Karmakanic is the project of Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold. Yes, this is another Flower Kings related release, and yes, Reingold is joined here by bandmates Roine Stolt on guitars and vocals, Tomas Bodin on keys, and Zoltan Csorsz on drums, as well as former FK drummer Jaime Salazar, guitarist Johan Glossner, keyboard player Robert Engstrand, and former Yngwie Malmsteen singer Goran Edman. So, can we classify this as basically another Flower Kings album? On a few songs, it comes pretty close, but there is also a Pain of Salvation-ish prog metal vibe going on here, as well as some jazz-fusion that makes this an all-around winner.
"The Spirit Remains the Same" comes close to that Pain of Salvation sound I mentioned, with heavy guitar riffs and eerie vocals from Edman. However, the Stolt sung "Cyberdust From Mars" and the epic title track are like The Flower Kings on steroids, with muscular guitar/bass interplay and complex arrangements. Stolt and Bodin deliver some hot solos on these two tunes, while Reingold never fails to impress with his intricate bass lines. I get a strong Ayreon vibe from "Space Race No:3", which soars ever so high thanks to the majestic vocals of Edman, while the funky "The Man in the Moon Cries" features some catchy lyrics about the degeneration of the earths natural resources.
Prog-metal fans will love the heavy fusion on "One Whole Half", a blistering workout featuring Reingold's complex jazz riffs intertwined with the aggressive guitars of Stolt and Glossner. More than once I was reminded of the great Jaco Pastorius during Reingold's speedy yet melodic solo. There's lush, symphonic prog on "Is This The End?", a nimble bass solo called "Cello Suite No.1 in G Major", and the Yes meets Jeff Beck/Jan Hammer groove of "Welcome to Paradise." The latter has some wild keyboard runs from Bodin and Engstrand, and complex riffs from Glossnar.
Chalk up another winner from the family of The Flower Kings. Reingold proves to be a formidable song writer, and his bass talents are top-notch. Those into the heavier spectrum of progressive rock will dig this big time.