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KNIGHT AREA

Neo-Prog • Netherlands


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Knight Area picture
Knight Area biography
Founded in The Netherlands in 2004

Gerben Klazinga, the primary creative force of the band, almost single handedly put together what would be KNIGHT AREA'S debut, The Sun Also Rises. The time until 2003, he operated with a variety of musicians to sort out his musical ideas. Mark Smit (MIRACLE) carried out the leading vocals, Peter van Heijningen and Jeroen Hogenboom (ex-SANGAMO) played the (lead) guitars and Ron van der Bas (what's in a name) from Toyz and the Rickenbacker-wizard Gijs Koopman (ex-CLIFFHANGER) performed the bass parts. Mark van Nieuwenhuizen (ex-SANGAMO) carried out some drum parts. Musical mates like Vincent Frijdal for the acoustic guitar parts and Arjan Groenendijk for the power chord parts helped out in constructing the basic arrangements. Stephanie Lagrande as well donated her talents to the album. Brother Joop is also present with his flute, lyrics and some co-production labor. A concept centering around a boy who is in search for his identity (to some extent an autobiographical saga). Experiences are abundant with a few trials and tribulations; nevertheless he succeeds in discovering a vigorous way to cope with his emotions. The debut was met with overwhelmingly positive reviews, thus the band began on a very positive note and even rewarded them with an invite to Nearfest in 2005.

Rather than being essentially a one-man project, the main change to note on this sophomore effort, Under A New Sign, is that KNIGHT AREA are now a 'proper' seven-piece band; this obviously helps give a sense of cohesiveness to proceedings, as well as making it possible for the band to establish themselves as a live act. Carrying on in the spirit of the debut, Under A New Sign (2007) possesses the classic neo progressive characteristics that pays homage to mainstays like Pendragon and IQ. Lush keyboards, whirling song structures that reminds one of 70's Kansas at times, KNIGHT AREA not only did not disappoint, but probably won over new fans and promises to keep producing consistent neo prog that one day could have them mentioned in the same breath with legends of the subgenre.

Eric Walker

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KNIGHT AREA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

KNIGHT AREA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 159 ratings
The Sun Also Rises
2004
3.90 | 177 ratings
Under A New Sign
2007
3.81 | 134 ratings
Realm Of Shadows
2009
3.65 | 109 ratings
Nine Paths
2011
3.22 | 63 ratings
Hyperdrive
2014
3.31 | 54 ratings
Heaven And Beyond
2017
3.75 | 29 ratings
D-Day
2019

KNIGHT AREA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.48 | 23 ratings
Rising Signs From The Shadows
2011

KNIGHT AREA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.46 | 12 ratings
Hyperlive
2015

KNIGHT AREA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

KNIGHT AREA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.92 | 12 ratings
Between Two Steps
2013

KNIGHT AREA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 D-Day by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.75 | 29 ratings

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D-Day
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Dutch prog band Knight Area was founded in 2003 by musical brainchild Gerben Klazinga (keyboards, drums, vocals and co-producer), and included singer Mark Smit (from the Queen cover band Miracle) and bass player Gijs Koopman (ex-Cliffhanger). In December 2004 I witnessed Knigth Area its first gig, supporting the debut CD release entitled The Sun Also Rises, it was an awesome Dutch triple prog concert near Amsterdam, with Plackband and Lady Lake. In my PA review in 2005 I wrote about The Sun Also Rises: 'The 10 melodic, alternating and tasteful progrock compositions feature lots of majestic Mellotron waves and flashing synthesizer runs and sensitive electric guitar soli, along beautiful instrumentation with flute, accordion and acoustic guitar. In my opinion this CD is a splendid 24-carat symphonic rock album that deserves a worldwide recognition.'

Well, as a fan of the first hour I have followed Knight Area during the years and often seen the band. I consider the third CD Realm Of Shadows from 2009 as their best effort. Then gradually Knight Area turned into a more heavy sounding band, with echoes from early Dream Theater. From that moment I lost Knight Area, despite the fact that in 2014 Dutch legend Peter Vink (Q65 and Finch) replaced Gijs Koopman. Recently I got in touch with prime mover Gerben Klazinga who send me the new album D-Day, from 2019. This 7th studio-album fearures new singer Jan Willem Ketelaers, he worked with Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon) and Robby Valentine (who is also a guest musician on this new Knight Area album).

On this new Knight Area album the band delivers very accessible melodic hardrock that borders with prog metal, bands like Queensryche, Savatage, Ayreon and Dream Theater come to my mind. It's far away from the sound on the debut album The Sun Also Rises, but I am impressed the way Knight Area presents the dramatic D-Day concept in the 10 compositions. The approach is very song-oriented with the focus on new singer JW Ketelaers (powerful and a good range) and excellent guitarist Mark Bogert (he easily switches from lots of Satriani/Vai-like blistering and biting runs to moving like Andy Latimer (Omaha Beach) or classical guitar like Steve Howe (March To Victory). Gerben Klazinga his keyboards are often functional (many beautiful orchestral layers) but at some moments he shines with runs on the synthesizer (The Landing and Wings Of Time) or waves of Hammond organ (Overlord). The rhythm-section does a good job, often propelling the heavy sound.

The songs are embellished with some captivating musical ideas, like the voices of Eisenhower and Churchill, the lyrics of a psalm, and the sound of militairy drums, all tributing to an atmosphere that matches with the dramatic subject D-Day. Another strong element is the use of dynamics, lots of heavy parts but also some slowdowns, in order to create tension. The song When I'll Be With You even features only Robby Valentine his tender Grand piano and JW Ketelaers his melancholical vocals, simply wonderful. The final track Freedom for Everyone is dedicated to the victims of the socalled Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, as a psychiatric nurse I have often seen what war does to the mental health of young soldiers, devastating! In this song Knight Area succeeds to create a very compelling atmosphere that matches with the changes of the mental state: first dreamy with warm vocals and twanging guitar, then moving guitar, strong vocals with emotional undertone and lots of fiery guitar runs (like a 'Heavy Howe') in a bombastic climate, what a strong conclusion of an impressive album.

If you are up to this heavy and accessible sounding Knight Area with its song-oriented approach, and a focus on powerful vocals and harder-edged guitar work I am sure this album will delight you, well done Dutchmen!

 Between Two Steps by KNIGHT AREA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2013
2.92 | 12 ratings

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Between Two Steps
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This EP was released some time before the Hyperdrive album, maybe a way to introduce the new band members (guitarist Mark Bogert and bassist Peter Vink, a veteran of the dutch rock scene since the 60s), and their new sound, to the fans. It has only five tracks, and two a re-recordings: Forever Now (from `The Sun Also Rises' ) and Dreamweaver (from `Under A New Sign'). Of the new stuff two are radio edits for future tracks from Hyperdrive: Bubble and the ballad This Day. The short instrumental Xerenity rounds up the material.

The re-recordings are ok, they dont differ too much from their original versions, except for the slightly louder guitar and bass parts. This and Bubble hint the new direction towards a more hard rock sound, but not much. This Day could be in any of their earlier stuff, so I guess if I had listened to Between Two Steps before Hyperdrive I would have no clue that they would change their original symphonic neo prog sound that much. Even the only new track that did not made to the next CD, Xerenity, is quite the same style as before. A pity that it is so short (barely over the two minute mark).

Rather than a taster for their new sound, Between Two Steps is more like a sad goodbye to their golden years.

Rating: 2,5 stars.

 Hyperdrive by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.22 | 63 ratings

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Hyperdrive
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I had so much difficulty to write this review Im not sure if Im ready to do it still. Well, lets try: Ive been following this dutch neo prog band since its beginning, watching them growing better with each release. And after an excellent double live album, Rising Signs From The Shadows (2011) followed a brilliant fourth studio offer, Nine Paths (from the same year), of course the expectations were high. However, it took them 3 years for Hyperdrive to see the light of day. When it did things were quite different: long time members guitarist Mark Vermeule and bassist Gijs Koopman were out. In were Mark Bogart on guitar and veteran bass player Peter Vink. And the sound changed a lot.

Of course I expected them to keep leaning a little more towards the classic symphonic progressive sound they were courting since the very beginning. Alas, that was not to be, although Knight Area did not shed their trademark sound altogether. The opening track Dont Be Afraid Of The Dark was quite misleading since its heavy guitar riffing and atmospheric keys seemed to indicate they decided to take a progressive metal approach, but that does not repeat on the remaining songs, although the guitar sound is indeed more upfront and heavier than before and the keyboards do take a kind of back-seat on several tunes, but not on all of them. On the plus side their knack for writing melodic tunes was still intact: whether you like or not their new instrumental take, the songs are very good. And in many ways I keep loving some of the stuff: Avenue Of Broken Dreams is a good example (it has a mini-moog sounding solo that is as brilliant as anything they have done in the past). Living In Confusion and Running Away are also songs that could sit comfortably side by side with tracks from any of their best moments. Still the lingering feeling after all these years is still the same: an hybrid album, with some excellent tracks bearing their old sound and some that sound a little forced and/or out of place.

So in the end I cannot shake off this feeling of strangeness. A (good) progressive band trying to sound "simpler" or "modern" for the wrong reasons. Or maybe my expectations were just too high after a string of fine albums that had a firm sense of direction, something this one does not. And even if none of the songs are bad or even weak, the production is right and the performances are spotless and tasteful, this is not a CD that is very convincing. A lack of identity? This is the main point here: For, individually, I like all of the tunes. Together they simply dont work as a whole. A band that lost their bearings, not their talent. Wish I could say more.

Rating: 3 stars.

 The Sun Also Rises by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2004
3.97 | 159 ratings

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The Sun Also Rises
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Tarcisio Moura
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Recently I realised I haven´t written a review for Knight Area's debut album, even if I had this CD early on. For some reason I did not give the attention it deserved. I guess I had too many new bands to check at the time (I had rediscovered prog music in 2002, so I had a lot to catch up). Anyway, this dutch band then produced great stuff in the following years and got a well deserved fame as one of the best neo prog bands to appear in the new millennium. But last week I found this CD and decided to give it a proper listening and I was quite surprised with what I heard.

For some reason I have always thought The Sun Also Rises was a kind of good, but derivative record, with the band still finding its way. Upon listening to it after all these years I found that this reasoning was wrong: although one could hardly called the music here challenging, the sound was already very much their own by the time they decided to put their stuff on record. Looking at the credits we see a band that was changing members during the recording of this album. However, the album flow is very even and you can´t tell the struggles they might have been facing. With absolute no fillers, Knight Area delivers a CD that is full of great songs, beautiful melodies and tasteful arrangements. I really love those Hackett/Gilmour/Rothery-like emotional guitar solos, the Banks-ish keyboards sounds, the tight rhythm section and their strong sense of melody. Mark Smit may not be the best singer around, but his delivering is more than adequate and quite convincing. Although the music here is not that original, their songwriting is far superior than most bands and it is no wonder they delivered so many excellent records in the next years.

It is hard to point a highlight, since the whole CD is beautiful and strong, but my favourites are the powerful Conspiracy and the fantastic title track with its guitar/keys duels. With a very good production for the time, The Sun Also Rises is one of the best debuts of any neo prog bands I´ve seen in many years. And I´m glad I had the opportunity to rediscover this gem I had forgotten in my collection. If you like fantastic melodies, vintage sounding keys and superb performances you can not miss this one.

Rating: 4,5 stars. Highly recommended!

 D-Day by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2019
3.75 | 29 ratings

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D-Day
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by TCat
Special Collaborator Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team

4 stars Knight Area is a Dutch Neo-prog band that was founded by Gerben Klazinga in 2004. Gerben put together a line up of musicians to help him bring about his musical vision. In September of 2019, the band released their 7th full-length studio album called "D-Day". This concept, of course, is a rather epic and historical topic to cover. There are 10 tracks total on the album and it has a 54 minute run time, but it is enough to cover this subject very well?

The line up for this album consists of Gerben Klazinga on keyboards, Jan Willem Ketelaers on lead vocals, Mark Bogert on guitar, Pieter van Hoorn on drums and Peter Vink on bass. The album is available on CD and digitally.

The album starts with the introductory track "New Horizon" (6:29) which sees the music beginning a little bit lightly as the main focus here is a spoken word section, a speech meant to rally troops, and then the music builds, interspersing heaviness and drama effectively with guitars and synths, upbeat and powerful. The vocals are perfect for the style of music, and the music is definitely Neo-prog with a bit of heaviness to it. After some vocals, the last part of the track features more spoken word recordings, this time the famous speech by Churchill. "Overlord" (5:10) continues with the heavy/neo prog sound, this time with a section that features the rapid fire drumming style that approaches djent territory, but this is just used to build up tension and to amp the atmosphere, which works quite well.

"Blood on the Risers" (5:07) starts more hesitantly with heavy synth layers and then the heavy/neo prog sound starts again, but with the synths driving more of the sound this time. It also features some counterpunctual vocal layering in the chorus. Even though it is still a moderate tempo, the music still has that heavy underlayer and a dramatic guitar riff and solo in the instrumental break. It all ends with military singing. "The Landing" (4:58) is a slow ballad of someone singing to their child to comfort them in their vacancy because of being called to war. The music intensifies later to a faster tempo and heavier sound. The track is quite powerful with emotional vocals.

"Omaha Beach" (6:01) is also an emotional track, this time remaining slow through the verses. Later in the track there is some great guitar work. "Rememberance" (4:05) picks things up in tempo again, and returns the heavier element to the music with guitar riffs taking charge, embellished by keys. "When I'll Be With You" (3:44) is a piano-drenched ballad with vocals, very emotional again, and quite full of power, but maybe a bit too sentimental. "Wings of Time" (4:35) brings on the dramatic riffs with rapid fire drumming and heavy guitars, with a slower bridge and instrumental break that is shared by both guitars and keys after the prayer of a soldier. It reflects a slow march to victory and approaches a cinematic style.

"March to Victory" (7:45) begins the English broadcast of the German's signing their surrender and the declaration that the attention of the war will now be devoted to winning against the Japanese. Two minutes in, the music finally starts with triumphant synth riffs and a moderate beat and vocal melody. The chorus again features the main melody with another vocal layered in providing counterpoint. A nice interlude with piano and soft guitar comes in during the instrumental break, later, when the drums come back in, there is a great synth solo, then more soft guitar after before returning to the chorus. The last track is "Freedom for Everyone" (6:50) is a more stately style track as it wraps up the feeling of victory and the overall prize that is won.

So, overall, it's a decent album that leans more to the Neo-prog side, but also uses healthy doses of Heavy Prog to help portray the subject. The handling of the subject is more interested in the victorious side of war and not so much the dark side of war which is the reality that surviving veterans have to live with in their memories. In that respect, it is unfortunately too sentimental more than it is realistic. In other words, it takes on the more rhetorical side of war, with freedom for all being the prize, mostly ignoring what the cost it took to gain that prize, that some people have to continue to pay a high price for gaining that prize and ignoring the fact that those people are largely ignored by the public and government because of the false hope that the prize will be enough for those women and men that have to fight with mental illness for the rest of their lives from the experience. But, anyway, for the purposes of the positive side of war, it's a good album and the music is effective in that respect. The message isn't really the right message that I would expect in the realities of war, but for the message the music is trying to convey, it is pretty good, and as for the music alone, it's a 4-star affair. But, war is never the best solution as the cost is much higher than we tend to believe.

 Realm Of Shadows by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.81 | 134 ratings

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Realm Of Shadows
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by TenYearsAfter

4 stars Dutch progrock band Knight Area their debut CD The Sun Also Rises from 2004 sold more than 8000 copies, an incredible amount for a Dutch progressive rock band. And on stage the band impressed me very much, especially by their frontman Mark Smit (ex Queen cover band Miracle) and bass player Gijs Koopman (ex-Cliffhanger) on his mighty Rickenbacker bass. Last year Knight Area released their fifth studio effort entitled Heaven And Beyond, this album has more heavy prog and prog metal overtones than their previous four releases. I would like to go back to 2009, when Knight Area presented their third album, my favourite one.

The nine alternating and pleasant compositions (between 2 and 12 minutes) again sound very accessible and melodic. And again we can enjoy a blend of 24-carat symphonic rock (in the vein of 76-77 Genesis), neo-prog (like early IQ and Pallas) and more song oriented progrock. The climates shift from dreamy (with tender piano and passionate vocals) to powerful mid-tempo rhythms (with fiery guitar runs and fat synthesizer flights) and bombastic (with lush keyboards and Moog Taurus bass pedals). In many songs the focus is on excellent guitar work (from sensitive to biting), often supported by the distinctive sound of the Hammond organ and the unsurpassed Mellotron. Knight Area is at their artistic pinnacle in the track Momentum: from a swinging bass with violin-Mellotron to a Vinage Keyboard Heaven, featuring swirling Moog and impressive choir-Mellotron, goose bumps! Also the long final composition Occlusion showcases the huge potential of Knight Area, what a cascade of shifting moods, breaks and exciting solos. And what a breathtaking grand finale, including Moog Taurus bass pedals and choir-Mellotron, I am in Vintage Progheaven! Knight Area their progrock is a fine balance between showing skills and melody, this third album is a very strong example.

 Heaven And Beyond by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.31 | 54 ratings

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Heaven And Beyond
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Progrussia

3 stars Heaven and Beyond is an attempt to bridge the hard rock guitar hero approach of Hyperdrive with the more symphonic rock stylings of earlier albums with a dash of Queen-like baroque pomposity thrown in. Looks like a formula for a predictable heavy prog-lite approach, and it kind of is, but not as bad as it sounds. The playing is very professional and the bass is booming as always. I like the flow of the album - it starts very appealing with a flashy instrumental intro to Unbroken, a song that is followed by a shorter rocker before going into a slower darker number, which is relieved by an even shorter and poppier rocker. It may not be as catchy a work as previous albums, but what we come to expect from Knight Area is evenness and that is delivered.
 Heaven And Beyond by KNIGHT AREA album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.31 | 54 ratings

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Heaven And Beyond
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by emperorken

2 stars I was quite a fan of Knight Area, up to and including their fourth album, Nine Paths. I rated each of those albums 4 stars or higher. However, I found their last album, Hyperdrive, quite disappointing, with the band going to a much more commercial, hard rock style. Anyway, I figured I would pick up this album, Heaven and Beyond, in the hope that the band would return to the form shown on their first four albums. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The band has continued its descent into a non-progressive, hard rock style, very similar to what Arena has done on their last two albums.

So just because the band has completely changed their style would not necessarily make this a bad album if the songs were good. But I found very little in the way of memorable melodies or even catchy riffs. Instead, in many cases here, the guitarist just tries to show you how many notes he can play in his solos. Now I must admit there are some good moments on the album, but most of the time, just when I thought a song was developing into something good, it ends abruptly or fades out.

So now with two consecutive disappointing albums, Knight Area will have to prove to me in the future that they still have what it takes to produce a fine progressive rock album. Sorry, but overall Heaven and Beyond does nothing for me.

 Hyperlive by KNIGHT AREA album cover DVD/Video, 2015
3.46 | 12 ratings

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Hyperlive
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Dutch band KNIGHT AREA was formed in 2004, shortly after its founder Gerben Klazinga released the album "The Sun Also Rises" using the Knight Area moniker. Since then the band has released new albums at a steady pace, with 5 full-length studio recorodings to their name so far. The live CD/DVD "Hyperlive" is their most recent production, released by the Polish label Metal Mind in 2015.

As this is Knight Area's first live DVD, fans of the band in general and those who treasure their 2014 album "Hyperdrive" in particular come across as the main audience for this live production. And while I wouldn't advise those who want to become more familiar with the band in itself to opt for this release as a good introduction, those who generally are intrigued by bands that mix their neo progressive rock with hard rock and progressive metal might find this set of live CD and DVD to merit a check.

 Hyperlive by KNIGHT AREA album cover DVD/Video, 2015
3.46 | 12 ratings

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Hyperlive
Knight Area Neo-Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Hyper-prog

In April 2015, Netherlands based Knight Area played live in Katowice Poland, supporting the excellent Arena. Their performance was captured by Metal Mind Productions, who in recent years have set the standard for DVD releases of this type.

'Hyperlive' finds the band performing their 2014 album 'Hyperdrive' in its entirety, with the exception of the track 'This day'. It may perhaps be that the song was included in the performance, but dropped due to time constraints. The band's focus throughout is on ensuring a tight rendition of the album, focusing on the strong melodies that prevail in the original recording. It appears that lead vocalist Mark Smit is the only singer in the band, thus the fine harmony vocals appear to also be by Smit and either mixed in from tape live or added in the post edit. While this certainly embellishes the live performance, it does raise the old chestnut about how 'live' a live set should be.

Regardless of that, this is a fine presentation which offers a great first sight for many of us of a first rate prog band. Musically, there are hints of Marillion and Pendragon among others, but there is at the same time a refreshing originality to the band's music. Smit's voice is particularly appealing, and fits the style of music well. There are plenty of extended keyboards and guitar breaks from Gerben Klazinga and Mark Bogert respectively.

The set is rounded off by a fine 16 minute medley of tracks from all the band's previous albums to date plus a 10 minute rendition of 'Mortal Blow' from 'The sun also rises'. A lot of thought has been put into the medley, which takes in extracts from eight different songs, but sounds like a complete work in its own right.

The DVD is completed by the usual interviews (in English), photographic and text based extras and accompanied by a CD containing the entire live performance. The digipak sleeve is well presented, with some fine artwork. Overall, a highly enjoyable experience that will hopefully open up the band to a wider audience.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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