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KARCIUS

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Canada


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Karcius biography
KARCIUS is an instrumental group aiming at playing a mix of progressive rock and fusion jazz music. Four instrumentalists created the band at spring 2001: Dominique Blouin on bass, Thomas Brodeur on drums, Simon L'Espérance on guitars and Mingan Sauriol on keyboards. The group objective is to develop different musical ideas and explore styles to generate a surprising and diversified music. The improvisation and written music stand side by side generating a unique and particular musical concept. KARCIUS invites you in its universe of rhythms, colours, images, emotions and ambiances.

KARCIUS exceptionnal musicians devotes unceasing work and true passion to their art.

: : : KARCIUS, CANADA : : :

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The First DayThe First Day
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2012
Audio CD$12.52
$9.99 (used)
EpisodesEpisodes
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2008
Audio CD$12.52
$10.68 (used)
SphèreSphère
Import
Unicorn Digital Inc. 2006
Audio CD$12.65
$7.98 (used)
KaleidoscopeKaleidoscope
Import
Unicorn Digital 2006
Audio CD$9.99
$9.87 (used)
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KARCIUS discography


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KARCIUS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 43 ratings
Sphere
2004
3.23 | 26 ratings
Kaleidoscope
2006
3.99 | 51 ratings
Episodes
2008
3.65 | 44 ratings
The First Day
2012

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KARCIUS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kaleidoscope by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.23 | 26 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars With their publicity still stuck within the Canadian borders, the four young instrumentalists from Quebec had the chance to meet Unicorn Digital's boss Michel St-Pere and sign a deal with the label.St-Pere not only agreed to release the band's second album, but committed to reissue Karcius debut as well.''Kaleidoscope'' was exclusively recorded at the RCA Studio in Montreal, where Simon L'Esperance had also the chance to learn a lot on sound engineering.The album was released in 2006.

Another bunch of long Heavy/Fusion instrumentals with a more precise performance, more compact arrangements and a well-balanced sound was the proposal of Karcius in ''Kaleidoscope''.While their style remained very technical and complex, the fair amount of atmospheric tunes and melodic themes indicate a new direction for the band, the one that combines virtuosity and technique with accesible and easily digested tunes.Again the focus is on the jazzy side of Progressive Rock with good individual solos, tight instrumental lines and bombastic passages with full-blown guitar and keyboard moves.They sound like if RETURN TO FOREVER and KING CRIMSON shared the same stage, offering intelligent guitar tricks, ethereal piano preludes and powerful keyboard runs.As with many bands of the style, they often enter a more improvised world, dedicated to loose soloing and abstract deliveries, but these come during their otherwise very dense and well-executed arrangements.Overall the result is pretty satisfying with lots of complex moves but also some decent atmospheric/melodic textures.

A step forward for the band.''Kaleidoscope'' finds Karcius in a mature phase.Nice instrumental Heavy/Fusion with a balanced sound.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 The First Day by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.65 | 44 ratings

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The First Day
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars Karcius is a Canadian group that was formed in spring 2001 with Simon L'Espérance on guitars, Thomas Brodeur on drums, Mingan Sauriol on keyboards and Sylvain Auclair, who joined the band in 2009, on bass and vocals. This is their fourth album to date, but the first with Sylvain as there has been a four-year gap since 'Episodes' which was released in 2008. Karcius refuse to sit within the 'normal' prog boundaries, as they are also heavily influenced by jazz, RIO and even African rhythms. The end result of the melding of these is an album that is always interesting, always pushing the boundaries, but not always necessarily easy to listen to. There are times when the music just feels angular with sharp edges as the staccato use of piano chords puts a menacing edge onto the proceedings.

There is no doubt that this is often challenging, yet for those who persevere you will find some great music contained within. "The Word" starts as if it is going to be a metal monster before changing into something that is quite different, with vocals that are quite laid back and feel almost throwaway/demo in atmosphere which puts a very different slant on the whole song. There is often a strong use of piano and fretless bass in combination, and this mix of cold and warmth is a very powerful dynamic.

Truly progressive, this album will alienate a lot of listeners but is definitely worth investigation.

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 Episodes by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.99 | 51 ratings

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Episodes
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by avestin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Karcius from Quebec, Canada have so far released 3 instrumental albums, all of them quite eclectic with regards to the styles played in the various pieces the comprise them. With Episodes, I hear a band that has developed, and for lack of a better word, matured; they are more delicate and precise in their way of delivering their instrumental pieces, more refined than before. They are still as varied as before, conjuring up different styles and playing in a dynamic fashion. In their first release in 2004, Sphere, which I very much love, they had a rawer approach and it was an eclectic affair that toyed with catchy tunes, heavy parts mingled with jazzy elements and cheerful melodies. Going forward to 2008 and their release Episodes, this is still a diverse offering, but one that has a refined and distilled sound of the band, with an underlying link between all the pieces; the progressive rock and fusion of the three-part main piece, Elements and the Spanish flavoured composition Incident to the mellow blues/reggae/jam tune Racines. The refined sound owes to the song arrangements and to the musicianship. There is fabulous playing by all musicians here; listen to the bass licks and drumming on Elements II: Sol; to the guitar and piano on almost each piece. It's a feast to the ears.

Elements alone is a reason to get this album. Fading in it starts delicately with a relaxed yet steady, particular drumming rhythm (heard more in the back of the mix) and a soothing bass line, soon joined by the piano and then guitar, welcoming us into this beautiful palace of sounds that awaits us. A wonderful Pink-Floydian guitar solo proceeds as the full band engages their playing. From here on is a 30 minutes of delightful rich sounding music that is divided into 3 parts (but is continuous). There are climaxes and emotional peaks, heavy parts at times even aggressive (around minute 5:30 in Submersion, the first part and at the beginning of part 3: Combustion), quieter parts, jazzy interludes, fusion and rock segments, darker moments, lighter and happier parts and so on. The music in each part revolves around the main theme, playing with it, changing it, maneuvering it and developing it to make it interesting and appealing (and succeed in doing so). The 3 parts themselves dissolve seamlessly into each other and make up a fascinating listen as a whole piece. In Incident, a fabulous Spanish flavoured theme is presented with violin embellishments here and there. The chorus, if I can call it that, is a splendid powerful part of piano and acoustic guitar together in a swirling movement, going back and forth, creating a magical moment. Levant is a short piece serving as transition to the piece Purple King as well as repose from the intensity of the music thus far. A mellow piano solo piece composed by the player (Mingan Sauriol), it's a beautiful composition that showcases what I suspect is a classical training. I'd love to hear more from him. Purple King start with a cool bass line, giving a mysterious vibe of something that is stirring up and about to reveal itself in its full magnificence. The ambience created here is outstanding, as the guitar licks add to the suspense and later electrifies the air. This is enhanced by the wonderful organ playing that creates a spell-binding atmosphere. This is a great rock piece by the band as the music twirls and weaves itself around the main theme, adding additional elements and layers to it until a peak at about 4:30, where it bursts further more as the lead electric guitar takes full charge of the situation and leads the band, with powerful drumming backing it up and the ever present Hammond organ delivering haunting playing. A highly intense track, no wonder it is followed by the tender and Racines with its bluesy/reggae and jam-like approach to close the album. It does speed up about 3 minutes in a fusion-on-acid like style only to go back to the original theme about a minute and a half later.

Karcius present in this album several Episodes, each with a unique theme and style. Much like their previous album, this is an eclectic affair, but it works very well for me and it's a great pleasure to listen to their music. I look forward to their next one.

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 Kaleidoscope by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.23 | 26 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was blown away by their debut "Sphere", and I must say that this sophomore release by this Quebec Fusion band is impressive. Yes you can insert the word "but" here. I don't know, I just don't have the same excitement for this album. "Been there done that" are sort of my thoughts on this one, only they did it better the first time.

"Hypothese A" is the best track on the album as far as i'm concerned. It's fairy relaxed with keys until it kicks in after 1 1/2 minutes. Great sound ! Check out the bass after 2 minutes. Nice guitar with piano follows. The tempo continues to shift and they also continue to contrast heavy and light. "Maintenant" is where they slow it down as we get a light sound with lots of piano and bass. It's ok. "Destination" is more aggressive thankfully. Lots of guitar as piano comes and goes. It settles 3 1/2 minutes in with some excellent drum work. Kicks back in a minute later.

"Tunnel" opens with some outstanding guitar as drums pound. It settles after 1 1/2 minutes then tasteful guitar comes in. He starts to rip it up before 3 minutes. The heavy and light continue to be contrasted. "Hypothese B" is the longest track at over 11 minutes. Piano intro as the guitar cries out. It settles with some clapping then kicks back in. Settles again before 8 minutes with some relaxed guitar to the end. "A-O-14" features some heavy drums early as the guitar makes some noise. Piano joins in after a minute as the drums stop. Nice guitar solo after 3 1/2 minutes then the heavy drums return. It's ok. "Epilogue" builds as the guitar comes in. A calm after 2 1/2 minutes to the end. Piano and clapping once again. "Hypothese C" sounds great to start, and the drums sound fantastic a minute in. It turns fairly jazzy. Check out the guitar 6 minutes in and the drumming that follows. Laid back piano ends it.

Good album, just not a great one.

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 Episodes by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.99 | 51 ratings

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Episodes
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by OceanTree

5 stars This is such a great album that I don't even know where to start!

This is a great example of what this band can do. They blend together different styles of music together so well putting together softer sides and heavier ones without brutal changes. They put together jazz, metal, rock, latin, folk, you name it. The songs are really evolving and ever changing.

Yes their main influence is clearly jazz but without too much improvisation. The tracks seem calculated to a high degree. There is no place for some 16 minutes solos or anything. They really focus on melodies which are mind blowing and since there are no vocals they speak with their instruments making the emotions even stronger. In one song you can go from ambitious to happy to angry to spooked.

The musicianship is marvelous. The drums beats vary with great transitions and accuracy. The drum tracks are just... WOW! The bassist is also very talented and masters different techniques so to adapt to the many genres they ride during the long songs. I could say the same for the pianist and guitarist. ...And if you can see them live DON'T MISS IT! Seeing them playing those pieces of art with such enthusiasm makes them even better.

Great melodies, musicianship, genres adaptations! I just don't know why they are not that known on Prog archives...

if I could give more than five stars I would

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 Episodes by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2008
3.99 | 51 ratings

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Episodes
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Always restlessly approaching their interests in an eclectic sort of prog rock that mixes jazz-rock, psychedelia, fusion and symphonic textures, the guys of Karcius have released yet another gem in their repertoire by the end of 2008: "Episodes" is a marvelous exhibition of how much creatity these guys carry in their minds and souls in order o keep their artistic proposal fresh and renewed. As always, this band's sonic framework is loose enough as to fluidly incorporate sources of musical power that somehow relate their essence to the standards of prog-metal. You can also notice some bizarre progressions and ornaments that feel quite close to the challenging pace of avant-prog. This album doesn't fall short concerning these assets, but as I said before, Karcius does not replicate itself. "Episodes" comprises some new explorations related to space-rock, which in turn serves as a motive to emphasize the psychedelic factor that had already been present in preceding albums. The three sections of 'Elements' open up the album in a most revealing fashion. 'Submersion', the autonomous title of the first section, openly flirts with he dense flow of your regular spacey psychedelic rock. At first, Suriol's piano keeps things on a level of dreamy majesty, but it is only when l? Esperánce's lead guitar comes to the fore that the track meets its main body and crucial development. Things pretty much get heavy-prog, featuring an incendiary guitar lead augmented by an ominous choir mellotron. The opening motif then returns, partially capturing the increased energy. The last two minutes get very spacey, with a bass guitar riff that paves the way for the emergence of 'Sol', the second section. This one is more celebratory, elaborating a jazz-funk groove that might as well remind us of Weather Report-meets-Brand-X. Near the end, things get hardened, linked to the current era of jazz-rock. 'Combustion', the suite's third section, benefits from this particularly explicit momentum, with a first part that combines metallish riffs and Floydian environments: there is something grayish, subtly sinister about it. After the 6 minute mark, things get tighter up to the point of arriving at LTE-like territory. The epic conclusion provides a reprise of the bridge between sections 1 and 2. This suite has been simply lovely, a manifestation of the album's main virtues as a whole. 'Incident' is more patently fusion-oriented, clearly influenced by good old Return to Forever (mostly due to the Flamenco-like atmospheres), but there is also that aura of musical extravagance that sounds closer to bands such as The Lonely Bears. The piano sonata entitled 'Levant' is only 2 ½ minutes long, but that's OK since its Gershwin moods are developed in a most efficient manner. A lovely piece, indeed. In this way, the listener is prepared to listen to 'Purple King', a solid rocker in which the lead guitarist seems o pay homage to Allan Holdsworth and Jeff Beck. The progressive ornaments that go settling in allow the band to teach a lesson of prog metal even if it is not a prog metal group. There is also an organ solo very worthy of a special mention, in which we find traces of Lord's exquisiteness and Emerson's vibration. 'Purple King' can be fairly regarded as the album's zenith. 'Racine' occupies the album's last 9- minutes. This one is very much like Ozric Tentacles: starting with a white reggae vibe, later on the track shifts towards a space-rock momentum augmented with fusion touches. This is very similar to Ozric Tentacles at their most sophisticated. Ultimately, the first motive is reinstated in order to provide a cosmic relaxation with agile spacey textures. All in all, this albums doesn't equal the robustness of 2kaleidoscope", but it is not to say that this album is soft or lacking stamina. It has lots of stamina, indeed, but the band has put it in a more subtle level. Karcius still rules!

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 Sphere by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.63 | 43 ratings

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Sphere
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

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!

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 Kaleidoscope by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.23 | 26 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Karcius has to be one of the most exciting prog-jazz bands around in the current times: the sound that this ensemble from the French Canada offers to the listener is fresh and powerful, showing off its legendary influences yet shouting out its crucial modernity. "Kaleidoscope" is their sophomore release, which is a giant step in the development of musical inventiveness already exposed in their debut album. These guys really nailed it on this one, creating a strong melodic basis for their improvisations while lucidly avoiding the traps of easy-listening all the time, minute by minute, second by second. The psychedelic adornments (rough guitar phrases, mellotronic synth layers) and bizarre ornaments (chord transitions heading for the dissonant) make the band assured on this particular labor whenever they appear. Among all this progressive extravagance and all this jazzy freedom there is a genuine sense of order working in the instrumental interactions. The albums kicks of with 'Hypothèse A', a solid example of the band's capability to ordain a sequence of varied motifs into an unifying scheme, at times reminding us of a hypothetical hybrid of Gentle Giant, Return to Forever and Weather Report, with an extra dose of punch akin to modern times jazz-rock. 'Maintenant' keeps things a bit slowed down, with a featured Latin-jazz vibe in the initial section - a special mention goes to those fretless bass guitar phrases, deep and evocative. Even though there is an enhancement of the sonic energy as the track develops, the airs of mystery and relaxation prevail. 'Destination' kicks off with a solid guitar-and- organ riff that states the funk-oriented dynamics that takes place: this piece may sound to you as a mixture of Tribal Tech and Return to Forever. The Latin-jazz element reappears in many passages, in this way adding a catchy atmosphere. With 'Tunnel', things get heavier than usual (even getting a bit close to the standards of LTE and Planet X), but never as saturated as your regular jazz-prog-metal ensemble. In moments like this you have to admire these guys' capability to keep things under clear control without decreasing the punch. 'Hypothèse B' is the longest track (lasting more than 11 minutes). The piano's solemnity, the guitar's subtleties and the bass's soaring lines are combined to provide a sense of sophistication to a very sober number. A bit of tension is introduced with the use of some Frippian guitar lines along the way. The slow final section is one of the most captivating passages in the album. 'A-0-14', while retaking some of the energy of 'Tunnel', drives the music to a more experimental level: the piece's nucleus is a very bizarre Karcius snippet. The album's final minutes are occupied by 'Hypothèse C', which shows Karcius at their most bizarre, flirting with RIO (Present type, to be more specific) in the distinctive climatic passages - the piano coda states a grand finale to the album's repertoire. Once your "Kaleidoscope" listening experience is over, you can't help wonder how the band will manage to make yet another interesting album after this one: that's their challenge. Anyway, "Kaleidoscope" is an excellent addition to any good prog and/or jazz-rock collection.

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 Sphere by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.63 | 43 ratings

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Sphere
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Finnforest
Special Collaborator 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 it.you 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.

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 Kaleidoscope by KARCIUS album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.23 | 26 ratings

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Kaleidoscope
Karcius Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by arqwave

2 stars I had a very hard time tryig to get this record... You know? SECOND PARTS LOOK BETTER!!! well, lie... uhmmm. A complete dissapointment, another bunch of raw and unproduced recordings. They were trying to emulate the old 8 track jazz recordings from the "avant-garde" era: meaning "BITCHES BREW, RETURN TO FOREVER, ETC." with nothing but good feelings and an urge of time-changing with a lack of focus. The 3 fragmented pieces of HYPOTHESE are just plain rehearsals of future greater songs, period!, TUNNEL, the strongest piece of the record is an "homage" to HAWKWIND, SOFT MACHINE (OFCOURSE) AND GONG, but with a edgy metallic side that lacks of essence; the rest of the album is just an study/maquette of fusion-meets-metal with a latin taste without focus, as a showcase of how good they are performing but forgetting the songwriting. A shame from a very young band that has a great future. Just add cohesion and focus to the whole, and maybe in future releases they might surperise us with greater things. peace

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