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Karnataka - The Storm CD (album) cover

THE STORM

Karnataka

 

Prog Folk

3.51 | 57 ratings

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VianaProghead
Prog Reviewer
4 stars Review Nš 443

Karnataka is a prog rock band that was founded in Swansea, Wales, in UK, in 1997. Karnataka was disbanded in 2004, was reformed in 2005 and that decided to suspend their activity in the late of 2017. "The Storm" is the second studio album of Karnataka and was released in 2000. Curiously, it was recorded in 1999, in the studio of the bassist of the group Ian Jones. The album was mixed at the Rockfield Studios in Monmouthshire, Wales. Further live performances brought Karnataka to the attention of the record company Voiceprint that made the decision of distribute their albums.

The line up on the album is Rachel Jones (lead and backing vocals), Paul Davies (lead and rhythm guitars), Jonathan Edwards (keyboards), Ian Jones (bass guitars, acoustic guitars, bodhran and samples) and Gavin Griffiths (drums and percussion).

"The Storm" has ten tracks. All tracks were written by Rachel Jones, Jonathan Edwards and Ian Jones. The first track "Heaven Can Wait" is a gorgeous opener to the album. It starts with the sound of waves breaking on the sand, followed by a synthesizer harp like noise. After that, Rachel starts singing a beautiful and soft melody like we're in heaven. By chance this song represents my first contact with Karnataka's music. I checked this excellent track, incidentally, with "Mother Nature" of Mostly Autumn on the DVD "Progressive Rock Anthology", a DVD with a collection of ten progressive live concert clips of several progressive bands and artists, already reviewed by me on this site. The second track "Dreamer" represents another beautiful and excellent track with the celestial and unique voice of Rachel. If you've never heard Rachel's voice, it's somewhat similar to the voice of Heather Findlay of Mostly Autumn. However, Rachel's voice has a bit of a mystical style. Her voice shine's through most of the album's tracks. The third track "The Journey" is, in a certain way, an epic track in its proportions. It's a soft ballad with beautiful acoustic and electric guitar works and an orchestral keyboard work. This is a song with powerful vocal melodies and other musical passages with some other lovely vocal harmonies. The fourth track "Hay" is a good song with a nice melody and, once more, is beautifully sung by Rachel. However, this always was a song that just doesn't worked very well on me, really. Probably the band was trying to experiment a bit with this song, but in my opinion, the final result not worked very well. The fifth track "Love And Affection" is a striking song where Paul Davies' powerful lead guitar and Ian's bass combine magnificently with Rachel's most sensual lead vocals that soar with a unique texture, showing her crystalline vocal abilities. The sixth track "I Should Have Known" is a sensitive ballad with Paul's melodic electric guitar parts leading the song and with Rachel's singing beautifully and illustrating her great and crystalline vocal skills. On the song, melodic bass and lead guitar join perfectly with Jonathan Edwards' keyboards. The seventh track "Everything Must Change" represents the return to the soft ballads. Rachel's sensual lead vocals are underscored by many layers of contrasting vocal harmonies. It's a better song than "Hay" is, and it's much more enjoyable to hear, indeed. However, it isn't really a true memorable song of the album. The eighth track "Shine" is also a kind of an experimental song. It opens with a soaring acapella intro before the rocking instrumental kicks in. Rachel's vocals are interspersed with many powerful electric guitar and bass effects, rich keyboards instrumental arrangements and rocking percussion. The ninth track "Writing On The Wall" is a song with a powerful bass work and a melodic electric guitar performance that contrasts with the sensitive sung vocal parts made by Rachel Jones. This is another beautiful and melodic song in the same vein of the rest of the album. The tenth and last track is the title track "The Storm". This is a very pretty song with layers of backing vocals and Ian's melodic bass style that support the melody of the lead vocals and recorder. Scottish small pipes arranged and played by Peter Davies join the sounds of the sea and do a memorable closing to this track and to this magnificent album too.

Conclusion: Karnataka's "The Storm" is an exciting follow up studio album after their self titled debut studio album "Karnataka". It has ten stunning vocally oriented progressive rock tracks. Probably the only weak track on the album is "Hay". Certainly, this is an album that appeals to fans of Mostly Autumn, Iona, modern Clannad and Renaissance. All these are well written and performed songs that are timeless in its construction technically superb. I recommend this album vividly to all those, like me, who like the British progressive rock song oriented albums and beautiful and elegant music. Ten beautiful themes sung by an impressive voice that are worth being heard carefully in our most melancholic moments in Autumn time, the time that I'm making this review. Concluding, I'm absolutely convinced that progressive rock fans who don't mind a bit pop in progressive rock should definitely take note of this band and this release. It's very well made, for the most part of it, and the real bonus on it is to hear the beautiful and gorgeous voice of Rachel Jones.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

VianaProghead | 4/5 |

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