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Karmakanic: Dot

In addition to the steady line-up of bassist Jonas Reingold, vocalist Goran Edman, Morgan Agren on drums, keyboard players Lalle Larsson & Niks Erikson, and guitarist Krister Jonsson, Swedish prog veterans Karmakanic have some help on their new album Dot from folks such as Andy Tillison, Andy Bartosh, Ray Aichinger, Alex & Norah Reingold, and Christine Lenk. As always though, expect a wealth of vintage sounding prog rock in the fine tradition of Yes, Genesis, Spock's Beard, and of course, Reingold's other band, The Flower Kings.

It doesn't get more epic than the near 24-minute "God the Universe and Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part 1", a gargantuan journey filled with powerful vocals, tasty lead guitar work, Reingold's muscular bass lines, and a wealth of awesome keyboard flourishes, much of it in '70s prog fashion but also with a touch of jazz for good measure. "Higher Ground" takes a more gentle, pastoral route, avoiding the bombast of the previous track but coming across no less charming, with Edman really putting on a vocal show amid some sumptuous keyboard textures and sizzling guitar solos. "Steer By the Stars" has a more pop based feel thanks to a killer chorus, a sure bet for any Flower Kings or Spock's Beard fanatic, and "Travelling Minds" again takes the listener on a more airy, dreamy journey, images of mid '70s Genesis instantly come to mind. The closing "God the Universe and Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part 2" features folky acoustic guitars alongside vintage keys for a somber, tranquil conclusion to this lovely album.

Dot doesn't pretend to be anything other than what it is, which is an homage to glorious, '70s inspired melodic prog rock. It's no surprise that these Swedes (and most other bands from that region) have such a firm grasp of vintage sounds from that era, and once again Karmakanic have knocked it out of the park here on their latest release. Wonderful stuff!


Track Listing
1) Dot
2) God the Universe and Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part 1
3) Higher Ground
4) Steer By the Stars
5) Travelling Minds
6) God the Universe and Everything Else No One Really Cares About Part 2

Added: December 8th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band @ InsideOut Music
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Language: english

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Karmakanic: Dot
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2016-12-08 23:18:00
My Score:

If you are at all familiar with symphonic prog coming out of Scandinavia chances are you know the name Karmakanic. Through the years there have been a few bands under The Flower Kings' umbrella and Karmakanic is one of the best. They released their first album Entering The Spectra in 2002 and have a total of five studio albums to their credit including their latest titled Dot. Playing on the album are Jonas Reingold (fretted and Fretless bass, electric and acoustic guitars, keys, vocals), Göran Edman (lead vocals), Lalle Larsson (keyboards, vocals), Morgan Ågren (drums), Krister Jonsson (electric and acoustic guitars) and Nils Erikson (lead vocals), plus a number of guests including The Tangent's Andy Tillison (Hammond organ).

From the beginning of their career the band has put out incredibly solid material and Dot continues that trend. I am not sure if this my favourite Karmakanic release, that place is still held by Who's The Boss In The Factory but this latest platter is right up there alongside it.

The title track leads off the album as a short instrumental brimming with unsettling sound effects, sounding almost foreboding and is a real mind blower on headphones. I just which it was developed further than its one minute length allows. The disc's best track is the sprawling epic "God the universe and everything else that no one really cares about – Part 1", a true prog rock masterpiece. Amazing keyboard/guitar interplay, delicate acoustic guitar, heavier moments of intensity, jazzy instrumental breaks and soaring symphonic prog is what will be on the menu. Reingold's bass is also prevalent here, as fluid and dynamic as any player out there today. "Higher Ground" has a dreamy quality and is another stand out track featuring great melodies, swells of keyboards and melodic guitar work, both acoustic and electric. For more of a standard rock/pop fare the catchy "Steer By The Stars" is probably the least progressive of the bunch but still features a sublime vocal arrangement that makes it far from disposable. "Travelling Minds" features more soaring guitar while the last track "God the universe and everything else no one really cares about – Part II" ends the disc on a softer note with plaintive keyboards and piano. Another tasty melodic earworm that will surely satisfy your craving for symphonic prog.

My copy came with a bonus DVD which includes part of their 2012 performance at Rosfest and other tidbits such as interviews and further insight into the making of Dot. It is a nice bonus but just be aware the Rosfest performance can also be found on Live In The US CD/DVD released in 2014. For those of you who have not seen it this is certainly something that should be of interest to fans of the band.

Karmakanic continues to be a vitally important band in progressive rock circles. While Dot doesn't contain any hidden surprises its sheer musicality and enlightened positivity will continue to shine brightly for anyone who cares to listen.



» Reader Comments:

Karmakanic: Dot
Posted by Jason Vigo on 2016-09-02 06:33:40
My Score:

I like the album a lot, a highlight in 2016's prog releases. You review is compact and objective. FYI, I found this website at https://jonasreingold.wordpress.com with a huge amount of info about Jonas and his career before The Flower Kings. Interesting is that his 1999's Universe already was a prelude to Karmakanic.




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