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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: April 13th 2020
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: King Of Agogik online
Hits: 2668
Language: english

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King Of Agogik: Morning Star
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2020-04-13 18:21:37
My Score:

The first time I heard German progressive rock band King Of Agogik was in 2011 and their album From A to A. It was a fine album but then I lost touch with the band who has been led by multi-instrumentalist Hans Jörg Schmitz from the vey beginning when the project formed in 2006. In the intervening years they have released seven albums including their 2017 release titled Morning Star. Playing on the album are no less than thirteen musicians including Steve Unruh (Samurai Of Prog) adding flute and violin. The music ventures from ambient and light to heavy prog and metal with outstanding musicianship throughout the album’s eleven tracks.

The disc begins with the short and moody “Veils Open” before the album’s first epic appears in the form of “The Unavoidable Wayfare” where awesome synth and guitar, crazy odd meters, discordant rhythms and melodic lead guitar from a wonderful slice of adventurous yet highly melodic prog. Cool electronics and exotic Arabian flavourings round out the piece. Some lovely violin and acoustic guitar highlight the symphonic “To The Place Of Origin” while “Mother Of Depth” is a short ambient track. Heavier guitar work and effects make “Suprema Lex” quite an intense listen before the mood softens with the acoustic based “Ignes Fatui”. The main highlight has to be the twenty minute “The End Of Dithyramb”, a musical journey through multi-faceted soundscapes of acoustic and electric based prog. The musicianship is of a very high quality. The disc ends with the melodic “Curtain Call” featuring soaring electric guitar through the entire piece.

King Of Agogik released another stellar effort with Morning Star. I am really starting to dig their brand of symphonic prog.

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