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Kayak - Phantom of the Night CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.46 | 101 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

5 stars Kayak, the Kings of Dutch Progressive rock, were a band who could not make a weak album if they tried. Throughout their career nearly all their albums were masterpieces, beginning with the brilliant See See The Sun and ending, for a long time, with the magnificent Merlin- a dark and perilous concept album. Original vocalist Max Werner had a great voice, but when he decided that his original intentions to be the drummer were where he wanted to be Kayak found a relatively unknown new lead singer named Edward Reekers and brought him along with Irene Linders (Ton Scherpenzeel's girlfriend) and Katherine Lapthorne into the group. The first album to feature this revised line up was Phantom Of The Knight and this album also introduced me to Kayak 10 bloody long years ago. If intelligently played and lush musical backdrops for crystal clear vocals and dark lyrics are the prerequisites for a progressive masterpiece as I think they are than this album is at the top for the time period. Early AOR/Pomp influences come into play, and make no mistake they work out brilliantly sounding at times like a sinister progressive Abba! First track "Keep The Change" is great. The lyrics are a put down and after losing a best friend to find he was a cheater and liar I fully relate to this song as much now as I ever have. The addition of brass doesn't hurt, Scherpenzeel always knew how to work out brilliant arrangements that would compliment Kayak's melodic sound. Melodic is the key word here, strong attention payed to the flow of the songs and no dissonant or ugly passages. Guitarist Johan Slager is brilliant here as always, his soaring guitar flying above the keyboards and deftly played rhythms. Every track here is great, but a real favourite is "Daphne (Laurel Tree)." This song leaves me in another world, it's a timeless progressive masterstroke with haunting lyrics, Edward Reekers' brilliant voice, and staggering changes of mood that are unexpected and never fail to take me by storm. It is Edward Reekers' piercing yet smooth and very soothing voice that really makes this one of Kayak's most memorable releases, together with the great songwriting and perfect arrangements. Kayak have always been about songs and melodies rather than showing off, and have always been slick in a good and not irritating way, with all 3 factors coming into play on this album it remains in their top 2 or 3 best ever. The group have had their share of bad press over the years and this is very unfortunate, as a listen to this great album proves who is in the right and who is in the wrong quite clearly. I can't choose one best album by Kayak, but if pressed I may have to say this is my all time favourite. The most amazing thing about Phantom Of The Night is that despite the menacing lyrical themes the music is beautiful. This was one thing that always set Kayak apart, and it comes to full blossom on this wonderful album. If you haven't heard Kayak, then go for anything you can find. They will always be my favourite symphonic progressive band from Europe, and this is perhaps their best album.
| 5/5 |


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