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Karmakanic - Who's the Boss in the Factory? CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.06 | 482 ratings

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5 stars Talking about Karmakanic we cannot ignore the existence of bands like The Flower Kings and The Tangent as they all actually big family. As far as The Flower Kings concern one of the musicians that I admire his skills is Jonas Reingold (bass guitar). In The Flower Kings he has played his bass guitar wonderfully and in fact he is one of the best prog rock bass players of the 90's and 2000's. Well, the third rebirth of progressive rock was quite impressive with bands like Spock's Beard, Porcupine Tree, Transatlantic in addition to The Flower Kings. The interesting thing about Jonas Reingold was that during his spare time he composed music and joined forces with Roine Stolt, Jaime Salazar, Zoltan Csörz, Johan Glössner, Göran Edman, Robert Engstrand and Tomas Bodin, all prominent members of the progressive rock family. Karmakanic was born with good debut album 'Entering the Spectra' (2002) followed with 'Wheel of Life' (2004).

This third album titled as 'Who's The Boss In The Factory' (2008) represents the best release so far. It sounds to me that the band has been perfecting their compositions learning from their previous two releases. The beauty of prog music is when we previously had an album that was not quite impressive and later on we find another excellent release of the band we try to trace back the older albums. That comes true with me as I spin this album and I start to have curiosity with its previous release 'Wheel of Life' which when I re-spin the CD again I have another perspective about the band. In general, Karmakanic I could say is the prominent prog rock band of the 2000s as this album proves to me.

Do not try to understand, just enjoy it ...!

For me, this album is quite hard to understand and it reminds me to when I first enjoyed Yes 'Tales from Topographic Ocean' for the first time in the 70's. I think I spun until more than 5 times and I still did not get it quite right in my ears, so was the case with 'Topographic'. Then I remember with The Flower Kings 'Paradox Hotel' where I experienced similar thing. I felt that I was being 'topgrahicized' by Jonas Reingold and his friends. But when I tried to enjoy the music segment by segment I found the treasure on how great Reingold's bass playing in any segment I paid particular attention to. Not only that ?Zoltan Csorsz's drums as well as Lalle Larsson's keyboard playing. And I then tried to shift my paradigm from trying to understand the music to just enjoy it.

The major cause is I think because the opening track 'Send A Message From The Heart' is an epic that does not sound quite catchy at first spin and it took me many spins to be able to enjoy it. The track that consumes more than 19 minutes duration has practically little orientation towards a song because it changes unexpectedly in medium to fast tempo. Melody-wise there is nothing peculiar that I can draw from the epic but when I look into segment by segment movement it started to create an enjoyment to me and it really grew on me. And .. well, yeah .. I finally really love this opening track and its powerful lyrics. The ending part of this epic sounds like the epic continues to Roine Stolte's debut album titled 'The Flower King'. I think the band did it intentionally.

When the band plays the next track 'Let In Hollywood' (4:53), it does not really favor me especially the intro part that comprises acoustic guitar rhythm in fast tempo with energetic vocal line by Göran Edman. Unfortunately it's not something that creates enjoyment to my ears. But as the song moves I like the way keyboard plays its solo in the vein of Chick Corea in 'Return to Forever'. On top of that, the guitar solo is stunning and rockin' ?

The title track 'Who's the Boss In The Factory' (13:04) is another great track with intro part which starts with lyrical words 'One by One ?step by step' has similar style with Roger Water's 'What God Wants' in 'Amused to Death' album. I think the band was not aware of it and it does not quite bother me at all. This song is quite unique as it blends beautifully the components of symphonic prog with jazz rock fusion style like Chick Corea's 'Return to Forever' band. I can see clearly through the piano work by Larsson where he provides nice shot during the musical break where plays catchy notes softly and it moves wonderfully into jazzy music where piano takes the lead as soloist. Not only piano that sounds nicely, the guitar solo is truly stunning and rockin' reminds me to the guitar sound typically played by Mick Box of Uriah Heep fame.

'Two Blocks From The Edge' (9:51) starts mellow in the Floydian ambient through the use of guitar solo. The song moves with saxophone as soloist as well as rhythm section at background when vocal enters. The song features nice bass guitar solo in the middle of the song. I am really impressed with Reingold even though he does not play complex bass guitar solo but the sound is really great especially when it continues with guitar and sax solo. Acoustic guitar also creates good texture combined with stunning electric guitar solo by Krister Jonsson who plays in different style compared to Roine Stolt.

The closing tracks 'Eternally Part I' (1:51) and 'Eternally Part II' (6:21) make an excellent closure to this album, overall. With the first part focusing on piano solo in classical and jazzy style, it opens a great gateway to the next final track, Part II. Part II is a wonderful track with great combination of bass guitar solo and piano touch back beautifully by string arrangement. Bass guitar plays as main melody while piano creates fills strengthened by string section. When vocal line enters it sounds jazzy style with clarinet serves as filler at back ground. It's a mellow track with great clarinet / soprano sax solo and excellent piano playing.


If I were requested to make review with only three spins of the album I would give only three stars rating because the music was quite hard to understand. But I have listened to this album in its entirety fo more than eight (8) spins and it really grew on me everytime I listened to it, I finally cannot afford to give this wonderful album with less than five stars. It's really a masterpiece! Remember, do not try to understand the music! Just enjoy it segment by segment. If you cannot enjoy it, use Sennheiser PX-100 (PX-200 is better) headphone on your ears and play it loud. I believe you would enjoy it. Keep on proggin' ..! ?because proggin' is healthy and it cheers your life, definitely ...!!!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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