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Kansas - Kansas CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.98 | 584 ratings

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4 stars Incredibly good debut by already a seasoned band. Kansas was the only potent answer from the US in the first half of the 70's to the European tornado of progressive acts. And Walsh's vocal belongs to the best ones in the history of progressive rock together with Gabriel/Collins and Anderson, With one foot firmly rooted in hard rock with boogie/bluesy guitar, the potential in composition and playing suggest much more coming. The first two songs are accessible rocky numbers with a unique sound of violin in hard rock. Lonely Wind is a relaxing song with a really fitting Walsh's vocal. Clear progressive elements come to the surface in Belexes with church organ runs but still remain restrained and explode on the epic "Journey from Mariabronn" - I was looking for such city in the US in vain. Amazing moog/hammond run and anthemic guitar chords must give boomps to majority of the attentive listeners. The violin takes lead and calms things down to be replaced by piano and hammond solos. Dramatic spirit rises all way through the song until the fourth minute and the strong jazzy/Canterbury instrumental part starts led by inventive moog/ARP and violin solos. The composition returns to the emotional vocal and slows down to retain the drama and let the listener enjoy the chords. The bombastic end of the song with rising notes are typical for Kansas epic tracks. The "Pilgrimate" is a short relief from the complex music and features likeable country/boogie violin and guitar.

"Apercu" is the flagship of this album and easily one of the best Kansas tracks. After the starting dynamic keyboard part, jazzy guitar opens the sung part. It is incredible how easily Kansas create stunning and emotional melodies. The typical "walking" instrumentation follows before the speeding up and slowing down to enjoy the keyboard layers in the background and then vocal harmonies. Classical music led by violin separates the calm and progressive rock "march". This time, guitar takes active role too and supplies nice riffs. Things get back to the main motive but stay pompeous until the end.

"Death of Mother Nature Suite" highlights a heavy ominous riff and splendid guitar work by Kerry Livgren. Hammond organ and violin add nicely to the track atmosphere. Also, check out the brilliant and wild Wakemanesque hammond organ solo.

The three longest tracks alone are reason to acquire this album as they take influence from the best of progressive rock.

Even better albums are to come in the next years ;).

sgtpepper | 4/5 |


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