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Proto-Kaw - Before Became After CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 153 ratings

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Heavy Prog Team
4 stars A bunch of 'old' rockers playing 'new' music.

This is a reminder of how good rock music can be. Kerry Livgren gathered the PROTO-KAW 'bunch' of old friends and co-musicians and decided to bring energy from the past; and he achieved that to a great extent! The result is an attractive mixture of classic rock and progressive with a touch of rockin' blues, jazz fusion and classical music. The influences of the band mainly derive from the 70's and you can hear tunes that remind of Jethro Tull, Genesis, Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult and Kansas. The way the guitar work is blended with flute, saxophone, hammond and keyboards is exceptional.

Right from the start, you are surprised with 'Alt. More Worlds Than Known', which, on a classic rock background, unleashes the beauty of classical music influences with the keyboards and flute contributing to the atmosphere. 'Words of Honor' starts as a rock 'ballad' that pays tribute to the past with emotional vocals and progresses to brilliant prog tunes with Ian Anderson standing somewhere around the corner watching. I can see why 'Leaven' appeals to most reviewers as the best track; a powerful song with many variations throughout (from symphonic to heavy prog), with melodic pianos and a great vocal performance from Lynn Meredith.

The flute yet again makes the difference in 'Axolotl', where, in the most powerful refrain, influences from the mighty Kansas are unveiled, maintaining the high standards of songwriting. The first jazzy track of the record is 'Quantum Leapfrog' where the band seems to jam (quite effectively indeed) all the way through, ending with a hard rockin' break and a return to the initial melody. Rockin' start for 'Greenburg.' with a blues and Purple feeling that does not really impress. 'Gloriana' brings back some of the glory of the initial songs, with a flute melody that will stick into your mind. The music is not great, but flows well with many variations.

'Occasion of your Honest Dreaming' could have easily been an Alan Parsons-Eye in the Sky-Ammonia Avenue-period track, highlighting 80's keyboards; clearly the weakest track of the album, which does not fit well with the rest. Powerful heavy prog comeback with 'Heavenly Man' (a personal favourite) that brings back vivid memories from the best Wishbone Ash and Uriah Heep eras. 'Theophany' represents the perfect ending with many symphonic prog elements (Genesis and Kansas) and very attractive saxophone intervals. The record ends with jamming (!) showing the amounts of energy these people still have inside them.

This is for the romantics of prog (well, not only for them), an attempt for a return to the roots through inventing new paths, new music. With the exception of 'Greenburg.', 'Gloriana' and 'Occasion of your honest dreaming', the rest are moments that will not be easily forgotten by a careful listener. Besides 'Alt. More Worlds Than Known' and 'Leaven', 'Axolotl' and 'Heavenly Man' are highly recommended, but remember to treat this album in respect. and you shall be rewarded!

'.One man's journey, carries him away from the light of day.'

aapatsos | 4/5 |


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