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CHAKRA

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Chakra biography
Chakra are an American Symphonic Prog band hailing from Orange County, Southern California in the late 70s. Their sole album was a self-titled album released in 1979, consisting of 8 tracks that were dominated by instrumental passages and atmospheric keyboards. The 5 piece band consists of keyboardist, Nigel Redmon, drummer, Tom Maxwell, bassist, John Ugarte, guitarist, Mark Blumenfeld, and vocalist David Lamb. The overall sound is similar to early Genesis or especially Yes and Emerson Lake & Palmer. The distinct classical quality in the music is virtuosic especially the grand piano flourishes of Redmon. The lyrics are based on Christian themes and are overall uplifiting and majestic in tone. The band should appeal to fans of Lift, Pentwater, ELP, and Yes.

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3.82 | 24 ratings
Chakra
1979

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CHAKRA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Chakra by CHAKRA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Chakra
Chakra Symphonic Prog

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
Special Collaborator Symphonic Team

4 stars Late 70s Symphonic prog virtuosos Chakra have one album to hang their mantle on and it is certainly an ear opener from start to finish. Replete with swathes of synthesizers orchestrated amidst sweet passages of eclectic guitar and bass, the music flows like an ebbing stream with a beauteous ripple of swirling soundscapes. The music may remind one of Emerson Lake & Palmer in places or perhaps Pentwater or unmistakeably Yes.

The emphasis is on atmospheric layers of harmonious instrumental sections with some strong vocal harmonies and odd time signatures. The keyboardist, Nigel Redmon, is omnipresent throughout, and the off kilter drumming of Tom Maxwell is a key feature, faultlessly executed . Bassist, John Ugarte, is effective with some pulsating rhythms but the main focus is on guitarist Mark Blumenfeld, who shines with some iconic riffs and solid soaring lead solos. Vocalist David Lamb is certainly an excellent performer, using very high octaves similar to Jon Anderson, ergo the Yes similarities.

At times the sound is not dissimilar to early Genesis, even with the theatricality of Peter Gabriel in some instances. A creditable component of the music is definitely the grand piano embellishments from Redmon, with Emerson-like passages mixed in the music; a potpourri of cadence and innovation.

'Newborn' is one of the best tracks with some complex time sigs and guitar harmonics. The drums are sporadic and drive the musicianship along well. This track really is reminiscent of Gabriel-era Genesis with whimsical sections and estranged lyrics; "your word like trumpet sounds, I always thought to be the one to say, you say you want to do things right, who are you to keep knocking on my door to even the score, I never wanted to be you."

'Loose Ends' has some interesting ideas in the lyrics; "The piper leads his children home, when the old man referees the bounce and nothing can delete, I know, who will win and who will lose. I walk along this night, who am I to march this soil and find what's right for man, who am I to ask for truth in this forbidden way, I'm just trying to tie up ends fall loose along the way, I can hear them talk among themselves." The instrumental section on this has a great lead break similar to Dave Gilmour's style, spacey and soaring with sustained string bends.

'Jer'maker' is another very strange one with Jamaican rhythms, percussion for the conga line, and downright quirky structure overall. it sounds effective as an instrumental with bold synth lines and a King Crimson style polyrhythmic pattern. This segues into a gentle piano solo and the vocals "Goodbye Goodbye Captain America." This perhaps may sound too ostentatious but it is really the keyboards that are grandiose and they ebb and flow with the flamboyance of Mr Wakeman. This one even features The Nice's version of "America" embedded subtly into the structure, as well as tympanic drum rolls. The final track is psychedelic weirdness with creepy strings and violin slices and perhaps the most disturbing vocal; a real fish out of water on this album.

The actual lyrics are spiritually based, loosely using Christian themes, such as 'Key to the Kingdom' but there is no evidence that the band are purporting to be an official Christian band. The album works as one that can be enjoyed in one listen, with all tracks merging together well. The tracks shift into a range of metrical shapes and intonations; at times a song ending completely different to how it began. The song within a song format is prevalent, but at no point does it sound pretentious. It is just a shame that the band are destined to be a one album wonder, but at least this album is something wondrous.

 Chakra by CHAKRA album cover Studio Album, 1979
3.82 | 24 ratings

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Chakra
Chakra Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Chakra is an obscure progressive rock band from Los Angeles, USA who manage to release only one album in 1979 selftitled in small quantities. The music this bands offer is very strong, they have some influences from Yes and here and there Genesis , but they are sounding most of the time like late american bands, with some more mainstrem effect but very well composed and played. They remind me in places of Fireballet, Harlequin Mass, maybe Nightwinds from Canada. Very strong musicianship, quite pleasent album from first to last track. Good voice of David Lamb, and in some parts spectacular keybords arrangements and great guitar elements. I was very pleasent surprised, because is a good towards great release, very unknown in prog circles, and is released in 1979, when most of the prog giants from the european continent and not only where becoming more and more mainstrem, even pop in some acts. This is a real great record that must be discovered, complex music, nice arrangements and great musicianship all over. 4 stars easy.
Thanks to atomiccrimsonrush for the artist addition.

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