K2 (K Squared) is a project formed by bassist/vocalist Ken Jaquess in 2001. In 2005 they released their debut CD Book Of The Dead. At that time, the band included such notables as Allan Holdsworth. However, that was merely the studio version of the band. When the request for live gigs made it apparent that they should in fact "play out", Jaquess formed an alternate version of the group. Teaming up with Jaquess are original members Ryo Okumoto (Spock's Beard) and Doug Sanborn (The Untouchables), along with new singer Josh Gleason (The Waiting Room) and new guitarist Karl Johnson (Atlantis). They played their first gig on January 13, 2006 in Hollywood CA. This show was filmed to create the DVD currently being reviewed.
No bells and whistles here folks. I'm sure that this was thrown together on a shoestring budget, so we don't get anything fancy. The DVD offers the live concert in 2.0 stereo, with a photo gallery, a bonus video from the same 2006 tour as the main show, and some music written specifically for this DVD. In case you are new to this band (as I was when I received this DVD), Book Of The Dead is a concept album based on ancient Egypt. Musically, I'd categorize it as melodic symphonic progressive rock. Gleason sounds like a cross between Genesis-era Gabriel and Cyrus from Citizen Cain. Despite the tracks being very vocal-heavy (as is always the case in this genre), there is plenty of room in each number for the individual members to stretch out. Karl Johnson is a logical replacement for Holdsworth as his fretwork is very reminiscent of the guitar giant's, extremely technical and fluid. Spock's Beard's Ryo Okumoto is also given ample space, and his keyboard work, on both digital and analog keys, permeates every track. Despite this, the songs seem to all be in a very similar tempo, making them sound fairly interchangeable. There are,however, the required number of crescendos, obligatory in this style of progressive rock. The stage is very basic, with white and multi-colored lights but no light show per se, in order to capture the clearest images possible.
I'm left feeling somewhat indifferent towards the music of K2. I have to guess that this disc's market will lie almost exclusively with those already familiar with this band, as they have not won me over with this DVD. Not bad, but not great.
- Infinite Voyage
- Mirror Of The Spirits
- The Edge Of Light
- Forest Cathedral/Freefall
- Cloak Of Antiquity
- Beware Of Darkness