Recently signed to Canadian progressive rock label Unicorn Digital, Ukrainian band Karfagen will certainly appeal to fans of recent Camel. Cinematic in scope, light in touch and romantic to the extreme, this is very easy music to listen to. Two-part opener "A Winter Tale" is a rich and warmly inviting track, chock full of grandiose melodies, symphonic keyboards and soaring emotional guitars. "Silent Anger" features sampled Mellotron flutes and strings as well as an accordion, giving the song a wonderfully folk tinged atmosphere. It's also one of only three tracks to contain vocals. "Old Legends" tips a hat to Caravan with a touch of that band's trademark distorted organ. It almost sounds as if Karfagen is going to break into "Nine Feet Underground" here!
One of the interesting things to note about this band is that the compositions are mainly in the three to five minute range. Only once ("Amused Fair") do they approach an epic and considering it's an eight-minute piece, the arrangement is very tight. In fact, the entire album is only 41 minutes in length and that's including the bonus track!
Unfortunately, the album starts to run out of steam a little bit towards the end. There are three 2 minute songs that are nice but not up to the standards set by the first 30 minutes of the album. And the bonus track is simply out of place, a sugary sweet vocal track that ends the album on a bit of a sour note.
Still, Continium deserves four stars for the very strong first six songs. Karfagen is a real coup for Unicorn Digital and hopefully we'll be hearing a lot more from this band. If you swear by Camel, early Isildur's Bane and perhaps even Kitaro at his most symphonic, Continium is an easy recommendation.
- A Winter Tale Part One (4:27)
- A Winter Tale Part Two (5:34)
- Silent Prayer (4:49)
- Old Legends (4:22)
- All That I Think About You (3:04)
- Amused Fair (8:13)
- Stone Talk (2:03)
- Marvelous Dance (3:31)
- Muse (2:38)
- Close to Heaven (bonus track) (2:43)