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Knight Area: Realm Of Shadows

2009 has been a good year for progressive rock, thanks to new CDs from big guns such as Riverside with Anno Domini High Definition, Porcupine Tree's The Incident, and after many years new music from the progressive super group Transatlantic and their new CD The Whirlwind. Another very good album comes from the band Knight Area, this, their third release, has the title Realm Of Shadows, a name supplemented by some haunting cover and booklet artwork, which helps set the mood for the albums dark concept.

This Dutch symphonic/progressive rock band have come up with the goods on Realm Of Shadows. "Etheral" reminds of The Flower Kings with lots of chirpy keys and an enticing guitar solo. To the harder "Antagony", bass player Gijs Koopman really pushes this one along as he does elsewhere, plus there's a blazing solo from guitarist Mark Vermeule and vocalist Mark Smit is in fine form. Knight Area drop in two instrumentals, firstly "Momentum", which is a fun listen as the band let loose ,and next up the wondrous keys of Gerben Klazinga featured on the very atmospheric "Awakening". His playing is quite dominant at times and really is a highlight on Realm Of Shadows.

The pulsating and very good "Dark Souls" is followed by the slower, but potent, (that is, once the serenity is shattered) title track "Realm Of Shadows". Knight Area pick up the pace again for a catchy rocker called "A Million Lives", with its inviting keyboard solo. Closer, the lengthy "Occlusion", being a track of many flavors, introduced by dark spoken words, "Occlusion" has quite the cool jam section, then tapers off for a period, before bursting back to life again with a captivating guitar solo.

Listening to Knight Area's music it's nice to experience a band where everyone features heavily in the mix, their contribution are all heard loud and clear on Realm Of Shadows, just as they should be.

Track Listing
1. Ethereal
2. Antagony
3. Two Of A kind
4. Momentum
5. Awakening
6. Dark Souls
7. Realm Of Shadows
8. A Million Lives
9. Occlusion

Added: February 3rd 2010
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 3354
Language: english

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Knight Area: Realm Of Shadows
Posted by Ryan Sparks, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-02-04 12:35:18
My Score:

Realm of Shadows is the third album from Dutch progressive band Knight Area. Since 2004 they've been slowly perfecting their unique brand of melodic, symphonic rock, and Realm of Shadows, a concept album about a metaphysical journey, is undoubtedly their most complete and fully realized album to date.

What you get here are nine of the finest examples the neo-prog genre has to offer. Each composition is highlighted by a dazzling array of shimmering synth and fluid guitar solos, which are complemented perfectly by the warm, rich voice of vocalist Mark Smit. Although each of these five musicians are extremely adept on their respective instruments don't expect loads of individual masturbatory solos because Knight Area are about the songs first and foremost. Whether it's the two brief, instrumental compositions "Momentum" and "Awakening" or lengthy epics "Antagony" and "Occlusion" their songs are incredibly expansive and all encompassing.

Ken Golden and the folks over at The Laser's Edge have an uncanny knack of scanning the globe and snagging up the best new talent available in the progressive, hard rock world and Knight Area are no exception. Together with fellow Dutch bands like The Aurora Project and Kingfisher Sky, Knight Area has managed to firmly establish themselves throughout Europe, but with Realm of Shadows they have taken it to the next level. This album should be the one that finds them breaking out on a global scale.

(originally reviewed for

Knight Area: Realm Of Shadows
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-01-16 17:14:17
My Score:

This is my first acquaintance with the Netherland's band Knight Area and their new album Realm of Shadows really took me by surprise. It is hard to believe the band has been around for about twenty years and did not release their debut The Sun Also Rises until 2004. This is a fantastic album that every person who enjoys symphonic rock needs to hear.

The band consists of Gerben Klazinga (keyboards), Mark Smit (vocals, backing vocals), Mark Vermeule (guitars), Gijs Koopman (bass, Moog Taurus pedals) and Pieter van Hoorn (drums). For a long period of time Klazinga worked with various musicians until the band finally developed a more permanent line-up. Although I cannot compare Realm of Shadows to their previous two releases it stands on its own as being one of the best symphonic/neo albums of 2009.

If you enjoy keyboards in your prog you have come to the right place as they are an important fixture in Knight Area's sound. Keys and synths wind their way through these nine tunes adding subtle touches here and dramatic flourishes there. Guitars are also used to good effect, whether in melodic leads or crunchy riffs that give some songs a little more bite. Suffice to say, the musicianship is very good which brings me to the bass playing of Gijs Koopman. His playing is exceptional providing many stellar bass lines all over this disc. The vocals of Smit also stand out which is often not the case in progressive rock. He has a nice melodic voice with a good range and great control soaring one minute and demonstrating a fragile beauty the next.

With so many strong songs it is hard to single out highlights but a few come to mind like the instrumentals "Momentum" and "Awakening" with the former taking a cue from Dream Theater with heavier riffs, shred-like solos and fantastic bass that you can actually hear and the latter featuring a somber piano melodic that drips with emotion. The dramatic "Dark Souls" is another winner with its dual attack of pounding bass and drums. The lighter sections make the heavier parts that much more intense. The album ends with the epic "Occlusion" that showcases what symphonic progressive rock is all about with a sweeping keyboard arrangement, standout bass that reminded me of Pink Floyd's The Wall and excellent vocals. I love the heavy processed vocals at the beginning, the tricky tempos half way through and the striking ending.

Knight Area has released one of my favourites of 2009. If you are into bands like IQ do not let this one get away as this is an essential purchase in my book. Realm of Shadows makes a great addition to The Laser's Edge catalogue of fine music.

(originally reviewed for

Knight Area: Realm Of Shadows
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-11-28 07:09:01
My Score:

Yes, Genesis, Dream Theater, The Flower Kings even a bit of Alan Parsons comes to mind when I listen to the newest album by Knight Area called Realm Of Shadows. They most certainly have found a most entertaining blend of the old and new on this disc that has been a very welcome addition to my collection.

Finding a group that does such a good job of giving each player in the band an opportunity to show off their talent is rare. Rarer still is having enough talent in a band to make this work! Knight Area has a wealth of musical ability and letting them flaunt it makes this a special treat. Although you would have to call them a keyboard oriented group, there is many chances to hear just what the other members have up their respective sleeves. This one is just a great bit of progressive rock that will have both the old school and newcomers to the genre smiling.

Kicking off the disc with the Wakeman like keyboards of Gerben Klazinga, the band launches you into a dreamy world that is inhabited by many great musical moments. The first song "Ethereal" will have you thinking back to early Genesis or Yes and you have to give composer Klazinga a definite pat on the back as he is able to take this classic sound and give it a modern update. From there they catapult you into the very Dream Theaterish "Antagony" which is one of my favorites on the disc. Lead singer Mark Smit even gives a little LaBrie type snarl in this terrific song.

From there all bets are off as they take you on a magnificent journey through the land of progressive rock and roll and finally arrive at the final destination which they call "Occlusion". With this eleven minute epic send off, the band really leaves you wanting more. They have given you a wealth of great music and with groups like this you wish the CD would never end. This one will easily make the best of the year disc and I just wonder why they haven't caught the ear of the progressive music world yet. I know they will, it is just a matter of time. The music is too good not to be recognized.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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