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




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 153 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Even if Proto Kaw has not so many things to do with Kansas, the band is attracting many Kansas fans who believe they will see another incarnation of this good band. Yours truly is one of these since '74 (I mean a Kansas fan).

Now, to be honest, this is more a Livgren affair in terms of song writing and the input of someone of the calibre of Walsh is obviously lacking to reach the heights of the great "Kansas" (which means their early years of course).

One of the most Kansas songs of all (but I admit that one shouldn't be too much attracted by these similarities) is Axolotl. At times it is almost a rip-off from the great "Song For America" (the track). And this one is almost on par: symphonic, powerful, bombastic and melodic. It has it all. Fluting is extremely enjoyable and all these elements make it easily the best track available on this record.

"Before Became After" already started on the good mood with a fine and melodic funky-rocking "Alt More Words Than Known". Whereas the violin play was a great Kansas asset, it is replaced with some superb fluting here. Still, this song is flirting with the heavy sounds and those orchestrations are a bit invading IMO.

The same feeling applies during Leaven which features the best vocal part from this album. It is a very good exercise from Lynn Meredith and when it is combined to some sweet (but short) fluting I am very pleased to listen to this. But there are also some more disturbing and heavy moments in here. A vociferating sax even draws this track into the VDGG mood.

The funky cacophony of "Quantum Leapfrog" definitely won't lead this album to the masterpiece status. I far much prefer their sound while they come up with a nice song as Gloriana: full of tact and featuring plenty of symphonic beauty. This song is a fine travel through the repertoire of some good old prog giants (Genesis, VDGG, Tull and even Kansas; would you believe!). It is a pretty diverse song, but again these synths orchestrations were not all that necessary.

If you would like to listen to some Supertramp oriented song, "The Occasion of Your Honest Dreaming" is the one for you. But not for me (although I like the Tramp quite a lot, this is not the problem). There is also one very special song featured on this album: It Moves You. It hesitates between painful vocals and a great guitar part. When I listen to this track, I am often keen on pressing the magic key. But since I know that there is a great guitar solo little later, I just have the whole song played most of the time.

If you are into ELP, there are many chances that the pompous "Theophany" will be smooth to your ears.

In all, this is a good album. It doesn't sound very personal to my ears; it definitely borrows a lot to many bands we all love. Three stars.

ZowieZiggy | 3/5 |


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