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




Symphonic Prog

3.89 | 153 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars With the amazing success of "Early Recordings from Kansas - 1971-1973" (Cuneiform 2002) the band PROTO-KAW decided to reform and the end result is a fantastic new album titled "Before Became After".

The link to all of this coming together was musical genius Kerry Livgren. With all due respect to Dan Wright (organ, keyboards, percussion, background vocals), Craig Kew (bass, background vocals) and Brad Schulz (drums), who are incredible musicians, Livgren is the core driving force of this band, just as he was with Kansas. Consequently, their sound is similar to KANSAS. "Alt. More Worlds Than Known" leads off the proceedings very strongly and Lynn Meredith's vocals set the tone for every track thereafter. He has a unique vocal style that is perfectly suited for this kind of music, somewhat similar to KANSAS front man Steve Walsh. You can make all the comparisons you want, and it is inevitable that you will, you must keep one thing in mind, this is a PROTO-KAW album not a KANSAS album. I must admit though, if you like KANSAS, you will most definitely love this album. One major factor is quite different in their sound in comparison to many popular prog-rock bands . the elements of jazz-rock fusion, as you will hear on tracks like "Quantum Leapfrog." The use of the saxophone and flute provide those aspects very well. Then the polar opposite is the commercially accessible and melodic tune "The Occasion Of Your Honest Dreaming" which would be the obvious choice for a single. The across the board approach is the most intelligent way to reach an audience that you normally would not. This music, although it is progressive, and it does not digress to pop or anything that fluffy mind you, will have an appeal to a much larger audience than most prog-rock would.

"Before Became After" will be heralded as one of the prog-rock masterpieces of 2004, and it deserves to be as it lives up to those lofty expectations in every way. The production is outstanding and the compositions are intense complicated musical journeys that challenge and enlighten the senses. Now that is something that everyone wants to experience when listening to a progressive rock album. The cover is interesting as well, it seems as though they are depicting their version of the Phoenix (being the band) reemerging from the flames, only it is with a Native American slant by using an image of a buffalo. Their music is so powerful that images such as this will come to mind quickly and that is what great music always does for you, it forces your imagination to take hold and sweep you away to another time and place that only exists in your minds eye. To me that is a magical and special thing that only the very best bands can make happen. PROTO-KAW is one of those bands. There honestly is not a track on the album that I would not consider a classic. Each one has its own personality and atmosphere that keeps you enthralled throughout.

Muzikman | 5/5 |


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