Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Karibow Holophinium album cover
3.88 | 75 ratings | 6 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

Write a review

from partners
Studio Album, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (60:54)
- The Fragments :
1. Distant Movements (1:44)
2. Holophinium (6:05)
3. E.G.O. (11:28)
4. Victims of Light (6:55)
5. Some Will Fall (4:06)
6. Connection Refused (4:34)
7. River (6:03)
8. Angel Scent (5:58)
9. King (5:03)
10. Quantum Leap (8:58)

CD 2 (36:07)
- Letter from the White Room :
11. Moon (2:14)
12. Walk on Water (7:35)
13. Orbital Spirits (5:04)
14. Eden (6:38)
15. Lifelong (7:53)
16. Part of the Century (2:52)
17. Plutonian (3:51)

Total Time 97:01

Line-up / Musicians

- Oliver Rüsing / lead & backing vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums
- Christopher Thomas / acoustic guitar
- Jörg Eschrig / mandolin, backing vocals
- Markus Bergen / keyboards

- Karsten Stiers / lead vocals
- Michael Sadler / lead & backing vocals
- Colin Tench / guitar
- Sean Timms / piano, keyboards
- Daniel Neustad / fretless bass

Releases information

2CD Progressive Promotion Records ‎- PPRCD039 (2016, Germany)

Digital album

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy KARIBOW Holophinium Music

KARIBOW Holophinium ratings distribution

(75 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (39%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

KARIBOW Holophinium reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by FragileKings
4 stars If you haven't heard of KariBow yet you can be excused. Although the band has some 15 albums (some of which are not full length, I presume), and although band leader Oliver Rüsing has issued an additional 6 or 7 albums under other band project titles prior to the founding of KariBow, many of the albums were limited edition pressings. When I recently inquired about purchasing older CDs, I was told that aside from the latest release, "Holophinium" and the previous album "Addicted", no other KariBow CDs are currently available, though "Man of Rust" is available as a download. This might change soon, however, as KariBow are currently on tour in Germany with SAGA and the feedback from the audience has been far above expectations. Demands for more KariBow albums could see near-future reissues of older recordings.

So what is stirring up all the fuss? KariBow's latest album "Holophinium": a double serving of crossover prog that blends strong AOR and catchy vocal melodies that will cling to your brain with a modern progressive sound that mixes heavier guitar rock with a synthesizer-inclusive neo-prog format. There are times when this album might make you think of IQ or Arena without the music sounding just like those bands.

On the previous album "Addicted", KariBow focused more on the melodic adult contemporary AOR rock style, filling it with beautiful choruses and that sweet kind of powerful layered guitar rock and less emphasis on the technical (i.e. progressive) side. If the kids would stop fighting in the car long enough, I am sure my wife would like this album. "Holophinium" maintains that style but dares to go further into the modern progressive sound, also adding in some heavier parts that go almost prog metal.

The first disc, entitled "Fragments", is a succession of separate tracks, contrary to the second disc, "Letter from the White Room", which plays out like a single epic divided into individual tracks that segue into each succeeding track. There is an atmosphere that pervades the whole album, and I find it very easy to slip into this soundscape and just go along for the ride. Aside from Rüsing's warm, passionate vocals, there are many great moments to catch along the way in the music as well as in the melodies. The album features several guests, including Michael Sadler of SAGA who sings wonderfully on "River", Colin Tench of Corvus Stone who embellishes "Part of the Century" with his lead guitar expertise, and Sean Timms of Unitopia and Southern Empire who plays some great keyboards on "Quantum Leap", and Karsten Stiers who takes lead vocal on "Orbital Spirits".

Recent reviews of the album have stated that this is one of those double albums that seems to end too soon. I personally find that there is something to discover in nearly every track and something to then look forward to with each subsequent listen. The second disc is only just over 36 minutes long and each part works well as an individual song, so this is not a tedious epic to trudge through. Careful attention has gone into crafting each track and the production captures the essence of the whole musical experience very nicely.

Aside from terrific song writing and musical performances, the digipak folds out in eight panels and includes a 32- page art booklet. It's an impressive package both visually and in melodic neo-progressive rock. Samples and a promotional video can be seen and heard on the official KariBow website.

Review by Angelo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Once upon a time, in Germany, Oliver R'sing formed a one person musical project and called in Karibow. Over time, the project became his full time occupation, recording material with a total worth of 17 albums. As a multi-instrumentalist (but originally a drummer), he composed, played and recorded everything himself, with an occasional guest musician showing up here and there.

As I wrote last year in my review for the album Addicted, winning two prizes in Germany and getting the encouragement of his wife, he set up a live band for Karibow. As I witnessed their very first gig late last year, at the Blue Notez Club in Dortmund, only about 35 people, mostly invited guests were present. On a recent German tour with UK companions Saga, following the 2016 album release Holophinium, these 35 guests were succeeded with as much as 1200 paying visitors during a Munich gig. An overjoyed Oliver told me that they were even singing along to the previously released 'single' Victim of Light.

So what happened here? Easy: Oliver R'sing composed 97 minutes of solid rock music, released on a double CD set. Music that moves him at big step forward from the AOR oriented Addicted, toward a more progressive rock approach. The AOR side of the music is still present on Holphinium, but the more complex and progressive line of F8 Al Ba6 and the emotional 9/16 continued on this this album. The overall sound is perhaps best described as a mix of IQ, Saga, Pendragon with a dash of Marillion. Here and there I even spotted a pinch of Iron Maiden to add even more spice.

Holophinium consists of music that contains many layers, and each listen brings something new to the ear. One time it's the keyboard, the next a bass run or a drum pattern - and there are many of the latter! Due to this, the tracks are varied, yet similar enough to make it possible to recgonise it is all Karibow. The title track sets the stage for the rest of the album when it comes to that: synth and keyboard driven vocal parts, almost symphonic, are interleaved with heavier, metal influenced instrumentals and changing drum patterns. My favourite track of the album E.G.O. brings even more of that. Almost a prog rock epic, lyrically dealing with the cause and downside of egocentricity, and the need to reach out and love others than yourself as well. Oliver R'sing brought in two external vocalists on this album (Michael Sadler on Rivers and Karsten Stiers on Orbital Spirits), but using his own low, 80s influenced voice on this one was the best choice.

Next to these I was most happy with the have-the-audience-sing-along-but-not-a-pop-rock-track Victims of Light, the beautiful River, and Quantum Leap, which has a hypnotic drum pattern and great keyboard work by Sean Timms of Unitopia and Southern Empire.

All of these, and more, are on the more than enjoyable first CD of the set, called Fragments. The second CD contains what is advertised as a single, 36 minute track, consisting of 7 parts: Letter from the White Room. The lyrics (or part of them) form a letter, written from the perspective of an astronaut in the white room, the room from which they enter a space craft before launch. This 36 minute piece could have been an album in itself, and is even more layered and complicated in structure than the first CD. Moon starts as an almost vocal only introduction, followed by Walk on Water with an Iron Maiden like guitar riff, and then the 'suite' builds up in heaviness throughout the 4 parts - with beautiful interplay between all instruments - until it drops back to a slow, question endon Plutionian.

So, this is the perfect album then? No. I'm not going to let Karibow get away with this - if only because even though Oliver has been on it for almost 20 years, Karibow have only just begun. There are small flaws, and I would love to see them do an album as a band, not having everything done by Oliver himself. So, putting on a little bit of pressure here. But apart from a few small things, the only real issue I have with the album is it's length. I started playing it as two separate CDs, because 97 minutes really is a long time to listen to one album. Given that Letter from the White Room is almost an album by itself, it's not a big deal though - we got two album for the price of one. Now let's have Karibow enjoy life on stage, and with a bit of luck we'll get another album from them in 2017 or 2018. Definitely highly recommended!

Also published on my blog

Review by Windhawk
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars German project KARIBOW is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Oliver Rusing. It has been an ongoing venture ever since 1996, and so far, more than a dozen Karibow albums have been released, although the greater majority of them appear to have been low-key productions in terms of PR and marketing. But from 2011 and onward this project has risen in stature due to recognition from the music industry in Germany, to the point that Karibow in 2016 for the first time has also been expanded from a one-man studio project into a real band for live purposes. "Holophinium" is the album most heavily promoted for these live events. This double CD was released through the German label Progressive Promotion Records in the spring of 2016.

What Karibow/Oliver Rusing has in common with many contemporary artists of a similar kind is that he's good at incorporating minor details in the arrangements, effective in incorporating multiple themes and arrangements into his compositions and manages to do this without the material becoming any less accessible by it. Music that is easy to listen to, and deceivingly so, but with liberal amounts of ear-candy to be uncovered by the avid listener, which, presumably, should make this production interesting to a fairly broad audience. As far as comparisons and references go, I'd suggest that those who enjoy listening to bands such as RPWL and Sylvan should have a go at this album. I'd expect the greater majority of them to appreciate the qualities of this double feature.

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Back in the early 70s, when the Golden Age of Prog was dominating the charts, the airwaves and the record stores, at a time when the Internet was still a hippie hallucination in some Seattle geek's mind, the only real source of information was the credit listings that would adorn the vinyl albums. I started already back then compiling my favorite musician names and seeking out other projects they may have been involved with. It was great way of shopping, a myriad of cataloged hints and clues combined with imagination or the odd published review in some prog magazine (France had both Rock 'n Folk, Best). Today, we have so many more resources to add to this mix, but in purchasing Karibow's latest opus, the 2cd "Holophinium", I was triggered to purchase by hearing that the irascible Colin Tench, a guitar virtuoso of the highest order was involved in this project and that got me imagining things. Then I read that Michael Sadler of Saga fame was also involved with this hitherto unknown to me German band. Time to remind everyone that Canadian band Saga was HUGE in Germany, more so than anywhere else and by a zillion miles. Finally Unitopia keyboardist Sean Timms also appeared on the horizon and I made the plunge rather comfortably.

Sinking one's teeth into a massive double Cd of new music is always a colossal challenge for even the experienced pundit, so I began researching a bit more and thus finding out that Karibow is actually quite a well-known rock act in Germany, both on record and in concert. Leader Oliver Rüsing is a very capable vocalist (a bit like Iva Davies of Icehouse in a way) as well as an über-talented multi-instrumentalist/composer/producer who particularly shines on the drum kit but is equally adept at the keys, bass and guitars, while leading a seasoned guest list along for a convincing ride into progressive realms. While the music is perhaps more upfront prog rock with AOR leanings with occasional daubs of electronica, truth is there is a lot to sink your musical teeth into, the drum work in particular showing some oomph and well as dexterity, expertly displayed on the title track and neatly followed by the luscious "E.G.O.", an eleven and a half minute frolic that sets the tone for the remaining set of songs. Why wait until later to impress right away, nicht wahr? It features an immediately appealing structure, a terrific rhythmic carpet on which slippery synths forage through a swift arrangement that is both luminous and exhilarating. Oliver's lead vocals are a true delight, both convincing and bright, draping suavely over a solid melody, the ending has a sublime symphonic crescendo that is to die for, sparkling lead guitar shining towards the horizon. Truly 'ausgezeichnet'!

It becomes very critical for a 97 minute opus to be architecturally sound, yet always on the lookout for another thrill, in order to keep the pleasure nodes stimulated. The judicious placement of songs becomes quite apparent as the amazing "E.G.O." is followed up by "Victims of Light", a more arena-rock styled piece that has a divine chorus that would grace any anthem, muscular polyrhythmic drums on the forefront and Oliver's whispering and then bellowing vocals. This is followed by the sweeping ballad "Some Will Fall" and its sorrowful groan, melancholic clouds floating in the air, mirrored pools of reflective thought as the sun goes down majestically, an acoustic and then electric guitar along for the drive. Things get jaunty and quirky with "Connection Refused", definitely stop and go rhythms and another breath-taking vocal, keeping things breathtakingly interesting.

Another massive highpoint is the splendid "River", a Michael Sadler's cameo appearance on a deliriously enjoyable track that is augmented by its overt Ian Crichton?like guitar buzz, those serpentine synths, Sadler's immediately evident voice and a drum beat that would rekindle memories of the binary monster that Steve Negus once was. There is little doubt that this is the best Saga song never penned by Saga, a luminous reverberation of a flowing melody that meanders along, determined and focused to arrive at some delta paradise. "Angel Scent" has this lyric 'Your emotional symphony is unpredictable' that made me gasp audibly, neatly placed within a lilting dirge, with hushed vocals and another thumping drum track, surprised by a sensual saxophone blurt out of nowhere , that again caught me unawares. The guitar-launched mood here is urgent and passionate, near to Anathema and Pineapple Thief territory. Guest Daniel Neustadt really shines on fretless bass. The relatively straight forward "King" is enjoyable in its determined forcefulness, with vocals that are straight out of the 80s, and some passion-fueled lyrics.

Another perfect piece on the first CD is its final one as "Quantum Leap" does its title justice by flinging this jewel well forward into nirvana, expertly marshaled by Australian Sean Timms' delightful keyboards, a very underrated talent that needs to be further discovered (try Unitopia and Southern Empire). Oliver's gorgeous voice, explicit guitars, bass and drum work really boost this into the stratosphere. Wunderbar!

To stamp their career with outright prog stamp (earlier material was a tad more accessible and ear-friendly), Karibow introduce a second CD that contains an extra 37 minutes of musical joy and adventure. Sub-titled "Letter from the White Room", this 7 part suite details the space race, a unique event in the late 60s and early 70s that was THE major topic of conversation in homes, workplaces and schools all around the world, when man sought out its destiny of exploration by forcefully going where no man had gone before. The Moon and beyond was the target, not only of human urgency but also out of political necessity. Space travel deeply affected those chosen to discover the outer universe and many an astro/cosmo-naut came back altered and perhaps even illuminated by something beyond our bland humanity. Buzz Aldrin in particular has a few interviews on the net that may seem bizarre. And yet?Musically, the electronics take a greater hold over the material in a more progressive pursuit, fusing into the mix a classic instrument like the sublime mandolin (on the mercurial "Walk on Water", an epic little gem) , while "Orbital Spirits" will give guest Karsten Stiers the front stage to show off his vocal talents. On the spiritual lullaby "Eden", Oliver's voice really reminds of Iva Davies, easily one of Australia's finest vocalists, what with the long held notes, the hushed tendencies in counterpoint and the ability to push the lungs further along. The extended epic "Lifelong" takes the smooth path in orbiting the pleasure nodes, circling patterns of delightful sound and passionate power, in a rather dreamy and moody expanse that morphs constantly into new sonic realms. Tinkling piano and diaphanous voice add to the desire. Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, CTP) gets to molest his fret board on "Part of The Century" and he absolutely never disappoints, quite the contrary as he is a brilliant axeman (and occasional humorous loon) with a storied recent career. Finally, with "Plutonian", the aural travellers land back on earth, deliriously satisfied and enthralled, flush with excitement and adventure.

Oliver Rüsing is quite the talented artist, a wizard and a true star. His slavish work here oozes devotion and determination, as everything is spot on, crystalline production, lush artwork, instrumental prowess and sensational vocals all built around thoughtful compositions. Currently on tour, one can only aspire to even higher praise in the future.

4.5 Lunar Briefs

Review by kev rowland
4 stars After the success of his latest studio album, 2014's 'Addicted', multi-instrumentalist Oliver Rüsing (here providing lead & backing vocals, guitar, keyboards, bass, drums) brought in some musicians to turn Karibow into a live band, being joined by Christopher Thomas (acoustic guitar), Jörg Eschrig (mandolin, backing vocals), and Markus Bergen (keyboards). If that was not enough, he also brought in multiple guests in Karsten Stiers (lead vocals, Errorhead), Michael Sadler (lead & backing vocals, Saga), Colin Tench (guitar. Corvus Stone), Sean Timms (piano, keyboards, Unitopia), and Daniel Neustad (fretless bass). This was a new beginning for Rüsing and the band, and they were soon touring with the likes of Saga in support of this album which is nearly 100 minutes in length. Although there are large elements of Neo in this release, there is also quite a lot of symphonic, while there are also some gentler more melodic styles as well, resulting in a crossover progressive rock album which is easy to get inside the first time of playing. The vocals are powerful with just a slight edge, and although Sadler does not take that many lead roles he certainly stands out when he does. I had not looked at the personnel before playing this, and as soon as I heard him, I was reaching for the information just to check as he has one of the most recognisable voices around.

There is no doubt this is a very long album, but unlike many which attempt this sort of length there is never a feeling of mass padding, and instead is an album which lulls in the listener and allows them to stay inside the world which has similarities with the likes of RPWL, IQ and elements of Porcupine Tree and is certainly very enjoyable.

Latest members reviews

4 stars KARIBOW - Holophinium (2 CD) - 2016 Progressive Promotion Records Staff: Oliver Rusing: Lead and backing vocals, drums, guitars, bass, keyboards. Michael Sadler: Lead and backing vocals on ¨River¨(Saga) Sean Timms: Piano and keyboard solos on ¨Quantum Leap¨(Unitopia) Colin Tench: Solo guita ... (read more)

Report this review (#1637047) | Posted by guspanet | Saturday, October 29, 2016 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of KARIBOW "Holophinium"

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.