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Karfagen Echoes from within Dragon Island album cover
4.15 | 171 ratings | 14 reviews | 38% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD1 (55:35)
1. Dragon Island Suite 1 (17:17)
a. To the Fairy Land Afar (6:30)
b. Through the Magical Forest (6:08)
c. Little Thoughtful Creatures (4:27)
2. Dragon Island Suite 2 (19:01)
a. Shady Fairies (3:53)
b. All the Names I Know (5:03)
c. Picture Story-books (7:29)
d. Where All the Playthings Come Alive (2:35)
3. My Bed is a Boat (2:44)
4. Dragon Island Suite 3 (16:32)
a. Sailor's Coat (7:39)
b. Valley of the Kings (8:52)

CD2 (Ltd. Edition) (38:23)
1. Flowing Brooks (4:17)
2. Winter Rooks (3:45)
3. Incantation (Part1) (6:27)
4. Incantation (Part2) (6:28)
5. My Bed is a Boat (Instrumental Version) (2:24)
6. Dragon Island (Single) (5:54)
7. Across the Dark We Steer (3:35)
8. Alight Again (Studio Live 2016) (5:30)

Total Time 93:58

Line-up / Musicians

- Antony Kalugin / keyboards, percussion, vocals, penny flute, arrangements, programming

- Olha Rostovska / vocals
- Max Velychko / electric & acoustic guitars
- Oleg Prokhorov / bass
- Roman Gorielov / vocals, nylon & acoustic guitar
- Viktor Syrotin / drums
- Sergii Kovalov / knob accordion, vocals
- Maria Baranovska / violin
- Alexandr Pastuchov / basson
- Tim Sobolev / vocals
- Sergey Obolonkov / vocals
- Elena Kushiy / flute
- Igor Solovey / French horn
- Tatiana Kurilko / English horn
- Georgiy Katunin / wheel lyre (CD1 1)
- Kostya Shepelenko / drums (CD2 1,3,4,8)
- Michail Sidorenko / alto sax (CD2 1)
- Olga Vodolazkaya / vocals, acoustic guitar (CD2 8)

Releases information

Label: Caerllysi Music
Format: Digital, 2CD
February 11, 2019
Cover: Konstantin Kanskiy

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to NotAProghead for the last updates
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KARFAGEN Echoes from within Dragon Island ratings distribution

(171 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(38%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(29%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

KARFAGEN Echoes from within Dragon Island reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
5 stars Karfagen, a Symphonic Prog group from Ukraine, has been around making studio albums since 2006, and released their 10th album, "Echoes from Within Dragon Island" in early 2019. The band started out as a project from Antony Kalugin, and he has used several different musicians to support him on his albums through the years, but this time around, he uses 19 musicians to help bring about this album, which is based on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. There are various vocalists and instrumentalists used throughout the album.

The "Dragon Island Suite" is the main feature on this album, divided up into 3 parts, each one lasting over 15 minutes. The first track is Part 1. The music starts off very upbeat and sounds like a rock symphony with all types of instruments playing a happy sounding track that has a folk vibe to it with a traditional sounding sea gigue. Vocals start up after a few minutes, with a melody following the lilting feel and harmonies between male and female vocalists. Music is led by most every instrument involved here, keyboards, guitar, violin, xylophone, etc. After 5 minutes, things calm down as the track moves into a slower section before a surprisingly heavy guitar riff and keyboard solo cuts in. In fact, things change as the music continues to sew the main theme to various other sections. It would be difficult to explain everything going on here because it is so dynamic yet cohesive at the same time, but the overall feel is a symphonic-folk sound with both rock and orchestral instruments.

Part 2 continues in the same style, it finds its own theme, based more on progressive rhythms, but keeping with the symphonic style as the first part. The moods, meters and tempos always changing, but in a fluid manner. Remember, the title of the track has "Suite" in it, and the entire song works as a suite with many different song styles knitted together in the same manner as Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick", but even more cohesively. Part 2 is more instrumental, but there are vocal sections. The relatively short "My Bed is a Boat" serves as a quick interlude and is an acoustic guitar and a flute playing together. Vocals come in later. This is a simple folk-style pastoral song. After this, Part 3 of the suite begins. The track is once again in the same suite style. Vocals don't come in until after the 7 minute mark. Overall, the entire suite with the interlude lasts about 55 minutes.

"Flowing Brooks" is an instrumental starts immediately with either a French or English Horn that establishes a melody and a more standard rhythm. Just before the 2 minute mark, things get more intense and progressive. Things calm after a while returning to the original feel. "Winter Rooks" is a nice acoustic track with various guitars and a synth. It is a lovely track also remaining instrumental throughout and has some nice effects towards the end.

Next up is a 2 part instrumental called "Incantations". Part 1 begins simple with a soft percussion and keyboards. Atmospheric guitars join in and things start to amp up a little, but it remains quite mellow. At 3 minutes, things definitely get heavier with louder guitars and excellent synth/guitar solos. The music gets much more expressive for a while, then things suddenly brighten up when a flute takes over with a more complex rhythm. After a while, the flute moves to the back and guitars and synth. Part 2 again starts with soft guitars, but moves into a steady beat quite quickly and guitar and synth take turns improvising on a slower andante rhythm. As things continue, we get a more sweeping feel for a while and then the music turns atmospheric in a Floydian kind of way before returning to the thematic element.

There is a reprise of the track "My Bed is a Boat" but in an instrumental version this time that has an even more pastoral feel to it this time. Then there is a single version of an edit from the Dragon Island suite cut down to almost 6 minutes. It mostly takes edits from some of the more upbeat sections of the suite but surprisingly leaves out any vocals. Following this is "Across the Dark We Steer". This track has a darker symphonic feel and remains "orchestral" through the track. Finally, we end with a live studio performance of a song called "Alight Again". It is the first track to have vocals since the last part of the Dragon Island Suite. The song is simple and soft and is quite straightforward, but it is still pleasant.

The obvious main part of the album is the Dragon Island Suite, and everything else is pretty much supplementary, yet there are some great parts in there that make it all worthwhile. The overall album is still an excellent example of Symphonic Prog at it's best, and the folk undertones that are quite apparent through the suite make it even better. I highly recommend this album, mostly for the suite, but while you are here, listen to it all, because it is all quite well done. This album will definitely be a highlight for the year 2019 and I can see it in the running for best album.

Review by siLLy puPPy
COLLABORATOR PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
3 stars Kharkiv, Ukraine based Antony Kalugin can be described as nothing less than prolific with scores of albums released with the bands Hoggwash, Sunchild, Antony Kalugin's Kinematics Orchestra and his most productive of all KARFAGEN (which means Karthagoa symbol of glory and wisdom and also it is a never-ending journey into the world of the forgotten past and un-predictable future) which after only having formed in 2006 has just released its tenth album ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND on 11 Febr 2019. Returning with his unique mix of art rock and symphonic prog that evokes the majesty of bands like Camel, Genesis, UK, Pink Floyd and most of all The Flower Kings, KARFAGEN continues to ratchet up the intensity and ambitiousness as if the end of the world was near and cranking out one bloated prog project after another is of the utmost urgency.

ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND is perhaps the most ambitious project yet that tackles a grand concept albums based on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson and graced by the stunning fantasy cover art of Konstantin Kanskiy. KARFAGEN went the extra mile to craft a pompous slice of modern symphonic prog that finds mainman Antony Kalugin conducting a massive army of 17 musicians with Kalugin himself playing keyboards, percussion, penny flute and handling all arrangements and programming. The album comes in two versions. The single CD which clocks in just under an hour's playing time and a limited deluxe edition that contains an extra CD that contains an extra eight tracks and slightly over 38 minutes playing time. Some are new tracks and others reworked versions of disc one.

Lush and flowing with melodies the primary disc of ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND contains three lengthy 'Dragon Island Suites' each which tells the tale of fairies and thoughtful little creatures in magical forests in a Tolkien-like setting. While the music plays out mostly in wending and winding instrumental technicalities, there are moments where the various vocalists have a turn to both sing and recite the poetic prose but overall the musical constructs are much more geared to a series of progressively delivered jaunts through the medievally tinged universe that seems to be more based on folk than any classic symphonic prog such as Yes, but it's not exactly the Slavic prog one would expect from a band from Eastern Europe and rather a Middle Ages type of folk that's somewhat Mediterranean and perhaps a little Celtic.

Plaudits to the superb production job on this one as every little sound is mixed perfectly in the greater scheme of things and despite the largess of instrumental representation it never feels like there are too many chefs in the kitchen. In fact the overall soundscape is rather sparse with instruments taking their turns in a rather civilized manner. This is dreamy prog, the very kind initiated by Flower Kings and happy bands like Moon Safari but most of all i get a Neal Morse vibe from this album as KARFAGEN take a similar approach of taking melodies to their utmost logical conclusion with plenty of proggy curve balls thrown around in the sprawling breadth of the 16 minute plus trilogy of suites. For the most part this is symphonic overload with more atmospheric counterpoints than actual rock instrumentation. Despite the heavy load of players on board, this one remains rather nonchalant and cruises by like a feather floating in the air.

For such a long album this one seldom really picks up steam as far as dynamics and tempos are concerned as the diversity is expressed through the timbres and tones of the various instruments as well as the time signatures and ambient backdrops. The harder rock segments that do occur are basically power chord moments and truthfully sound a little like progressive AOR even when the radio friendly guitar solos emerge. If you have the desire to go all the way with this one and find yourself with the two disc version then the second installment will bring you a few shorter instrumental pieces such as 'Flowing Brooks' which showcases the nylon guitar in tandem with lush keyboards as well as the single version of 'Dragon Island' and live and alternative versions of tracks from disc one.

If dreamy and airy fairy prog is what you crave then you can't go wrong with ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND as it delivers a crisp clean modern sounding prog sound that evokes the reverberating echoes of the past but clearly brings into context that of the modern era. As much as i try to love this, the album escapes my complete admiration for two main reasons. First is the lack of dynamism displayed throughout the album's run. For a near hour experience that are too few points of contrast as the entire shebang seems to take place in the clouds on a low energy chilled vibe sorta way. The album clearly lacks enough key moments of a energetic crescendoes. Secondly this is the sort of music that demands a talented vocalist or more to really step up to the plate and match the divine wizardry of the music itself and i find the vocalists on display to be a tad limited in their abilities to really weave their vocal magic around the tapestry of instrumentation. There is much to like about ECHOES FROM WITHIN DRAGON ISLAND as it captures the vibe of another distant reality but certain elements keep me from being reeled in completely and in the end derails my embracing fully its attempted magnificence.

Review by Matti
5 stars Antony Kalugin from Ukraine is without a doubt among the best progband leaders and composers whose music I've found recently. Be it Hoggwash, Sunchild or Karfagen, I seem to enjoy them all. This album is the latest one by Karfagen that offers marvelous 24-carat symphonic prog. I'm having the 1-CD edition, which probably doesn't lose much compared to the limited (and now sold out) 2-disc version of 94 minutes in total. The disc consists of three 'Dragon Island Suites' between 16 and 19 minutes in length plus five shorter pieces. All the lyrics are drawn from a poetry work "Child's Garden of Verses" by Robert Louis Stevenson, the author of The Treasure Island and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. These slightly naiive, narrative verses praising the children's flights of imagination form a charming entity together with the lively symphonic -- and, definitely in a good sense, romantic -- progressive rock.

The vast list of guesting musicians includes several vocalists as well, but if I'm not mistaken it's Anton Kalugin himself who handles most of the vocals. He has a pretty pleasant voice, something that would suit to CAMEL, and the softness of his voicing reminds me a bit of Roger Waters's half-spoken intimacy (think of e.g. the beginning of The Final Cut track 'Southampton Dock'). The album's music never gets very vocal-oriented: there are lengthy instrumental sections, and the vocals always function as a natural part of the music's emotional impact and the overall architecture. The other vocalists, both male and female, ensure the dynamic variety in the vocal department too. And the pure instrumental approach dominates the final quarter of the album.

The two suites that start the album are simply superb, as is the third one as well. Melodic and easily digested and yet highly adventurous in their full-blown symphonic approach. I love the way additional acoustic instruments such as violin, bassoon, flute, English horn and alto saxophone enrich the sound here and there. The production is faultless. In between the massive suites comes a charming little song 'My Bed Is a Boat' starring acoustic guitar and flute, joined by other reeds and tender vocals. A perfect way to balance things down in order to avoid being too pompous -- not that you'd get any ELP-like over-the-top carnivalism within the long pieces either.

The remaining tracks -- placed on the second disc of the 2-CD editions -- are instrumentals. On 'Flowing Brooks' the reed instruments (especially alto sax), synths and electric guitar carry the soaring melodies beautifully. Fully comparable to FOCUS on their prime time. 'Winter Rooks' is a more modest piece centered around acoustic guitar and delicately played synths. And finally the two 'Incantation' instrumentals combine spacey melodicism -- at times slightly PINK FLOYD-like -- and some dynamic changes. Excellent arrangements. Sonically this music is a bliss to me. No hesitations: five stars!

Latest members reviews

5 stars From the first opening notes this starts with the sound of ocean waves, and then we're off in true rocking Karfagen form. These guys (and girls) have NOT gone soft, although there are the softer moments that are built on strong melodies. The standard of playing is their usual high standard t ... (read more)

Report this review (#2168112) | Posted by Yeshead58 | Saturday, March 23, 2019 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I'm probably a fan of other sounds, but after reading a dozen reviews that talked about a masterpiece, I'm wondering where the error is? What I feel is a typical, very clean prog, keyboard sounds too modern and ringing, with an excessive dose of new prog, and an impressive group of guests, which how ... (read more)

Report this review (#2166539) | Posted by Khachatryan | Sunday, March 17, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Dragon Island. Amazing artwork that hooks you straight away.. I have huge collection of vinyls and can say to me it's a privilege to hold lovely looking sleeve. Say, 'Octoberon', 'Tales from Topographic Ocean ', 'Trick of the Tale' just to name a few. Honestly now, sometimes I give 'extra points ... (read more)

Report this review (#2166518) | Posted by Trinity S | Sunday, March 17, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The first thing to attract me to this album was the cover art .... I'm a sucker for a great bit of cover art and with this one Antony Kalugin has exelled in his choice of Konstantin Kansky has proved to be the right one and it really completes the package for me ... the limited edition double c ... (read more)

Report this review (#2152676) | Posted by Walshy | Wednesday, March 6, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Who can tell this formula of great art rock opus!? I have asked Antony to reveal the secret of its creation.. how it develops and turns from raw sketches into the bright ambitious statement. I know Antony for some years now and always been his fan , his way and style of composing inspires me. I' ... (read more)

Report this review (#2151718) | Posted by ValeriyK | Monday, March 4, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars That causes no surprise that Antony Kalugin makes good symphonic rock albums. This is known. But it is always a matter of surprise how good each of the new ones is. After the "Messages from Afar" dilogy I was quite intrigued about the new Karfagen album. I wondered if Antony manages to make "Tale ... (read more)

Report this review (#2151404) | Posted by GarfunkelSi | Sunday, March 3, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Karfagen - "Echoes from within Dragon Island" (2019) Limited Edition (2CDS) A new edition of the project of Antony Kalugin, Karfagen, is present very early in this 2019, in its two versions: a single CD or the limited edition in double CD. "Echoes from within Dragon Island", is the tenth albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#2136572) | Posted by dannypereznec | Friday, February 15, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Every record of Antony Kalugin's bands has got his own peculiarities, altough always in the area of prog: everytime is a kind of surprise. So when I received the parcel I did not know what to expect. I had to wait until the evening to listen to it at home, but as soon as I saw the CD I realized ... (read more)

Report this review (#2134598) | Posted by ale73 | Wednesday, February 6, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Karfagen X, Echoes from within Dragon Island 2019. A wonderful new concept album based on Robert Louis Stevenson's poetry... This package is a 4 track compilation with 3 epic Dragon Island suites and a beautiful interlude nestled in between the second and third Dragon Island suites entitled "My ... (read more)

Report this review (#2134451) | Posted by Thomas Stith | Tuesday, February 5, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I can say it's a brave album - proper symphonic rock statement. It's beauty is hidden in its atmosphere.. it's not a collection of songs, it is an epic or rock suite with its story line, mood, so well crafted sound. It hooks you right from the first bars, first notes - symphony of light fills your l ... (read more)

Report this review (#2134109) | Posted by MalenaRoss | Monday, February 4, 2019 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Antony Kalugin has again pushed the boundary of his symphonic works. This tenth album of his Karfagen project is high in style and class. The theme of this album is based on poems from the classic author Robert Louis Stevenson. Antony brings in many musicians which feeds this wonderful composit ... (read more)

Report this review (#2134017) | Posted by Drmick1971 | Sunday, February 3, 2019 | Review Permanlink

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