Karcius are an instrumental progressive rock/fusion band from Montreal who recorded and released Sphere independently back in 2004. After hooking up with Unicorn Digital late in 2005 to begin recording their new album, the decision was made to have the record label remaster and reissue Sphere so a larger audience could get to hear this talented band for the first time. Good decision. Karcius mix majestic jazz fusion, prog-rock, and blistering metallic fusion almost on par with Liquid Tension Experiment, for an interesting pot of sounds and styles. The band is pretty good at plowing you over with complex and heavy breakdowns and then quickly switching over to swinging jazz and funk, like they do so well on "Liquid Meat", or playing straight melodic fusion like "Evolution", where guitarist Simon L'Esperance rips some snarling Frank Gambale inspired solos while the rest of the band grooves to an almost Chick Corea Elektric Band-like samba.
The three-part epic "Lunatik" is a very impressive, near 20 minute piece of music, with cranking guitar work, breezy electric piano from Mingan Sauriol, and the very intricate rhythm work from drummer Thomas Brodeur and bassist Dominique Blouin. The song goes through many twists and turns, and features plenty of hot solos from everyone, especially a wild bass solo from Blouin where he gets to show his funky side. At times jazzy, at times heavy, at times funky, this one has a little bit of everything.
The progressive "1111" is a nice showcase for the keyboard talents of Sauriol, especially on the piano, and "Labyrinthe" is a spooky yet funky slice of groovy metallic fusion, with husky bass lines, crunchy guitars, ominous keyboards, and wild drum fills. Featuring plenty of start/stop parts and sick time changes, this one's a complex ride from start to finish. After the bluesy jazz-metal of "Bois ta musique", which sees L'Esperance rip into some inspired Satriani-ish solos reeking with distortion and delay, the band launches into the majestic closing epic "Absolute Decadence", a gorgeous piece with great piano melodies and searing guitar solos.
As good as Sphere is, I'm thinking the best is yet to come from Karcius. These guys are jazzy enough for the fusion crowd, heavy enough for the prog-metal crowd, and complex enough for the hardcore proggers. Not only can they write memorable tunes that swing, but they have chops aplenty. Check this scorcher out, then get ready for the eventual killer album which I am sure will be to follow.
1. Kunidé (7:31)
2. Liquid Meat (5:55)
3. Evolution (3:14)
Lunatik (tracks 4, 5 & 6) (18:33)
4. Highway to the moon
6. Back to earth
7. 1111 (8:24)
8. Labyrinthe (9:03)
9. Bois ta musique (4:24)
10. Absolute Decadence (10:21)