Following quickly in the wake of 2002's Notes From the Past, Hans Lundin and Roine Stolt have put together an impressive follow-up to that remarkable comeback album from Kaipa. Returning again as well are Ritual vocalist Patrik Lundstrom, Flower Kings bassist Jonas Reingold, Mats Morgan drummer Morgan Agren, plus the introduction of phenominal female vocalist Aleena. Stylistically similar to Notes From the Past, Keyholder again updates the Kaipa sound with healthy doses of aggressive, keyboard oriented prog with a dash of Flower Kings magic thrown into the pot. It's a winning formula folks.
As is the case with many projects involving Mr. Stolt, his influence is heavily felt throughout the CD's eight songs, mainly due to his writing style (although more than half are written by Lundin) but also his guitar playing as well. Stolt has one of the most lyrical and expressive guitar voices in prog today, and he really shines here, especially on the rocking "The Weed of All Mankind", a true prog epic written by Lundin that would fit perfectly on a Flower Kings CD. Lundstrom is a powerful singer, and his vocals more than keep up with Lundin's massive Hammond, Moog, piano, and Mellotron arsenal. The keyboard ace is totally old school, laying down cascades of wicked Hammond chords throughout, as well as haunting Mellotron washes and flashy yet melodic synth solos. "Distant Voices" comes across like a bizarre hybrid of Yes, Deep Purple and Uriah Heep, and clocks in at 13:00 minutes of sheer prog intensity. Lundin weaves complex organ and synth lines on the Banco-ish "Lifetime of a Journey", a rollicking romp with shuffling rhythms and intricate wah-wah leads from Stolt, who sounds here like a frenzied Robert Fripp. Aleena's gorgeous voice makes her first appearance on this cut, and here's hoping we hear more from this talented lady in the future.
Keyholder is damn impressive, but looking at the roster involved with Kaipa now that should come as no surprise. Prog fans-run out and get this, pronto!