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Kinetic Element - The Face Of Life CD (album) cover

THE FACE OF LIFE

Kinetic Element

 

Neo-Prog

3.55 | 25 ratings

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TCat
3 stars The band Kinetic Element is a Neo-Prog band from Richmond, Virgina, founded in 2006 by keyboardist Mike Vissagio. Mike had actually assembled a band for a solo project that he released around that time, and the band worked so well together, that they decided to make a regular band out of the line-up. After bringing some attention to themselves after they performed in various prog fests in 2016 ? 2017, they started working on their third album.

They have released 3 full length albums and there have been a few changes over time, but as of the released of this album, "The Face of Life" in early 2019, the band is made up of Mike on keys and vocals, Saint John Coleman on vocals, Peter Matuchniak on guitars, Mark Tupko on bass and Michael Murray on drums and backing vocals. "The Face of Life" is an album made up of 4 tracks but has a total runtime of around 46 minutes. The band will also see their first vinyl release ever with this album which should be available at the end of March 2019.

"Epistle" begins with a short spoken word section backed by guitar and soon joined by the entire band. The vocals start shortly after with an obvious Christian theme. The music and themes have a definite progressive feel with tricky rhythms and non-standard structure. All of the musicians are in good form and prominent in the mix, the production sounds really good. The vocalist is good enough, but is a bit too clean and could use a rougher edge to better match the music.

"All Open Eyes" starts off with harmonic and unaccompanied vocals except for little snippets of music between the vocal lines. After a short time, there is an instrumental interlude and build up with each performer shining through. Just before 4 minutes, the music climaxes and then is replaced by a solo piano and soon after, vocals. Staying fairly mellow, the drums and bass come in and then things develop into more intensity, but still staying bright. Before the 8 minute mark, the 2nd verse ends and the instruments that have been itching to get back at the forefront take off with a great progressive section with guitars and synths both playing front and center supported by a tricky and ever changing rhythm section. Just before 10 minutes, a gong ends that section and things become more atmospheric, but build back to the vocal theme again. After the 3rd verse, the guitar gets to take things to a majestic finish, but just when you think it is to wind up, there is a build up to another short vocal section, and another big finish ends everything at almost 16 minutes.

The title track "Face of Life" starts off with a piano and an atmospheric guitar. When the band comes in, the track has a slow and stately feeling. Just after 3 minutes, the tempo picks up and we head into a guitar solo first and then later an organ solo. Vocals finally start at just before 5 minutes. Unfortunately, the vocals don't quite match the quality of the music or the passion of the lyrics, and that keeps making everything feel a bit weak and unconvincing. I'm not a fan of Christian lyrics, but I try to not dwell on that when listening to an album. But in this case, the vocals don't quite sell the message anyway and either they need to not be so perfect and clean or they need a new singer. At around 10 minutes, a moderate tempo provides a background for a synth solo and then guitar. A few minutes later, a faster beat brings in another vocal theme. As the track continues, there are some short instrumental breaks, but there are way too many vocals. The themes changes a few times, but this track suffers a lot because it never really gets a chance to take off much, and the vocals start to sound too much like preaching, and with a 20 minute track, that just makes the entire album suffer.

The album ends with the short 3 minute "Last Words", but by this time I am wishing there weren't any more words at all. A lone synth brings in more vocals in a prog style melody, but it seems like aimless singing which makes the lyrics meaningless.

The one thing that stands out on this album is utilized well in the track "All Open Eyes", and that is the instrumental work, which is really the only place this gets to shine. There are vocals in this track, but at least they are less in quantity on this track. The rest of the album is just too wordy and since the vocals don't seem to match what they are trying to convey, the album just suffers. All of the ground that the band made in that one track is lost by the rest of the album by utilizing too many sub-par vocals. 3 stars.

TCat | 3/5 |

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