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Reasoning, The: The Awakening

One of my favourite albums of 2007 and a firm choice of fellow members of the Classic Rock Society UK, The Reasoning hit all the right notes with this vital mix of classic rock, prog and AOR. The band got together when former members of Karnataka (Rachel Jones, vocals) and Magenta (Matthew Cohen, bass) teamed up (in more ways than one) and joined singer/guitar player Dylan Thompson. Gareth Jones plays keyboards with Lee Wright on guitars and Vinden Wylde on drums.

The first track has its feet firmly in the AOR camp with vocals reminiscent of Survivor or REO Speedwagon. There are some powerful 3 part harmonies and Rachel's husky voice adds further character to the strong semi-choral performance. Vibrant instrumental guitar and synth breaks intersperse the verses. A great anthem of an opener which sets a standard the rest of the album does not let down. "Chasing rainbows" starts with a spoken section and is straight out of the Mostly Autumn songbook; it sounds like a missing song from their excellent last album, Heart Full of Sky. A rich symphonic texture with intermingled solos and Dylan's soaring vocals. The following track features a more spacious arrangement within a simple song structure with a melancholic middle section and a nice liquid guitar solo. "Aching Hunger" is a driving hard rock number again illustrating just what an important asset the band have in Gareth and Dylan's contrasting but highly harmonic singing styles. It is followed by the melancholic ballad "Sacred Shape" embellished by some very impressive guitar work and crystalline melodic percussion.

A vivid solo synth figure opens up "Fallen Angels", joined sequentially by drum, then bass and guitar and finally Rachel Jones to build up a powerful rhythm and a solid orchestral underscore for the towering voices of the 3 singers. Acoustic guitar carries the second theme leading to a raunchy guitar solo. The strong chorus has a great hook to it (and the album as a whole has more than my garage wall). There is a well constructed menace to "Shadows of the Mind", with its threatening scratchy vocal and grumbling bass. The song makes good use of light and shade though with its gentle piano and cascading acoustic guitar interludes and, at counterpoint, a sweet vocal from Rachel which pours soothing oil on the angst of the lead singer. The blistering rock and roll guitar exit will be a must for a concert closer. The album's finale contains perhaps its most poignant moment. "Within Cold Glass" has the added attraction of a violin in the symphonic melange and is the most Karnataka-like of the nine tracks. Its owner Liz Prendergast sets the scene with a slow lament. Piano takes over this wistful opening and Rachel makes her first real solo appearance. Its here that the Karnataka connection is so obvious; not just in her voice but in the gradual instrumental build which was a Karnataka trademark on their last album.

The album was mixed by Dave Meegan who has also worked with Marillion so the production quality is top notch. The Marillion link is also defined by the appearance of Steve Rothery on the last track. A must have for fans of Karnataka, Magenta, Mostly Autumn and the like although it ought to have much wider appeal in the Asia or AOR community in general. The news is that work on the sophomore effort is under way with a more rock approach, allegedly like Coheed and Cambria, Amplifier and Pure Reason Revolution. They are being joined by Magenta's original (and much missed IMO) drummer, Rhys, on board.

Track Listing
1. Awakening
2. Chasing Rainbows
3. Playing The Game
4. Aching Hunger
5. Chasing Rainbows
6. Sacred Shape
7. Fallen Angels
8. Shadows Of The Mind
9. Within Cold Glass

Added: March 4th 2008
Reviewer: Richard Barnes
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2527
Language: english

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