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Karfagen - Spektra CD (album) cover

SPEKTRA

Karfagen

 

Symphonic Prog

3.97 | 111 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Karfagen from Ukraine is a great symphonic prog band sovereignly led by composer and keyboard player Antony Kalugin. His latest works have made a very positive (5-star) impression on me, but this 8th Karfagen album has a different approach which is less up to my prog taste.

Whereas e.g. Echoes from Within Dragon Island (2019) is full of accessible, lush melodies, has mostly a mellow, romantic symph prog atmosphere reminiscent of Camel, and is a poetry-inspired album alternating between sung and instrumental parts, Spektra is basically (almost entirely) instrumental and much more muscular prock rock as a whole. In its extravagant and energetic playfulness it comes closer to ELP than Camel -- I don't mean Kalugin's composing style would notably remind me of Keith Emerson's, but you get the point, right?

The 63-minute album has 16 tracks, only the opening title track being over six minutes, but they form three entities, or "Phases", with a sense of an epic approach. The majority of Phase 1 is frankly too much of a rollercoaster ride for me. The intense Latin chanting on 'Terra Incognita' doesn't help in that matter. But the sixth track 'Homonymous Pt. 1' is a pleasant, Steve Hackett/ Anthony Phillips reminding little piece starring acoustic guitar, as is Pt. 2 later on the album. Also even shorter 'Angel Tears' is a calm and moody oasis amidst faster stuff.

Phase 2 is loaded with various keyboards. 'Aurora' is a nice piece with soaring melodies and some female vocalise. The first part of Phase 3 contains accordion and is followed by beautifully melodic 'Natural Charm'. So, after all Spektra does have also the softer side of Kalugin's musical expression, if in rather small doses. I round my 3,5 stars upwards for the good-looking cover art and the presumption that many progheads probably find this album more interesting than the slightly mellower later works.

Matti | 4/5 |

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