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Kansas - Kansas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.99 | 591 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Violin symphonic prog rocks!

In the first half of the seventies, not many American bands dared enter the progressive world well occupied by the British elders. Originating from country, boogie and southern hard rock, what kind of music could KANSAS possibly propose to enter this particular sphere? Well, as we will see, a lot of refreshing ideas, resembling no other at the time.

The opening song "Can I Tell You" is a catchy and energetic tune that set the tone for the rest of the album and really rocks! "Bringing It Back" is a nice boosted up cover of a JJ Cale's song, where the violin replaces the harmonica of the original version. In contrast, the melancholic "Lonely Wind" sounds a little cheesy. Fortunately, "Belexes" is here to wake you up. Written by Kerry Livgren in 1972, this slightly progressive hard country rock is dynamic and powerful! Its arrangements resemble URIAH HEEP by moments. One of the best songs of the disc! Then comes the first genuine progressive track of the record, the 8 minutes "Journey From Mariabronn". A colorful and changing suite, with heroic and touching moments and a wonderful finale! Very cool, despite dated keyboards sonorities.

The soft "The Pilgrimage" may be not as remarkable as the other tracks, but remains nonetheless enjoyable. "Aperçu" and "Death of Mother Nature" form a single 17 minutes long suite. The first track adopts a symphonic rock style which can remind YES at times. Typically progressive, it features rhythms changes, powerful and melancholic passages. Furthermore, the ending rocks! Brilliant. With its hard rock / early 70's metal tones, "Death Of Mother Nature Suite" is darker. Also cool, but contains a few lengthy moments.

Not as progressive as the next albums, KANSAS' debut is already promising and remains my favorite from Walsh and co. Maybe because it's their rock-iest effort, however also because it delivers an original mixture that was not done yet back then: energetic country/hard rock with violin with some complexity. The band possessed refreshing musical ingredients, but still searched itself. Typically North-American, this is no majestic symphonic prog like YES or GENESIS, it does not transport you into enchanted or fairytale worlds, but the music is dynamic and has lots of innovative ideas to offer. An underrated opus, maybe too progressive for Americans at the time, and not enough for the English, where the genre was already well established.

Anyway, progheads should be wrong not to give this record a listen. The one to start with for hard rock fans. After, the band will incorporate more keyboards in their compositions. One of KANSAS' best albums!

Modrigue | 4/5 |


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