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Kens Dojo: Reincarnation

My first question and possibly your first too, is what the heck is Kens Dojo? Well it the name of the project that is really the first solo album from guitarist and Kung Fu black-belt (hence the project name) Ken Ingwersen. Outside of the dojo, Ken is best known for his expert guitar work in the bands Rags, Speed and Street Legal and his production work with the likes of TNT and more recently for main stream pop acts. Currently Ken combines those production duties with playing guitar in ex Uriah Heep man Ken Hensley's band.

Reincarnation is Ingwersen's first time striking out on his own, although he has assembled a rather impressive and eclectic cast list to embellish his songs, including TNT's Morty Black, Nils K Rue from Pagan's Mind, Michael Eriksen of Circus Maximus, the aforementioned Ken Hensley, Glenn Hughes and, rather surprisingly one time teen pop idol Chesney Hawkes! Like the guest list, the music on the album is also a little bit of a mixed bag, the opening Dokken meets TNT of "Forever", the heavily Queensryche flavoured "Keeping The Flame Alive", where Rue delivers a great vocal, "I Surrender" (not the Russ Ballard penned Rainbow hit) which sees Hughes stamp his vocal prowess all over a pretty standard rock ballad, just about belong together. Then comes the title track which could have been lifted straight from a Kip Winger solo album, apart from the fact that Chesney Hawkes shows up with a pretty stunning vocal that soars over the top of the swirling rhythms and stabbing guitar lines. I had wondered at Hawkes' inclusion on this disc, however surrounded by some truly excellent rock vocalists, his performance stand highest of them all. The last track of the opening quintet is the instrumental "Momentos A Solas", which comes over like Satriani covering Runrig it's over long and a falls a little flat.

The album continues in the same vein through the final six tracks, with "Demon In Diamonds" and "Come Alive" being driving rockers, "El Recreo" a Brian May infused guitar workout, while "Set This Angel Free" reminds of TNT again. Hensley then makes his appearance for the Uriah Heep cover "Rain", which even though it is played on acoustic guitar instead of piano, is a very true rendition until an almost symphonic burst of guitar that leads into a huge Queen like cacophony of keyboards and guitars. Closing the album out is "Soundcheck Bonanza" which is just an excuse for Ingwersen to show off and boy does he! It may veer into guitar shred showmanship, however Ken does it very well and I'd like to have had another one or two blasts like this to liven up the disc.

It is hard to pick out many flawed moments on Reincarnation, well maybe "Momentos A Solas", however the main problem with this release is that even after repeated listens, it just doesn't flow well. There are too many styles crammed onto the disc and the array (wonderful though they are) of vocalists doesn't really help matters either. If Kens Dojo decide to focus more on the fiery rock, or the slightly introverted ethnic flavours that sometimes try to come to the fore here, then considering the excellent musicianship, any follow up album could be superb, however this one falls just short.

Track Listing
1. Forever
2. Keeping The Flame
3. I Surrender
4. Reincarnation
5. Momentos A Solas
6. Demon In Diamonds
7. Come Alive
8. El Recreo
9. Set This Angel Free
10. Rain
11. Soundcheck Bonanza

Added: August 13th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Ken Ingwersen's MySpace
Hits: 2306
Language: english

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