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King Of Agogik: Morning Star

The follow up to 2014’s Exlex Beats, Morning Star (released in 2017) was the sixth album from the project helmed by drummer Hans Jörg Schmitz under the name King Of Agogik and having had the opportunity to soak in not just the two albums named above but also the 2019 After The Last Stroke follow-up, what strikes most is the evolution between this outfit’s quick-fire releases. Yes, all three are instrumental prog and all three run the gamut between flute laden, acoustic pastoral moments to full blooded prog metal assaults, however, while Exlex Beats (my own slight favourite of the three) continually caught you off guard through the use of other band’s motifs and solos, Morning Star is a much more mature feeling outing happier using melodic, flowing material to tell its story. Something that it does via three lengthy pieces that are augmented by a number of shorter cuts which click together while remaining resolutely independent.

Although he (along with twelve other contributors) provides bass, guitar and keys, Schmitz is, in the main, a drummer and there’s little doubt that the more energetic expulsions on this album are based around that instrument. Don’t get me wrong, there are bulging bass solos, chaotic keyboard crescendos and grinding, gyrating guitars, but with the beats and fills being incredibly strong - and high in the mix without ever quite over doing it - the percussive work across this album hits home in a way that few progressive outings allow.

A flavour spotted here that maybe isn’t prevalent in the other KoA albums I’ve heard is that of Jean Michel Jarre, with moody synth layers oozing across this album and especially through the shorter tracks like “Mother Of Depth” and “Nyade” which set the scene for the more obvious show stoppers, “The Unavoidable Wayfair…”, “…To The Place Of Origin” and “The End Of Dithyramb”. With sharp guitar attacks also incorporated into these two, or so, minute outings the similarities are seen in mere flashes but there’s no doubting the depth they provide. Yes, personally (and my own instrument of choice used to be drums) the short drum solo track “The Art Of Make-Up” possibly feels a little self indulgent - at least after a few spins anyway - but with the Liquid Tension Experiment meets Joe Satriani of “Supreme Lex” coming replete with countless historic snippets from world leaders and war mongers that show both the strength and hypocrisy of the human race, and especially those in charge of it, the magnitude of what’s been attempted here is something to make you sit up and take notice.

For those who enjoy involved, intricate and thought provoking instrumental progressive workouts, Kings Of Agogik really should be on your radar.

Track Listing
1. Veils Open
2. The Unavoidable Wayfare ...
3. ...To The Place Of Origin
4. Mother Of Depth
5. Nyade
6. The Art Of Make-Up
7. Suprema Lex
8. Ignes Fatui
9. A Visit To The Mouse Barber
10. The End Of Dithyramb
11. Curtain Call

Added: March 13th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: King Of Agogik online
Hits: 630
Language: english

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