. If 'retro' is a dirty word and 'retro prog' an oxymoron, then by now you should just forget about any reservations you have. Kinetic Element's music is expertly executed. It's powerful, exciting, beautiful, and a real showcase for rock musician talent. Just listen to the 8 to 10 minute mark passage. It might have 'we grew up with seventies prog' stamped all over it but, man, that's some ripping music!

The title track is the second epic, running at over 19 minutes. The first five minutes are all intro with some dramatic piano parts. I couldn't help pick up on Peter's melodic guitar playing around the 11-minute mark before the music switches back to a vibrant, upbeat passage with an organ solo that reminds me of classic Kansas. This is followed by a synthesizer solo that has me thinking of Dave Stewart when he played will Bill Bruford. Mike Visaggio is a genius and he's certainly letting us know that! Overall, whatever price you paid for admission, it's all been totally worth it so far.

The closing track, 'Last Words' begins soothingly with something that could be a blend of UK and 'Tales from Topographic Oceans'. The vocal melody of the chorus is very catchy and memorable. A bonus track appears on the CD, which is 'Last Words' without the intro.

The highlights of this album are the incredible and varied playing of the two epic tracks, though both 'Epistle' and 'Last Words' earn their places on this album. Whatever praise has been given for this album up to now, I completely agree. The music of 'The Face of Life' shows us that Kinetic Element is a band that knows exactly what it's doing and how to do it!

Review by kev rowland
4 stars Originally formed by keyboard player Mike Visaggio, only drummer Michael Murray is still involved from the line-up which recorded the debut album 'Powered by Light' back in 2009. Bassist Mike Tupko was there in time for the second, 2015's 'Travelog', but 2019's version of the band sees them add Saint John Coleman on vocals and Peter Matuchniak on guitar. I have been fortunate enough to hear quite a lot of Peter's output over the years, and am a huge fan of his, so was really looking forward to playing this and I certainly wasn't disappointed.

I was smiling before I even opened the CD as on the rear was the track listing, as is normal, but what makes this different is that it was shown as Side One and Side Two, and even the CD itself has been printed so it looks like a record. In addition, the total length of the album is just over 46 minutes long, and anyone my age will know that the most popular cassette length of the day was the C-90 which allowed a person to record an album on each side, so this doesn't quite fit but is a welcome change from the 70 minutes which seem to be de rigeur for CD releases these days. Needless to say, this has also been released on vinyl.

But could the music live up to all my expectations once it made it to the player? Of course it did. The album has been mixed so there is room for everyone to make their presence felt, and in some bars I felt the bass was the most important instrument, at others it was the drums, so it wasn't always the guitar or keyboards although the melodic line would always come back to these given all the songs were written by Visaggio. It is hard to comprehend that Saint John Coleman is best-known for performing with cover bands, and also that he wasn't grabbed by the band when he initially attempted to join them in 2013, as he has a great voice which fits in perfectly with the band's Seventies-style progressive rock which has been influenced very much by the likes of Kansas and early Rush.

It feels very American indeed, and given the guitarist is English, the bassist is Polish, and the singer wears a kilt, that may be somewhat surprising. In many ways it feels like a comfort blanket for me as this reminds me so much of the progressive rock I grew up listening to, sat with the album sleeve reading the lyrics and studying the artwork as the vinyl was on the player. This really is a step back in time and is all the better for it. Let's hope this line-up keeps together as I am already looking forward to the next album, as sections such as in 'All Open Eyes' where bass and drums combine to provide the structure for Mike to place symphonic keyboards against, and then Peter soars over the top, is just sublime. It is hard to pick a favourite as they are all so good, but with just four songs there is plenty of time and length for the guys to spread their wings and they do so with ease. From harmony vocals through to rock, this is a superb example of American progressive rock.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Kinetic Element is a four piece formation from the USA that was founded in 2006, in order to support keyboard player Mike Visaggio's solo CD entitled Starship Universe, released in 2006. The band performed at several festivals, did a lot of gigs and was the support-act of progrock bands Circa, I ... (read more)

Report this review (#2183691) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Wednesday, April 17, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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