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KARIBOW

Crossover Prog • Germany


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Karibow biography
Founded in Wetter, Germany in 1996

KARIBOW is a German Crossover Prog band founded by Oliver RÜSING in late 1996. In the nineties RÜSING played with multiple projects including LAST TURION, COUNTERPARTS, CHINOOK, MAQUIS, MC WEST AND THE CANADIAN SWELL GUYS and many more, working as a live drummer, drum teacher and studio musician in Europe and North America. As he progressed through his bands, he picked up multiple influences and styles that would eventually create the foundation that would be KARIBOW. The end result is an award winning project with strong roots in Progressive Rock, Electronic Music and Album Oriented Rock.

The band originally started as a studio oriented project with RÜSING's influences shown on their earliest albums, "Shush" (released in 1997 as the GREEN WATER PROJECT), "Supernatural Foe" (1998) and "Three Times Deeper" (1999). The band took on a more mainstream rock sound from 2000-2007 recording several albums including "Tribal Avenue" (2001) and a soundtrack for "The Ayganyan Project One" (2005).

KARIBOW's progressive past finally showed up again on the concept album "A History of Inorganic Talk" (2007). Three and a half years later, "Man Of Rust" achieved the German Rock & Pop Award in the Best Arrangement category in 2011. KARIBOW's latest album "Addicted" was released in November 2014.

The band has focused more and more on live performances, with the current (May, 2015) line up of Oliver RÜSING (vocals, guitars), Chris THOMAS (guitars), Markus BERGEN (keyboards), Gerald NAHRGANG (drums/percussion) and Thomas WISCHT (bass). In December 2014, KARIBOW had the privilege to be honored with the German Rock & Pop Award again, this time as Best Progressive Band 2014.

::Bio written by Oliver Rüsing, edited by Roland113::

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KARIBOW Videos (YouTube and more)


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Buy KARIBOW Music


Supernatural Foe RebirthSupernatural Foe Rebirth
Nikomi Productions
$19.99
From Here To The ImpossibleFrom Here To The Impossible
CD Baby 2017
$10.64
$25.39 (used)
Man Of Rust (Special Edition)Man Of Rust (Special Edition)
Special Edition
CD Baby 2016
$33.98
$33.37 (used)
AddictedAddicted
CD Baby 2014
$19.99
$15.19 (used)
The UnchosenThe Unchosen
Nikomi Productions
$19.99
MonumentoMonumento
CD Baby 2018
$25.93
HolophiniumHolophinium
CD Baby 2016
$37.92 (used)

More places to buy KARIBOW music online Buy KARIBOW & Prog Rock Digital Music online:

KARIBOW discography


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

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

4.00 | 1 ratings
Supernatural Foe - Vocalized
1998
4.00 | 1 ratings
Tribe
2000
5.00 | 1 ratings
Tribal Avenue
2001
5.00 | 1 ratings
The Ayganyan Project One (OST)
2005
5.00 | 1 ratings
A History Of Inorganic Talk
2007
3.96 | 8 ratings
Man Of Rust
2011
3.94 | 14 ratings
Addicted
2014
3.86 | 70 ratings
Holophinium
2016
3.85 | 60 ratings
From Here To The Impossible
2017
3.63 | 8 ratings
The Unchosen
2018
3.89 | 8 ratings
MOnuMENTO
2018
3.40 | 5 ratings
Supernatural Foe - Rebirth
2019

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

KARIBOW Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Echoes From The Evil Past - The Best Of 1997-2005 Remastered
2006

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Three Times Deeper
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Besser
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Inorganic Talk (Acoustic)
2008
0.00 | 0 ratings
Hollow Be My World II
2009

KARIBOW Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 MOnuMENTO by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.89 | 8 ratings

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MOnuMENTO
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Oliver Rusing's KariBow has really been on a roll these last few years. Ever since earning a couple of German Music Awards early in the decade, KariBow has stepped up the gear and delivered almost two albums a year, beginning with the double disc package of "Holophinium" in 2016, 2017's "From Here to Nowhere" and the reissue of "Man of Rust", and 2018's selection of unreleased tracks "The Unchosen" along with the double disc "MOnuMENTO".

Though Oliver is responsible for nearly everything from instruments, to song-writing and vocals, to recording and mixing, he has since 2016 brought in a selection of talented guests to contribute to the KariBow sound. Guests have included the late Colin Tench (Corvus Stone, CTP, Oceans 5), Sean Timms (Unitopia, Southern Empire, Damanek), Marek Arnold (Seven Steps to the Green Door, Toxic Smile, Cyril), Monique van der Kolk (Harvest), and Michael Saddler (SAGA) to name but a few.

"MOnuMENTO" was inspired by the hypothetical thought of what if this was to be the last album Oliver could ever do. The title then incorporates the words "monument" and "memento" as a visual reminder of what Oliver Rusing and KariBow leave for the world in this hypothetical scenario. The album is a double disc with the first disc being the regular album while the second is comprised of two epic songs which are divided into parts with each part its own track on the CD.

The music is exactly what we have come to expect from KariBow: very powerful, emotive, melodic rock with beautiful interludes of soft rock and harder rocking moments. Oliver is always one to try something new to broaden the KariBow sound and he has help from several guests, including Michel St-Pere of Mystery and Huis, Hayley Griffiths of Kamataka, John Young of Lifesigns, and Joe Cairney of Comedy of Errors,

The title track is our introduction to the album and with 11:41 of music, we have an adventure awaiting us. A powerful, melodic rock song indicative of the KariBow sound, there is a beautiful sax solo.

"District of Dignity" features vocals by Hayley Grifiths and works itself from a gentle beginning toward a big stadium sound. Hayley's vocals give the song extra breadth. "Spirits on the Water" is another duet with a female vocalist and quickly became my favourite track with its beautifully haunting melodies and accouterments of well-placed world music sounds. As with most KariBow songs, there is more than one musical theme, offering pleasant surprises in the song. There's also a great keyboard solo.

The first disc wraps up the album successfully with "Seeker of Dawn" and "Elay", two more strong KariBow tracks. Disc one earns itself a place in the KariBow catalogue, and then we are off to a fairytale fantasy and a crusade with disc two.

"Prelude to a Fairytale" is an orchestral piece that could easily be the intro to a fairytale movie. "Lost Is All I Am" is one of the big highlights for me on the second disc. The protagonist has come seeking answers from a cave- dwelling creature but he fails to understand the proffered wisdom as he can't understand the words. The creature speaks in deep, grumbling tones while the protagonist speaks in German in order to emphasis the language barrier. The song then switches to a surprisingly aggressive metal theme with the lyrics barked in German. I love this part! The chorus is yet another dynamic and powerful melody.

Guest vocalist appears on "Intruder" and the adventure continues in typical KariBow fashion with "Touching the Borderline", followed by "The Lion and the Lamb", another melodic rocker at first before it returns to more orchestral music. Very beautiful. This transitions into "Keep of Fairy Blood", the conclusion to the story and in three parts, including a reprise of the melody from "Lost Is All I Am" and a music box "solo" before the song reaches its climactic conclusion. It's an adventure in music alright, but it's not over yet. Now we're off on a crusade!

"Prelude to a Crusade" is another orchestral intro and rather different from the Fairytale intro. There's some lovely harp which I feel is quite befitting the music of KariBow. The music is sombre and inspires images of a few figures setting out in the mists of early morning. Then "The Lonely Way" bursts in before easing back. I can't help catch the lines, "You're raising your sword while I'm raising my shield / Why don't you fight your battle on somebody else's field?".

"A New World" is a prime example of how KariBow can move from atmospheric music to melodic rock, then to almost hard rock before swinging back to those gorgeous melodies. Catch those soaring notes in the song's conclusion! Then the whole Crusade track concludes with "Monument of Life", acoustic guitar and accordion, while the "Crusade" melody is reiterated soft and soothing. This final track is a beautiful conclusion to not only the second disc but the "MOnuMENTO" package all together.

For my own conclusion, "MOnuMENTO" doesn't make any grand changes to the sound KariBow has established over its last six releases. The guitar sound, the music style, and of course the vocals remain consistent. But as with any KariBow album, that consistency is balanced by the broadening of the KariBow sound palette via the inclusion of guest musicians and vocalists and Oliver Rusing's perpetual interest in trying to add new things to KariBow songs. Anyone new to KariBow would do well to spin these two discs. They offer an excellent introduction to the music of KariBow.

 From Here To The Impossible by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 60 ratings

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From Here To The Impossible
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by Windhawk
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars German project KARIBOW is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Oliver Rüsing. Following many years and numerous albums released in an underground existence, Rüsing gained recognition from the music business in his native Germany in 2011. Since then his productions have risen a lot in stature, recognition and commercial impact. "From Here to the Impossible" is the most recent Karibow album, and was released through German label Progressive Promotion Records in the summer of 2017.

Those fond of the accessible side of modern day progressive rock should take note of Karibow straight away. This is elegant, flowing yet also vibrant progressive rock, and made in a manner that should make the greater majority of the songs here a perfect fit for FM radio play at that. Those who tend to enjoy bands that explore the more accessible and melodic parts of the progressive rock universe should feel right at home with this album, and this is an easy CD to recommend to that crowd.

 From Here To The Impossible by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 60 ratings

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From Here To The Impossible
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Oliver Rüsing is on a roll. His band's latest album, "From Here to the Impossible" seems to have done what a year ago might have been inconceivable: KariBow has topped "Holophinium".

But wait a moment! Back up, you say? KariBow? Holophinium? What's that? A garden shrub?

KariBow is a band project started by Oliver Rüsing way back in 1996. It was a six-piece outfit to begin with, but over the years members left and at last Oliver was the sole member. Working as an art professor and drum teacher, Oliver kept KariBow alive by writing and recording new material and releasing albums in small runs. Oliver is a talented song writer, composer, drummer, guitar player, and singer, and he seems to have no trouble handling bass and keyboards, plus he can record and mix everything on his own, and he does all the artwork to boot. Who needs a band when you can do all that?

But KariBow's releases were largely a private affair. That was until he recorded "Man of Rust" in 2011 and his wife encouraged him to submit it to the German Rock & Pop Musicians' Association and it won an award for best arrangement. Three years later, "Addicted" won the same award. Realising that he had something going on here, Oliver Rüsing began an ambitious project that would include guest musicians such as Michael Saddler (SAGA), Sean Timms (Southern Empire), and Colin Tench (Corvus Stone). It culminated in the double disc "Holophinium" which was released last year. The album proved to be a tremendous success as KariBow toured with SAGA. At the time, only "Addicted" was available from the back catalogue, but inspired by the great live reception, Oliver remixed and rereleased "Man of Rust" in the fall of 2016. And then this year in July came "From Here to the Impossible".

What makes any of the four recent albums work so well is Oliver's ability to write memorable, catchy melodies in an AOR format and blend in progressive passages or sneak in complex music beneath the melodies and beautiful choruses. Though "Addicted" and "Man of Rust" are less obviously progressive rock works (they are though!), "Holophinium" saw KariBow reaching for new heights. It was as if KariBow's music had come of age, smartly marrying melodic adult rock with modern progressive endeavors. And it's my opinion that "From Here to the Impossible" has taken one more step upwards.

Once again, KariBow delivers catchy and memorable melodies and once again the more complex passages are there. Right off the bat, we are treated to some of that in the first track "Here". But KariBow is more than just odd time signatures and stop/start rock. Once more Oliver has taken aboard a cast of outside talent and since last year also has a proper band to play live (one member joking that they were a KariBow cover band because they play live the music that KariBow wrote and recorded). This time we have Jim Gilmour of SAGA on keyboards, Sean Timms and Daniel Lopresto of Southern Empire bringing in piano/sax and guitars respectively (Daniel sings lead on "System of a Dream"), Monique Van Der Kolk of Harvest adding her beautiful vocals, Marek Arnold of Seven Steps to the Green Door and Toxic Smile contributing sax, piano and keyboards, and Mark Trueack of United Progressive Fraternity singing some backing vocals.

This team has created an album that goes where none of the other KariBow albums have gone before. Monique's vocals are angelic and complement Oliver's so well. The sax work on "Black Air" and "Never Last" is stellar, the whole instrumental intro to the former track being just superbly wonderful. And there's some orchestral arrangement for "Requiem".

Going beyond that, though, KariBow gives us harder edged rock in tracks like "Passion" and "Lost Peace" and contrasts that with such soothing ear candy in "Inside You", "Never Last" and the intros for "Crescent Man" and "Black Air". Songs are never entirely predictable because a harder-edged song might ease back and turn over a pretty melody or a softer track might crack a snare drum and slam down a power chord and change gear. One thing for certain is that for those who prefer their rock to not get too hard and heavy or too technical, KariBow is an easy choice then.

As with last year's "Holophinium", I feel KariBow have produced a very strong album that combines progressive rock with melodic rock. But it's my impression that the band has really struck just the right balance here. The music is truly coming to the forefront. Well done Oliver Rüsing and company!

 From Here To The Impossible by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.85 | 60 ratings

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From Here To The Impossible
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Crossover Team

4 stars

I don't often receive CDs these days, a combination of many labels now using digital downloads for promotional purposes and living at the bottom of the world. So, I was pleased to firstly see a padded envelope, and even more pleased when I saw what was inside it as this is a beautifully put together release. A digipak, with great artwork, there is also a twelve-page booklet with all the lyrics, even more art, and details of who played on what song. This time Karibow have brought in some guests, but to all intents and purposes this isn't a band release but a project being run by Oliver R'sing, who on some numbers provides virtually all the instrumentation as well as the vocals. The clear majority of the songs feature Oliver and just one or two others, but as he is involved to such a high degree it does mean that there is continuity and a band feel.

The seventy-two-minute-long concept album is a neo-progressive masterpiece with great songs, wonderful vocals, and lots of different styles being displayed, with influences from IQ and U2 through Porcupine Tree and Steve Hackett. From the beginning to the end there is a feeling of direction and depth, with different effects being provided to provide emphasis. This could be the delicate use of saxophone, or wonderful duets between Oliver and Monique Van Der Kolk (Harvest). The result is a well-produced modern progressive rock album that will appeal to all fans of the genre.

 Man Of Rust by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2011
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Man Of Rust
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars What a year 2016 has been! It's been such a tragic one because of all the high-profile musicians and actors who have left us or, in the case of the cancer victims, been taken from us. Others of less renown have also slipped away. However, the universe requires balance, and while we've been saddened by so many losses, I have been watching as musicians in my circle of friends and acquaintances have been enjoying a burst of success this year. One such artist is Oliver Rüsing and his band KariBow.

Oliver first formed KariBow as a six-piece band somewhere near the end of 1996, but as other obligations pressed upon the lives of each member the band dissolved. Oliver himself went on to be an art professor and word is that he was also a drum teacher. But Oliver has a gift for writing songs and composing and playing music. KariBow became a personal project for which, if I have this correctly, he wrote, composed, played all instruments (guitars, keyboards, bass, and drums), recorded, and produced all on his own. A steady succession of albums followed over the years, released in small numbers and not for a broader market beyond friends and a small interested fan base.

That began to change in 2011 with the release of "Man of Rust". His very wise and perceptive wife told him to stop making albums for the shelves and to get his music out there. Oliver submitted the album to the German Rock & Pop Musicians' Association (DRMV) and it was chosen for the award of best arrangement. Three years later, he released "Addicted" and it too won the same award, this time for best progressive band. That led to Oliver's most ambitious project yet, the phenomenal "Holophinium", a full album of progressive melodic rock with a band and a cast of stellar guests including Sean Timmins, Colin Tench, and Michael Saddler of Saga. A second disc featuring the multipart 37-minute track "Letters from the White Room" was part of the package. KariBow toured with Saga and have since played some festivals in Germany as well. With KariBow's fan base suddenly growing, an interest developed in earlier albums (at the time of the release of "Holophinium", only "Addicted" was also available on CD and "Man of Rust" was a download only). Oliver, fresh of the tour with Saga, took a brief holiday and then jumped back into the studio. The result is a re-release of "Man of Rust", remixed and remastered, with three extra studio tracks not included on the original version..

In an interview, Oliver stated that he weighed heavily the choices of simply remastering the album and re-recording the songs. A friend encouraged him to keep the originals, but Oliver felt some parts could be improved upon. So he decided to redo some parts but leave the rest and just remix the album. The new version of "Man of Rust" was released in October.

As to be expected from a KariBow album, there's a generous offering of heavy, melodic rock with many tracks hiding underlying complexities as well as a few more obvious progressive (i.e. longer an more complex) numbers. Oliver excels at writing beautiful catchy melodies, and songs like "Ceraneo", "The Big Y", and "Ceremony" are outstanding examples of his talent. The title track is probably the most complex song on the album moving through different changes to the music, sometimes quick and challenging, other times soothing or passionate. As with "Addicted", much of the album is beautiful, heavy melodic rock. Oliver doesn't try to make KariBow a progressive rock band; however, he's a creative person (he does all the album artwork himself, by the way) and when a song grows into something more than a four-minute melodic masterpiece, Oliver permits his muse to dictate the course.

Now in possession of all three KariBow CDs that are currently available, I was struck the other day with what may seem like a far-fetched comparison. Deep Purple's first two albums were similar in style though each still being distinct enough from one another. Their third, self-titled album was to me, farther reaching into prog territory. I feel "Man of Rust" and "Addicted" also share a commonality and "Holophinium" is the album that sounds more like a full-blown modern "prog" album. Whatever the case may be, I recommend all three albums to anyone who enjoys deep and rich melodic rock with a heavy guitar side and that also goes without restraint into more musically complex territory which earns KariBow a place in the progressive rock world.

 Holophinium by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 70 ratings

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Holophinium
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by guspanet

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 guitars on ¨Part of the Century¨ Karsten Stiers: Additional lead and backing vocals on ¨Orbital Spirits¨ Jurg Eschrig: Mandolina on ¨Walk on Water¨, additional vocals on ¨Holophinium¨ Daniel Neustadt: Fretless bass on ¨Angel Scent¨ and ¨Moon¨ Chris Thomas: Acoustic guitars on ¨Some Will Fall¨ Markus Bergen: Keyboard solo on ¨E.G.O.¨

Tracks: CD1: The Fragments 01. Distant Movements (01:44) 02. Holophinium (06:06) 03. E.G.O. (11:28) 04. Victims of Light (06:55) 05. Some Will Fall (04:07) 06. Connection Refused (04:35) 07. River (06:04) 08. Angel Scent (05:59) 09. King (05:04) 10. Quantum Leap (08:59)

CD2: Letter from the White Room 01. Moon (Part I) (02:15) 02. Walk on Water (Part II) (07:35) 03. Orbital Spirits (Part III) (05:04) 04. Eden (Part IV) (06:39) 05. Lifelong (Part V) (07:53) 06. Part of the Century (Part VI) (02:52) 07. Plutonian (Part VII) (03:52)

In Germany, Oliver Rüsing, at finals of 1996, created musical project by himself and he named Karibow. With 17 albums done, the originally drummer and then multiinstrumentalist, he composed, played and recorded all by himself, with occasionals guests. With mix of styles including IQ, Saga, Marillion (with Fish), etc., this band AOR Crossover Prog released in march 2016 double cd with outstanding conditions, named Holophinium, with more progressive rock like the last work: Addicted of 2014, winner of two prizes in Germany. This new work of Rüsing, with additional great musicians, begins with CD1 called The Fragments, which consist of 10 tracks, with: ¨Holophinium¨, ¨E.G.O.¨, ¨Victims of Light¨, ¨River¨ and ¨Quantum Leap¨ like the more intense . The CD 2: Letter from the White Room, represents an epic suite in itself, consisting of 7 parts, and with a more complex structure than The Fragments, with lyrics that tells about a letter who is writed by an astronaut in the white room, previous entering the spaceship. In the matter of music is similar like a rock opera with all the themes like part of a great project. Neither covers and booklet nor music and lyrics, try to define a high evolution work with solid and beautiful compositions, to obtain a musical mix because of the staff with Oliver in first place but near a few steps, excellent musicians like Sean Timms from Unitopia and Michael Sadler of Saga, to mention some of them. Ending this brief review, this double CD, in my opinion, represents the beginning of a long road in progressive rock, which certainly will have the attention of fans with this music genre. Highly recommendable.

Gustavo Panetta

 Addicted by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.94 | 14 ratings

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Addicted
Karibow Crossover Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After the brilliant success of this year's "Holophinium" album, KariBow frontman Oliver Rusing decided to remix and release the album "Man of Rust" from 2011. It will be released shortly, by the way.

In between these two albums was "Addicted" (2014). Though I haven't heard "Man of Rust" yet, I know "Holophinium" is a wonderful adventure in melodic crossover prog rock. "Addicted's" main feature is the remarkably beautiful vocal melodies and very adult contemporary melodic rock style. Listen to the first track "Change" and you'll know what I mean. Song after song has beautiful and memorable melodies, so much so that you could almost imagine getting tired of them. But you can't! At least I can't.

But with all those lovely songs that sound like they are more mainstream music - mature, intelligent, and well-crafted mind you - you shouldn't toss the album aside for being too pop. Though not as obviously in progressive country as "Holophinium", "Addicted" does set a few footprints there and early on, too! The second track, "Primeval", stretches out to include a more atmospheric part in the middle. Later "Collaborator" sticks a cool bass line in your face. "F8A1 Ba6" is the first track to really throw progressive-type music at you and lets you understand the band is not only having fun but are good at doing something more lively and challenging. The final track "9/16" is also a longer one and concludes with a powerful and melodic climax.

All the other tracks in between sway between simpler-sounding mainstream melodic AOR and somewhat more complex music added into mainstream melodic rock. But Mr. Rusing says that the music on "Addicted" can be easily enjoyed for its obvious melodies while some of the more complex parts of the music escape the unwary ear.

I'd say that if you consider a band like Saga who have done a number of very good, more mainstream-oriented albums, or Rush who applied prog experience to shorter songs, you can imagine how KariBow, with a strong prog background, could produce an album of such memorable melodies (I see special collaborator Angelo has likened KariBow to Toto and Survivor) . No, this is not obviously challenging or adventurous music. But it's an album that is very beautifully and expertly done.

 Holophinium by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 70 ratings

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Holophinium
Karibow Crossover Prog

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

 Holophinium by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 70 ratings

BUY
Holophinium
Karibow Crossover Prog

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.

 Holophinium by KARIBOW album cover Studio Album, 2016
3.86 | 70 ratings

BUY
Holophinium
Karibow Crossover Prog

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 www.angelosrockorphanage.com

Thanks to Roland113 for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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