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Proto-Kaw - The Wait Of Glory CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.66 | 97 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I must admit that I didn't know what to expect from Proto-Kaw's 2004 "Before Came After" CD but I was pleasantly surprised by its classy artistry and I still listen to it often. Encouraged by the quality of that album, I purchased this in anticipation that "The Wait of Glory" would be even better. In many aspects it has a lot of what I like about the previous one as far as depth of sound, top-of-the-line production and superb musicianship goes but it doesn't pack the powerful punch musically that I was hoping for and Kerry Livgren's material is a tad weak on some songs. Yet I can't knock it completely because it still represents some of the more admirable progressive rock that's coming out of the U.S.A. these days.

"Nevermore" is a great opening song and one of the best on the album. Lynn Meredith's voice continues to impress with his range and effortless, emotional delivery but it's Dan Wright's keyboard prowess (and some of Livgren's, I'm sure) that elevates not only this tune but most of this 70 minute album above the fray. During the extended instrumental section Dan's cathedral organ ride is a joy to hear and Kerry's masterful guitar lead toward the end is a treat. The stately "Relics of the Tempest" features the big, deep tones that I prefer in my prog and Wright fills that cavernous space with excellent synthesized orchestral effects. "When the Rains Come" is another good song with a long musical section that will satisfy anyone with a hankering for symphonic prog rock. Here their tight harmony vocals and John Bolton's skillful flute stand out but it's the new drummer Mike Patrum who nearly steals the show. Next is "On the Eve of the Great Decline," a quieter, acoustic guitar-driven number that has a memorable, brooding riff and incorporates exciting dynamics as it builds slowly and steadily before ending on a very subtle note. These first four songs are an excellent example of stellar progressive rock.

"Physic" is a ballsy rocker in the beginning but when they hit the verse and chorus the tune bogs down in something that will plague a lot of the rest of the CD, a semi-retro 1970s attitude that they should have moved far away from by now. I must mention that Bolton plays some seriously mean sax on this song but it's not enough to keep it from retarding the momentum they had generated. "At Morning's Gate" is a melodic, sedate ballad that benefits enormously from Wright's incredible piano and keyboard work. This guy is a pro. He creates a dense richness behind Lynn's voice that you don't often hear these days. Despite their well-meant intentions, "Melicus Gladiator" is more of the damned "blast from the past" influence that I'm tired of hearing already. It's an okay rock and roll ditty and young Jake Livgren turns in a decent singing performance but there's nothing progressive about it at all and the tune just seems terribly out of place. "The Vigil" follows and it's a tale of two musical styles. The verse and chorus are run-of-the-mill, raise-your-palms, contemporary Christian Rock but the lengthy instrumental segment in the middle is pure, primo prog with the flutes, horns, guitar and piano shining brightly. "Old Number 63" also has that been there, done that 70s flavor to it that's a little too stuffy for me. It's a slick, up-tempo, funky rocker with the lyrics spoken rather than sung but it never achieves liftoff despite some fiery solos from Wright, Bolton and Livgren halfway through. Patrum's hot drumming is another perk to listen for while sitting through this slightly uneven tune.

But the proggiest moment comes right out of nowhere on the quirky instrumental, "Osvaldo's Groceries." It has a kinky Polka-from-Hell rhythm, very odd melodies and weird chord progressions that are a delight but it's the unique mixture of different instrumentation that really set it apart. I even detect slight shades of early King Crimson and perhaps a bit of Zappa in this little concoction, too. Very cool. "Picture This" is a gallant attempt at manufacturing an epic song and the grand scale of the sound is noteworthy in itself but it just doesn't work out. After a typical arena rock verse and chorus they transition to a motivating dance beat with Jake taking another successful turn at the mike but, despite their highest aspirations, the tune never goes anywhere that they haven't been several times before. The bonus track of "One Fine Day" is pure pop but it's not bad at all, especially the fluid harmony vocals that fill up the track and Kerry's distinguished guitar stylings. The live DVD that comes with the package is fine for a couple of viewings. Their spirited renditions of "The Occasion of Your Honest Dreaming," "Words of Honor" and "Skont" (where Dan Wright rips it up on the organ) come off decently but as a concert act they don't generate a lot of fireworks. Not that I expected them to.

In summary, if you liked the previous album you'll find a lot to enjoy on this one, as well. I, in my greedy way, simply wanted more pizzazz. My true hope is that they strive to go in a more exploratory direction in the future because they've done about all they can do with this particular mindset. Perhaps it was the excitement of recording together again after so many years that so completely energized and electrified the "Before Came After" project but for whatever reasons it is a superior album to this one. Yet you owe it to yourself to hear Dan Wright's keyboard expertise no matter what, especially if you love outstanding keyboard work. 3.4 stars.

Chicapah | 3/5 |


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