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KNIGHT AREA

Neo-Prog • Netherlands


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Knight Area biography
It may sound odd, but KNIGHT AREA have been an entity for around 20 years; however, 2004 was when people started to really hear and understand them as a band.

Gerben Klazinga, the primary creative force of the band, almost single handedly put together what would be KNIGHT AREA'S debut, The Sun Also Rises. The time until 2003, he operated with a variety of musicians to sort out his musical ideas. Mark Smit (MIRACLE) carried out the leading vocals, Peter van Heijningen and Jeroen Hogenboom (ex-SANGAMO) played the (lead) guitars and Ron van der Bas (what's in a name) from Toyz and the Rickenbacker-wizard Gijs Koopman (ex-CLIFFHANGER) performed the bass parts. Mark van Nieuwenhuizen (ex-SANGAMO) carried out some drum parts. Musical mates like Vincent Frijdal for the acoustic guitar parts and Arjan Groenendijk for the power chord parts helped out in constructing the basic arrangements. Stephanie Lagrande as well donated her talents to the album. Brother Joop is also present with his flute, lyrics and some co-production labor. A concept centering around a boy who is in search for his identity (to some extent an autobiographical saga). Experiences are abundant with a few trials and tribulations; nevertheless he succeeds in discovering a vigorous way to cope with his emotions. The debut was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews, thus the band began on a very positive note and even rewarded them with an invite to Nearfest in 2005.

Rather than being essentially a one-man project, the main change to note on this sophomore effort, Under A New Sign, is that KNIGHT AREA are now a 'proper' seven-piece band; this obviously helps give a sense of cohesiveness to proceedings, as well as making it possible for the band to establish themselves as a live act. Carrying on in the spirit of the debut, Under A New Sign (2007) possesses the classic neo progressive characteristics that pays homage to mainstays like Pendragon and IQ. Lush keyboards, whirling song structures that reminds one of 70's Kansas at times, KNIGHT AREA not only did not disappoint, but probably won over new fans and promises to keep producing consistent neo prog that one day could have them mentioned in the same breath with legends of the subgenre.

Eric Walker

Knight Area official website

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Sun Also RisesSun Also Rises
Laser's Edge 2004
Audio CD$12.36
$9.98 (used)
Realm of ShadowsRealm of Shadows
LASER'S EDGE GROUP 2009
Audio CD$9.40
$8.05 (used)
Nine PathsNine Paths
Laser's Edge 2011
Audio CD$10.60
$8.99 (used)
Under a New SignUnder a New Sign
Laser's Edge 2007
Audio CD$10.52
$9.95 (used)
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KNIGHT AREA discography


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

3.94 | 127 ratings
The Sun Also Rises
2004
3.85 | 144 ratings
Under A New Sign
2007
3.70 | 106 ratings
Realm of Shadows
2009
3.61 | 75 ratings
Nine Paths
2011

KNIGHT AREA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.98 | 25 ratings
Rising Signs From The Shadows
2011

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KNIGHT AREA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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

2.96 | 5 ratings
Between Two Steps
2013

KNIGHT AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Between Two Steps by KNIGHT AREA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.96 | 5 ratings

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Between Two Steps
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
Special Collaborator Rock Progressivo Italiano Team

3 stars A pleasant little stop-gap disc between albums for Neo Prog band Knight Area, `Between Two Spaces' is comprised of some radio edits, re-recordings made to highlight the addition of a new guitarist and bass player, and unreleased tracks, and it makes for an ideal 5 track introduction for new listeners of this great band. I have quite a lot of time and love for the group, their 2007 album `Under A New Sign' being one of my favourite modern Neo albums, an endlessly melodic near 5 star classic to my ears, with the follow-ups' `Realm of Shadows' and `Nine Paths' also keeping up the high standard. This disc is an inexpensive way to sample the work of the band for newcomers, as well as a pleasing collection of tunes to enjoy as a background listen for everyone else.

With a riff-heavy opening and middle, `Bubble' is a poppy blast that still shows the band playing in the heavier end of Neo Prog without ever being hard enough to be confused for metal. A pleasing chorus, aggressive thick chunky bass and an up-tempo whirling synth solo in the final minute that will have you smiling as soon as it hits! Punchy, direct and catchy, the melody even recalls some of Glass Hammer's more joyous pop moments. `Forever Now' is a dashing call to arms, a frantic rocker overloaded with spiky time-changes and an exhausting variety of schizophrenic instrumental flourishes considering it's barely four minute running time. `This Day' is a soothing AOR ballad highlighted with gentle floating synths and a grand heartfelt extended guitar solo. `Dreamweaver' have been given a crunchier heavy 80's hard rock sound, the synths and bass sounding closer to German proggers Eloy, the vocals now have a glossier makeover and there's some nice tip-toeing suspenseful piano. `Xerenity' is a stirring and uplifting guitar-led instrumental to end the disc on, not unlike some of the more positive Pendragon flights, although at two minutes it's far too short!

Don't worry about the short 23 minute running time of this one, as the Neo genre has numerous small gems with a reduced length that still stand up as nice surprises in their own right - Pendragon's `Fly High Fall Far' and the two Arena releases `Contagious' and `Contagium' instantly come to mind. This great little EP will hopefully encourage listeners will look into any of the wonderful bigger and better proper full-length albums from this great Neo Prog band, and it also promises more exciting work to come from the rejuvenated line up.

Three stars.

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 Nine Paths by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.61 | 75 ratings

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Nine Paths
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 3.5 for sure

Nine Path is the forth album of this already well known band from Holland. Released in 2011 they keep the same formula in composing and aswell line-up remained stable , a very good thing because this way they've always offer solid albums with plenty of memorable passages. This album is almost no diffrent then the predecesors, maybe in places they metalized a little thir sound, the combination of neo prog with almost prog metal is very efficient here, example is Summerland , the beggining of the tune sounds almost like Dream Theater. Very good are the instrumental sections like on The river, great keyboards from Gerben Klazinga, the instrumental Pride and joy is another winner for sure. All in all a worthy album for sure, but I don't think is their best, personaly I like most their second release Under a new sign followed by Realm of shadows, this one Nine path is very close. A solid and quite typical Knight Area album. 3.5 stars is best I can give.

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 Realm of Shadows by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 106 ratings

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Realm of Shadows
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I was very favourably impressed by Knight Area's debut album, and whilst I didn't think their followup quite matched up to it, it came very, very close. On Realm of Shadows, however, the band's musical development seems to stall. The production sounds a bit flatter and less spacious than the previous two albums, and the band's Arena-inspired sound seems to lack inspiration and spark this time around. It's a good enough listen, but when set next to the band's previous efforts it feels as though they're going through the motions and not really evolving their sound very much. Still, if you're a fan it'll be a fun enough listen.

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 Under A New Sign by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.85 | 144 ratings

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Under A New Sign
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars The huge success of the debut pushed Gerben Klazinga to gather a group of musicians, so Knight Area could perform live.The first gig in Holland was followed by performances in France, Germany, Belgium, highlighted by the participation at the 2005 Nearfest.Step by step Knight Area grew into a normal band.Mark Smit was now the permanent singer and former Cliffhanger Gijs Koopman (bass) and Rinie Huigen (guitars) brought some needed experience in the prog league.What more reasonable for Knight Area to record a second full-length album.''Under a New Sign'' was finally released in 207 on Laser's Edge.

Little seems to have changed regarding the style of the band.The trademarks of the debut are still present: A crystalline production, a rich and modern symphonic sound and plenty of bombastic parts.The band, obviously influenced by the modern Neo Prog approach of ARENA and PENDRAGON, sounds a bit heavier than on ''The sun also rises'', evolving into metal-like passages with strong guitar riffs.But the overall approach remains typical of the Dutch Neo/Symphonic Rock school.Among the familiar and grandiose synthesizer flights Mr. Klazinga throws in a good amount of Mellotron waves and organ runs, indicating Knight Area are still grounded on the Classic Prog field despite their ultra-modern sound.Guitars range from these powerful energetic leads to nice and sensitive almost FLOYD-ian soloing.And the band always keep a great momentum throughout the album between melody and heaviness.Knight Area's music seems to contain it all: From pleasant melodies to virtuosic solos and from huge symphonic passages to dramatic vocal offerings.Lack of personality is definitely an issue, as their sound cannot escape from the sound of the Neo Prog legends such as IQ, ARENA and MARILLION.

Quality musicianship by a group of talented Dutch musicians.Well-crafted, well-performed and sufficiently inspirational, ''Under a New Sign'' has plenty to offer to fans of contemporary Prog with enough retro setbacks.Strongly reccomended, and even more if you can't get enough of the style...3.5 stars.

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 Under A New Sign by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.85 | 144 ratings

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Under A New Sign
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Knight Area's Under a New Sign finds the band experimenting a little with diversifying the synth- heavy Arena-influenced neo-prog sound of their debut album. Perhaps the most notable departure from this approach is Courteous Love, an epic love song with fairly minimal (by Knight Area's standards) keyboard interventions until the end. Their take on a love song crossed with ELP's Lucky Man, maybe? Either way, that's about as far from their comfort zone as they drift this time around; overall, I'd say the material on the album isn't quite as strong as on the debut, but it's still a very interesting listen thanks to the slightly increased diversity of the music.

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 The Sun Also Rises by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.94 | 127 ratings

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The Sun Also Rises
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Knight Area's debut album is a dark and intoxicating slab of neo-prog reminiscent of a fusion of the likes of Arena and post-Ever IQ. What particularly impresses me is that despite not really having a consistent lineup on any of the songs - at this stage Knight Area was pretty much a Gerben Klazinga solo project with a small army of guest musicians helping out - there's a very consistent and coherent style from song to song, a testament both to Gerben's songwriting and to the careful production job the album benefits from. On the whole, most fans of neo-prog will welcome Knight Area as a brand new band playing a fairly purist style of neo-prog at the highest levels of accomplishment.

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 Nine Paths by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.61 | 75 ratings

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Nine Paths
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Menswear
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Prog Rock for Noobs.

Knight Area's in what I call 'The Little League' of prog rock. Not complicated, not about pyrotechnics; it's about a catchy art cover, it's about a good song, not too long, topped with loud keyboards. Now, they've crossed the threshold of double bass drums and rockier moments. But again, Knight Area is a band that is not taking chances and not really evolving from their (way too easy to spot) influences. Am I gullible?

No. Not this time. They are serving us the same clichés of late 70's (again that Trick of the Tale album!), but this time the few good hooks and solos are not giving me the need to come back on that train.

Easy to digest, often AOR, this album made me take the decision of not renewing my prescription by this Dutch band. Not a bad album by all means, but too light and simple for my taste. I've been this road on the debut of my seeking journey, and I'm not coming back for them.

I'm Out with a capital O but I wish them well.

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 Nine Paths by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.61 | 75 ratings

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Nine Paths
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 'Nine Paths' - Knight Area (8/10)

Despite 'Nine Paths' being their fourth studio release to date, I have never heard of Knight Area before, and this album has proved to be something of an introduction for me to the group's music. This melodic trend in prog rock has been around for quite a while, and as any dedicated progger will tell you; there is a wide range of opinions that fans have about this. All the same, Knight Area approaches their sound confidently, and churns out an impressive batch of songs, or 'paths' here.

A lively performance and diverse host of songwriting makes 'Nine Paths' a rather consistently enjoyable album from start to finish. 'Ever Since You Killed Me' introduces Knight Area in a very complimentary fashion; they introduce the album with a powerful 'overture' that frames the rest of the album beautifully. From the start, Knight Area's greatest strength is clear, that being their performance. In particular, something that makes Knight Area stand out from the legions of other neo-prog acts is the drumming. Pieter van Hoorn's use of the double kick would probably sound more comfortable in a metal setting, but it works so well underneath the melodic synths and upbeat guitars. Throughout the album, the lead guitar is given a few moments to shine, taking the more conventional route via solos, which manage to impress. The least apparent display of Knight Area's excellence are the vocals of Mark Smit, whose first expression minutes into 'Ever Since You Killed Me' made me think this was another fairly run-of-the-mill vocalist of the genre. 'Please Come Home' and the epic 'Angel's Call' indicate otherwise however, with his voice hitting beautiful notes and inducing chills.

Their strength of performance taken into regard, Knight Area's music is still none too original. They do seem to move between quite a few moods and directions within the album, but all of these aspects feel a little too derivative for me. Instrumentally, much of this album screams Marillion, or even Dream Theater's debut. Alas, Knight Area's lack of 'newness' is quite disappointing, considering their great skill and talent as musicians. In terms of actual enjoyment however, I do not believe this hurts the actual appreciation of the music, and I am left with a powerful experience that I will certainly return to, even if it does not seek to shock me.

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 Nine Paths by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.61 | 75 ratings

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Nine Paths
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by memowakeman
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars A great album, follow its path!

This is the fourth studio album by Dutch neo-progressive band Knight Area, an album that I suggest listening to at least three times, in order to have a true good experience. It comprises nine compositions and a total time of one hour of high quality music. Don't prejudge about the musical genre (Neo), you better listen to it and then tell me what you think.

The first track is "Ever Since You Killed Me"; what a title for the opener track, and what an opener track. This is actually the longest song of the album, a challenging composition with a fabulous bass sound and a hypnotizing keyboard touch. The first three minutes are intense and bombastic, then the track slows down, the voice enters and a mellow guitar repeats its acoustic notes, while the electric contributes with a disarming sound. This rhythm continues until the sixth minute, and then an emotional sound appears. This is a fantastic track!

"Summerland" starts with a bombastic sound full of keyboards, with constant drums, softer bass notes and accurate guitars. A couple of minutes later vocals enter, and this time I would not praise them, because in moments the track reminds me to some 80s hard rock bands (I repeat, just in moments).The song is pretty nice overall, with good changes in time and mood. Nice piano sound after five minutes and a wonderful guitar riff in the last minute.

"Please Come Home" is a ballad-like track, with a charming sound and the guest female voice of Charlotte Wessels. The song is pretty catchy, easily enjoyable, and with a nice guitar solo in the final part. "Clueless" is another short track with a catchy sound. This is not a ballad like the previous, but it has an easy structure, with a chorus to sing and a total neo- prog sound. Not bad at all, I actually like it a lot, but it surely is not their best composition.

"The River" starts very interesting but after a minute it slows down, creating a mellow and gentle sound, with cool bass notes and great keyboards, as usual. Though the structure may be repetitive, it is actually addictive, so you will easily feel part of the track. After five minutes there is a long keyboard passage in which you can imagine a lot of things, like being on a trip, flying or something like that. The song finishes just as it begun. Great one!

"Pride and Joy" is the shortest track. A fast and adventurous instrumental song with cool guitar and keyboard solos, good drums and repetitive but hypnotizing bass lines. I love Gijs Koopman bass style. With "The Balance" I realized that the voice has a similar style to Frank Bornemann (Eloy), though the band's sound has actually nothing to do with it. The first part of this track is not really my favorite, I feel it repetitive and even empty, very organic; but after three and a half minutes when keyboards appear it gives a new direction, louder, more emotional, much more interesting. The final three minutes are worth repeating.

"Wakerun" is a great track that should be easily loved by neo-prog fans. I love that intercalation between keyboard and guitars, and how that bass sound cannot pass unnoticed. Just before the third minute, the song makes a sudden change, introducing acoustic guitar, keyboard as background, drums and then bass. The sound and rhythm are increasing little by little, creating a wonderful and captivating passage, in which we will listen to adventurous and exciting music.

The album finishes with "Angel's Call", which is another long and challenging composition. It starts with a delicate piano which seconds later is joined by guitar. After two minutes there is a second of stillness, and then a new sound is being developed, with the same piano, voice and a synth as background creating a baleful atmosphere. Later the song changes once again, the sound increases for moments, but only in order to slow down again. The acoustic guitar is pretty good, and the bass always wonderful. The song has a mixture of elements, rhythms and emotions, it is really rich in every sense. A great way to finish this excellent album!

Knight Area's new album is a must have for neo-prog fans, and a recommendation to any progressive rock follower; though it is not a flawless album, it has wonderful moments, well-crafted songs that I truly enjoyed, that is why my final grade will be four stars.

Enjoy it!

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 Nine Paths by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.61 | 75 ratings

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Nine Paths
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Knight Area is one of those bands that had a kind of humble start, with a good, but a bit immature and derivative debut CD. But what seemed initially to be a second league group did grow and fulfilled the initial promise like very few other artists did. So much so I was wondering if they could keep the pace, since their last two albums were quite impressive, specially the powerful live double set Rising Signs From The Shadows (2010). So I approoached Nine Paths with great care and tried not to expect too much. Fortunatly I found out I had nothing to fear. This dutch band is definitly at their best moment and this is Kinght Areaás best album so far.

Since the very first moments I heard from the 10 minute opener Eversince You Killed Me I had the feeling I was listening to one of those brilliant records you only find rarely. It is ok that this group is surely the "song oriented" kind of prog, but I see nothing wrong with it. Much on the contrary. I don´t like pointless experimentalisms or too much noodling. Here you can see the musicians are good, but they are also fine songwriters and team players. They use their fine technique for the sake of the music, not to show off. And it is not everyday you hear such fine collection of tunes that are at the same time pleasant, melodic and powerful. Every song on Nine Paths is perfect: not a single note is wasted, everything fits right in. The arrangements are tasteful, the guitar and keys timbres are great and their songwriting skills are simply awesome. The CD is also helped by the excellent production.

There are no highlights on the album. Those guys were inspired! It is one of those records you can hear from start to finish without skipping a single moment. All the tracks are excellent, without exception. Even the simple love ballad Please Come Home (with Delains´singer Charlotte Wessels guesting on vocals) is done with such care and feeling you can not help but love it. Alongside with their dutch fellows of Flamborough Head, Knight Area is probably one of the bands that has evolved the most both as a group and as songwriters. And, more important, they have found their very own sound. Nowadays they sound like no one else.

If you like progressive rock like it used to be (i.e. complex and elaborated, yet accessible and melodic), Nine Paths is an excellent pick. One of the best records from 2011.

Final ratings: 4,5 stars

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