Saturday, October 22, 2016

Kansas: Progressive for the 21 century

So Kansas, the USA's best progressive rock band, has come out with a release that harkens back to their Signature style. Two things:, first I can't say America's best example of Progressive Rock due to Rush from Canada. The next thing is the USA has great bands that are almost Progressive Rock like, Journey, Styx, Boston and early REO Speedwagon, but mostly they are Arena Rock. If the USA had to showcase its Progressive Rock band it would be Kansas.

Unfortunately, it is the 80's Kansas that went to the Arena rock stage, but with this new release,The Prelude Implicit,  the band has returned to its Progressive Rock roots. The first thing I noticed is that the violin is back. I always thought the violin was a great touch and depth to their earlier music. Unfortunately the vocal sounds of Steve Walsh are not here, but Ronnie Platt is a wonderful addition. The two vocalist are different but both can carry the right sound, and can even sing the phone book and grab my attention. The complex melodies and layers that are a staple of Progressive Rock bands are on nearly every track on the release

For the new release, The Prelude Implicit, there are 10 tracks. Eight of them I really enjoy. One I love and One I just don't care for. The first two tracks the band released, With This Heart and Visiblilty Zero are classic Kansas and got me really excited about the the bands return to form. Rhythm in the Spirit and The Voyage of Eight Eighteen are truly wonderful examples of what the USA can offer for Progressive Rock. The one track The Unsung Heroes leaves me flat, it's not awful, it is just filler. Refugee is the track that really made me stop and listen. It's haunting and the subject matter is hard but delivered in such a powerful way that it really grabs you.

The Prelude Implicit is not Leftoverture or Point of No Return but that's a good thing. No great band should step back; they need to take their music forward. Even so with different band members you can't catch that sound or chemistry again. No, The Prelude Implicit is a Progressive sound for this time from these members of the band and can be enjoyed for it.

Til next time, listen to the best -  your ears deserve it.

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