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Kansas - The Absence of Presence CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.67 | 110 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars "We still stand out. It's the way since the days of our youth. The strangest sight. Like animals on the roof"

America's best band is back with a new record! The line-up is almost the same as on the previous The Prelude Implicit, with one important exception: the addition of keyboard player Tom Brislin. Having previously performed live with Yes, Camel, and Renaissance, Brislin has now joined Kansas. That means that he has played with four of my all time favourite bands! I already knew that he could play, but Brislin surprises everyone here by contributing his own compositions and lyrics to many of the songs on The Absence of Presence, and even sings lead vocals on one! Kansas are really lucky to have landed Brislin.

The rest of the band are in top form as well, with vocalist Ronnie Platt and producer/guitarist Zak Rizvi, both of whom joined the band for the previous album, now having settled firmly into the line-up. Violinist David Ragsdale, who first joined the band in the early 1990's, performs better than ever, and Billy Greer, a member since the mid 1980's, is still going strong. Drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Richard Williams have of course been there since the beginning. As a collective, these seven men carry the great legacy of Kansas into the 2020's.

The Absence of Presence is a stronger album than The Prelude Implicit, the latter having failed to impress me much even though I do like it. Rizvi is again responsible for the bulk of the music, while Brislin provided most of the lyrics. Brislin is the sole architect behind Memories Down the Line, The Song the River Sang (on which he also sings lead vocals), and the instrumental Propulsion 1. The latter is one of my favourites on the album together with Jets Overhead and the eight plus minute title track.

Let's hope for a live release next, preferably a live video, as I would love to see this line-up in action playing these new songs live mixed in with classics from the history of this great band.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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