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KDB3: Autobiograph

Borrowing a little from the title of the 1985 Bob Dylan anthology Biograph, KDB3's Autobiograph covers the entire life span of Florida-based Christian-prog vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Doug Bowers. On the second album he has recorded under the KDB3 moniker, Bowers covers the hopes, dreams and realities of a life lived both with and without God. In the liner notes, he states that Autobiograph was written in the late 1990s, and songs circulated as demos in Christian-music circles for years. These versions were recorded between 2008 and 2011.

Musically, Bowers departs from the symphonic-prog tendencies of KDB3's debut, Verite, and focuses on a classic rock/pop sound that at times evokes sonic images of Billy Joel fronting Kansas.

While Bowers plays and sings most everything here, former Glass Hammer guitarist David Wallimann channels David Gilmour on the album's seven-minute closer, "He Knows." The song cycle leading up to that epic finale includes details about Bowers' spiritual awakening ("Crisis of Faith," which appeared on the Christian-prog compilation CPR Volume 4), moral dilemmas ("Dark Side," whose majesty often belies its lyrical content) and the loss of his best friend to cancer ("Death You Lose!," a Jethro Tull-like tune punctuated by Billy Holmes' jaw-dropping guitar solo, and the piano-centric "Promise of a New Day," easily the album's prettiest piece).

Along the way, Bowers also covers his formative years as a child, the death of his father and his wife, and life in the Bible Belt. The album includes actual sound bites from newscasts at the time of his birth, onstage commentary from his mid-Seventies band Malcolm Talbot, and hellfire-and-brimstone rhetoric from actual street preachers. At first, these effects interrupt the album's flow. But additional listens reveal their importance and impact. Less transparent than, says, a post-Spock's Neal Morse album, Autobiograph's message is still direct, and Bowers is not ashamed to proudly profess his beliefs.

Bowers does not possess the strongest voice, nor can he afford the most pristine production, but his intentions are good. And so is this album.

Track Listing:
1) Opening Act
2) King's Highway
3) We're Malcolm Talbot
4) Crisis of Faith
5) The Guru
6) I Won't Play the Game
7) Who Am I?
8) Dark Side
9) Second Coming
10) Grace of God
11) Street Preacher Rant
12) Street Preacher
13) Promise of a New Day
14) Death You Lose!
15) A Gift of Peace
16) He Knows

Added: February 22nd 2012
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Doug Bowers Music
Hits: 1879
Language: english

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