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KINETIC ELEMENT

Neo-Prog • United States


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Kinetic Element picture
Kinetic Element biography
Founded in Richmond, USA in 2006

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" (2006). Todd Russell (guitars), Matt Harris (bass) and Michael Murray (drums) decided to join him, and this collaboration worked so well that they shortly after decided to evolve it to a band project - quickly given the name Kinetic Element. Since then they have been performing a number of live shows, and slowly but surely gotten along to record songs as well. Harris left the band in 2008, replaced by Tony D'Amato, but in October 2009 D'Amato was forced to leave the band as well, due to personal reasons.

Then Kinetic Element toured again, and was the support-act of progrock bands Circa, IZZ and Nektar. Their repertoire contained Mike's album plus classic rock and prog covers and new material, this led to the release of Kinetic Element's debut CD "Powered By Light" in 2009. It sounds like Seventies Progrock (ELP, YES, GENESIS) with the focus on vintage keyboards (with hints from TRIUMVIRAT and early LE ORME).

Meanwhile Kinetic Element released their highly acclaimed second album entitled "Travelog" in 2015 and played on the festivals ROSFest (2016) and Progtoberfest (2017).

In 2019 Kinetic Element released its third effort entitled "The Face Of Life" (also on vinyl) featuring new members are guitarist Peter MATUCHNIAK (born in Poland) and Saint John COLEMAN on vocals). In this new line-up Kinetic Element will perform on the Progstock festival (featuring bands like Saga, Brand-X, Phideaux, Nektar and the sensational Rachel Flowers), as The Late Night Event, in October 2019.

Expanded and updated by TenYearsAfter in June 2019

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

3.52 | 49 ratings
Powered By Light
2009
3.90 | 111 ratings
Travelog
2015
3.47 | 27 ratings
The Face Of Life
2019

KINETIC ELEMENT Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.18 | 6 ratings
Live from New York
2020

KINETIC ELEMENT Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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KINETIC ELEMENT Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

KINETIC ELEMENT Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Live from New York by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Live, 2020
3.18 | 6 ratings

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Live from New York
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

3 stars After three studio albums, a decision was made to record a gig at the famous venue My Father's Place in October 2019. Somewhat unsurprisingly the line-up is the same as that on the 'The Face of Life' album earlier that year, namely Mike Visaggio (piano, organ synth, harmony vocals), Saint John Coleman (vocals), Peter Matuchniak (guitar), Mark Tupko (bass) and Michael Murray (drums, harmony vocals). Now, I enjoyed the previous album, and I was looking forward to this, and in some ways, I was certainly not disappointed, while others very much so. Musically this is a complex outfit, with a rhythm section that provides multiple patterns and elements so that the two lead instruments can go off and play, although both drums and bass also push their way into the limelight when the time is right. Peter Matuchniak is one of my favourite guitarists, seemingly able to play in whatever style is required, which makes him such as in-demand session man as well as releasing his own material and in being multiple bands. Here he is allowed to really push his melodic soloing, and is relishing having a melodic foil to pitch against as Mike is keyboard player who is not afraid to take centre stage. The use of different keyboard sounds and styles also makes this for an interesting battle. So far, so good.

The issue I have is with the vocals. I have no idea if Saint John Coleman was having an off night, or if there was an equipment issue so he could not hear himself, but to me the vocals are sharp throughout the whole performance. This means that when it is just the band (and there are plenty of lengthy instrumental sections) I have one opinion of the album, and when he is singing, I have another which is quite different. This is a real shame, as musically this is a great release, yet I cannot look past that. However, like every review I ever write, this is just my opinion and others may not share that view, but I would suggest this is one to listen to before purchase. If you like the vocals, you will find this to be an amazing release and one you should seek out.

 Powered By Light by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.52 | 49 ratings

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Powered By Light
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

4 stars One of the issues of being known as a reviewer, plus also taking some years out of the scene to concentrate on collating some books, is that material can build up. In the end I decided to keep up to date with the most recent material and delve into the older material when I had time. Due to multiple reasons neither of these approaches have worked, and I now find myself in a position where I still have albums to review which were sent to me years ago as well as being somewhat behind on the more recent albums (although I have committed to reviewing every single album ever sent to me). One way of slowly dealing with this is that when I am sent an album by a band, and I have yet to review the old one, then I do both at once. That is what has happened here, as I am pretty sure keyboard player/singer Mike Visaggio sent this to me nearly 7 years ago but given I have recently received the new live release, I dug this out of the vaults and put it into the pile, which led me to discover this is a real delight and I definitely should have played it sooner!

This was the debut album from the quartet, released in 2009, and as well as Mike features Todd Russell (guitars), Tony D'Amato (bass) and Michael Murray (drums, backing vocals). There have been quite a few changes in the band over the years since then, and only Mike and Michael are still involved. I have no idea why there was a six-year gap between this and the second album, 'Travelog', but during that period a decision was made for Mike to drop lead vocals and concentrate on keyboards, which to my mind is a shame as vocally he is very strong indeed. This album is built around the keyboards, and I found myself having internal debates as to whether this section or that sounded more like Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, as his use of Mellotron is reminiscent of both. There are times when the music does sounds as if could have come from the Seventies, that is mostly due to the keyboard sounds being deployed, and for the most part this is a very modern sounding album indeed. The keyboards and use of piano are indeed evocative of Procol Harum, yet there are also plenty of others when it is more like 3 or a fresher Flower Kings.

Melodic and incredibly accessible, this is progressive music which has much in common with classical in the way some of the keyboard string arrangements are set, and one can imagine songs such as "Peace of Mind, Peace of Heart" having a major live presence, building from an emotional keyboard-led vocal into something far funkier and more dynamic. Overall, this is an incredibly polished and enjoyable progressive rock album which just gets better the more it is played.

 Live from New York by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Live, 2020
3.18 | 6 ratings

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Live from New York
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars US band KINETIC ELEMENT are fast approaching their 15th anniversary as a band unit, with composer and band leader Mike Visaggio the constant in this band and with other members coming and going a bit over the years. Following three studio albums and a growing amount of acclaim, as well as a line-up that appears to have solidified, it was decided that Kinetic Element were due for their first live album in 2020. The CD is simply called "Live From New York", and was released through US label Melodic Revolution Records.

Kinetic Element has become a rather popular band in some circles among fans of 70's era symphonic progressive rock, and the musicians deliver a quality performance here that will please fans of bands such as Camel, Genesis and Yes quite a bit. The vocals will be very much the one element that will make this live album a hit or a miss though, and while my experience is that this is a detrimental aspect of this live album others may feel otherwise. Hence this is very much a case of try before you buy, to see whether or not you enjoy Kinetic Element as of 2020 and then the vocals here in particular. For those who enjoy the lead vocals, this albums will most likely be regarded as quite the nice little gem, especially if you know and love you retro-oriented progressive rock. For people like myself that cannot overlook the vocal aspect of this album this is a production that probably won't be all that interesting.

 Live from New York by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Live, 2020
3.18 | 6 ratings

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Live from New York
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by Scottington

4 stars I have been a fan of Prog for many years, going all the way back to early Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, and Tull in the 70's I only recently became aware of Kinetic Element's music, and it instantly struck a chord in me. I hooked up n Messager with founder Mike Visaggio somehow earlier this year, and checked out the band's third studio album, Travelog, on Apple Music. I heard so many sounds and influences that brought me way back to my early prog fandom. I subsequently bought a bundle of all of the studio albums. There is a progression in them as the composition and production improved, but each album stands on it's own.

When guitarist Peter Metuchiak joined for the most recent studio album, there was an added element of precision. Each musician is excellent on their craft.

Live From New York is a must for all prog fan's collections. It contains songs from a few of the studio albums, plus a preview of a song that will be included on their next studio effort, which is already in progress. The technical prowess of each musician will keep you engaged as you listen. Get this release!

 Live from New York by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Live, 2020
3.18 | 6 ratings

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Live from New York
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by alainPP

3 stars KINETIC ELEMENT is a group made up of 5 members who must have listened a lot to the progressive dinosaurs such as YES, ELP and a little behind GENESIS but especially GENTLE GIANT; more recently it is especially DELUGE GRANDER, SPOCK'S BEARD or FLOWER KINGS that remind me of it. This live includes two tracks from their 2nd and 3rd CD, plus a new one. The titles are long, with drawers, a little messy because going quickly from rooster to donkey; the compositions are very beautiful but lack that little something that would bring them to the front of the major groups. A very good tribute group which composed beautiful music and which takes pleasure in playing it, a good group with a small defect in the voice too monotonous in my opinion to delight and keep the attendance of a sound debauchery. The 5 titles will take you to the sound of the 70's, updated yes, but without much creation because ultimately content to re-translate again and again the phonic sensations of a long time ago. A bit of a shame, some grandiose, symphonic passages mingling with others that are too linear and agreed.
 The Face Of Life by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 27 ratings

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The Face Of Life
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

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.

 The Face Of Life by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 27 ratings

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The Face Of Life
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

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, IZZ and Nektar. Their repertoire contained Mike's album plus classic rock and prog covers and new material, this led to the release of Kinetic Element's debut CD Powered By Light in 2009. I wrote this many years ago about that debut CD: 'If you like Seventies Progrock (ELP, Yes, Genesis) with the focus on vintage keyboards (like Triumvirat and early Le Orme), this is an album to check out.' Meanwhile Kinetic Element released their highly acclaimed second album entitled Travelog in 2015 (I am not familiar with this effort), played on the festivals ROSFest (2016) and Progtoberfest (2017) and released a new album in 2019, named The Face Of Life (also on vinyl). New members are guitarist Peter Matuchniak (born in Poland) and Saint John Coleman on vocals). In this new line-up Kinetic Element will perform on the Progstock festival (featuring bands like Saga, Brand-X, Phideaux, Nektar and the sensational Rachel Flowers), as The Late NIght Event, in October 2019.

In the first composition Epistle newbie Saint John Coleman immediately puts his mark on the music with his distinctive voice: slightly theatrical and often a bit high pitched. His omnipresent voice turns Kinetic Elements sound more into song-oriented melodic rock. But in the instrumental parts symphonic rock reigns, these musicians can play, and know their classics (Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant)!

In the following two epic, 24-carat symphonic rock rooted compositions All Open Eyes and the titletrack singer Saint John lacks a bit power in the more dynamic parts, in which we can enjoy a growling bass, powerful drums, fiery electric guitar and sumptuous Hammond layers, this is strong Old School prog, especially Yes. But also Spock's Beard and Glasshammer (no coincidence that Babb and Schendel did the mixing) come to my mind: a Seventies prog inspired sound featuring many instrumental interludes, loaded with shifting moods, from mellow with tender piano to bombastic outbursts with sensational Minimoog flights.

Mike does a great job with his outstanding work on piano, organ and synthesizers (including wonderful Mellotron samples on the Alesis), and Peter embellishes the music with tasteful and powerful guitar contributions.

The final two tracks Last Words and Lost Words (a bonus track) are short mellow pieces with warm piano work and Saint John his dreamy vocals, now close to Jon Anderson in his angelic range.

It's remarkable how different the prog reviewers on the Internet write about new singer Saint John, for him it looks like 'to be hailed or to be nailed, that's the question'. So please check out their excellent website, listen to the samples, then make your final judgement. Apart from some critical remarks about Saint John his vocals, I am very pleased with this very solid Old School symphonic rock.

My rating: 3,5 star.

This review was recently published in a slightly different version on the Dutch progrock website Background Magazine.

 The Face Of Life by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 27 ratings

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The Face Of Life
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

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!

 The Face Of Life by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 27 ratings

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The Face Of Life
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

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.

 The Face Of Life by KINETIC ELEMENT album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.47 | 27 ratings

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The Face Of Life
Kinetic Element Neo-Prog

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.

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino (w/ TenYearsAfter) for the last updates

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