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Karnataka - Secrets of Angels (CD)

Genre: Prog rock
Release Date: 30th March 2015

Label: Immrama
Catalogue Number: KTKCD007
Price: £9.99
Available: In stock


Karnataka - Secrets of Angels

Secrets of Angels is the new and hotly anticipated album from Karnataka. Featuring eight brand new tracks and showcasing a more dynamic and symphonic direction, the new album propels the band to powerful and majestic new highs. Recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studios and Quadra Studios in London the new album explores themes from despair, anguish and the futility of war to love across cultural divides and culminates in the 21 minute opus and epic title track, Secrets of Angels.

The album features guest appearances from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes and whistles, one of Ireland’s top young harpists Seána Davey and a string section from the Royal Philharmonic orchestra.

Karnataka rose to the forefront of the female-fronted symphonic progressive rock scene with the release of their landmark album Delicate Flame of Desire. Their follow up and critically acclaimed album The Gathering Light won best International Album at the World Prog awards.

The band features an international line up of world class musicians. The beautiful voice of enigmatic lead singer Hayley Griffiths (Riverdance, Lord Of The Dance), the virtuoso fretwork of Italian guitarist Enrico Pinna, the melodic driving bass of Ian Jones, the innovative and symphonic orchestrations of Turkish keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu all powerfully driven forward by the dynamic drumming of French sticks man Jimmy Pallagrosi. Together they create a beautiful tapestry of sound that transcends musical boundaries and showcases the band‘s sublime songwriting and musicianship all of which have won plaudits from Radio 2’s Bob Harris, Rick Wakeman and many others.

The band’s powerful live performances have entranced and captivated audiences across the UK, USA and European mainland and also seen them perform alongside prestigious artists such as Robert Plant and Porcupine Tree. Karnataka will be launching the album with a full UK tour in March 2015.

REVIEWS

Karnataka’s ‘Secrets of Angels’ is a work of art. This album is incredible…Special mention must go to Hayley Griffiths. Have you ever sat down and written lyrics songs and vocal for a progressive symphonic rock album? I thought not. As you will discover this album is exceptional in every facet so to have created such a masterpiece at her first attempt is truly amazing. Great credit to all artists appearing here to create such an epic piece of work from the ground up – so good you would never know this was a first album written together. Never, ever know. …These people have given everything to this album. It is superb and a wonderful illustration of their abilities as musicians, composers, technology wizards and most importantly human beings. For that is a very important ingredient in this band - they know it is their job but they to know how we feel when we receive something very special from a band. That is our bond, the special sound that these guys make - like no other - that does it for us all.

This album will have wide appeal – I found some Clannad in there, some Within Temptation, Renaissance, Kirsty MacColl, Ronan Hardiman, T’Pau, M83, Danny Elfman and Marillion; taking nothing away from the fact that this is a Karnataka album and only a Karnataka album – a new powerful symphonic sound yes, but exquisite melodies as is their trademark.

How many times have you followed a band that produces wonderful melodic songs and then change and you never want to listen to them again? Not this band. Not this album.”  www.rockreport.be

‘Secrets Of Angels’ is a triumph; an album that runs the full gamut of emotions and leaves no  

stone unturned in its quest to powerfully move anyone who takes the time to sit down with it  

and listen. Hands down, the band’s finest hour, and a validation of the belief and skills of the  

new-look band.” – By Dave Cooper, Echoes and Dust

Secrets of Angels is to The Gathering Light as Delicate Flame of Desire was to The Storm, that is to say, an exponential improvement in songwriting, arrangements, production and -- most notably -- vocal work that is nothing short of amazing. This project was clearly written and produced to take full advantage the band members' virtuosity as well as Hayley Griffith's extensive vocal training, broad range, and diversity of styles, as well as a keen ability to deliver layered self-harmonies while retaining the power and clarity a lead vocalist must have. With a series of UK dates planned to support this new album, Karnataka will clearly be a tour de force. We hope that a DVD will be produced on tour to make these live performances accessible to enthusiasts worldwide.”  (5 Stars) Musical Discoveries 

To put it short, this is an exceptional, near-perfect release from Karnataka. Very accessible (could even be used as toe-dipper into prog for Celtic music crowd), but very refined, flowing with creativity. 4,5 stars from me, rounded up to 5 and I think we have a very strong contender for the-best-album-of-the-year throne.”  Prog Archives

 

 

 

 

 



Tracks:

Road to Cairo

Because of You

Poison Ivy

Forbidden Dreams

Borderline

Fairytale Lies

Feels Like Home

Secrets of Angels

 



 Review: UK Review


Karnataka - Secrets of Angels CD (album) cover

SECRETS OF ANGELS

Karnataka


Prog Folk

 
3.76 | 39 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website


5 stars Karnataka released a rather momentous album in 2010, the stunning 'The Gathering Light' that garnered rave critical and fan plaudits, and after a rather long hiatus (5 years) that saw them slightly alter once again their line-up with the departure of the sassy lead singer Lisa Fury, drummer Ian Harris and keyboardist Gonzalo Carrera, they are back with a fine effort indeed. New lead vocalist (and quite ravishing lady) Hayley Griffiths, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi and Turkish keyboard master Cagri Tozluoglu add to the tradition of sensational voice, booming percussion and sweeping ivories, keeping the Ian Jones-led Karnataka ship in fine form. Guitarist Enrico Pinna is also back to provide some blistering leads and never disappoints. Again, they opt for another extended epic (as with the preceding album title track 'The Gathering Light', which clocked in at 14 minutes+), the whopping 20 minute opus 'Secrets of Angels' seeks to stamp the proceedings with unmistakable prog-rock credentials.Vivid pieces like the cinematographic opener 'Road to Cairo' set the mood from the get-go, introducing unpretentious, highly melodic nuggets that have all the elements to please, solid drums pushing and egging all the others forward, the melodies that infect you the very first time you perceive them, a bit like being smitten by love at first hearing, light yet resonatingly profound. From that moment on, each track seems to flow into the next, like riveting chapters in a racy romantic novel, further intoxicating the listener into a miraculous emotion- drenched fantasyland. After returning from Egypt, a delicate piano and orchestral drama on the emotionally heavier 'Because of You', slashed by a monster axe solo awaits the longing listener. A gorgeous love song. Contrast that with the slick 'Poison Ivy', a raging and tempestuous lullaby, led by a choked Griffiths vocal and diseased love lyrics. The swirling symphonics and choir elevate this to a palpitating level, tossing in a venomous verse, just to remind all of us that humans can veer from sweet to bitter in a nano-second. Both the insistent and persistent 'Forbidden Dreams' and its companion, the stormy 'Borderline' offer up instantaneous airs that do not meander in molasses-like slosh, quite the opposite really as the bombastic melodies, mammoth choruses and penetrating verses resonate with power and emphasis.
'Fairytale Lies' is a stunning little jewel, served by a classic melody, sung by a siren-like a voice that would make you feel 'reborn from the ashes' and underpinned by a Pinna solo (hihihi, as Kati would say!), a soulful Griffiths vocal that sears the skies. On a delicious track like 'Feels Like Home', the ingenuity of simplicity comes shining through, a soulful, honest internal reflection on the myriad little mosaic tiles that form our daily routine. The massive title track is deliberately kept at the end, a majestic and grandiose finale that leaves a huge impression of contentment. Brilliantly constructed with recurring Celtic themes (under the leadership of Troy Donockley) , seasoned with delicate pipes, whistles, harps and strings, and garnished with colossal orchestrations, titanic choral effects and opera-like vocals from Hayley , owner of a spectral voice that will raise the hair on your back. It's all there, folks, a heady mixture of expert playing, buzzing bass in tow, tectonic drum blasts, shimmering guitar phrasings and overpowering keyboard colorations that will leave one breathless and content. This is easily one of the finest epic pieces that one will enjoy in 2015.
As with the entire Karnataka catalog, this is not technical wizardry or complex multi-suited symphonies that many demanding progressive fans are constantly searching for but a delightful prog-folk that serves as a meticulous stargate into the prog world for the uninitiated. Accessible yet superbly orchestrated, the feminine style is ideal to woo the gentler sex, propelled by the sultry and passionate lead vocals and founded on compact melodies that will adhere to your soul forever. If you enjoy bands like Panic Room, Mostly Autumn, Harvest and a slew of similar female vocal fronted bands, Karnataka is definitely a pioneering band in this style. Team players they remain firmly, there is never a feeling of overt show-off tendencies that may be offensive, as every note is a slave to the spellbinding melody. Every song is a highlight, a lithesome pearl shining in the emerald waters of sound, gliding over well-beaten rocks like a vivid stream searching for some outlet to the faraway sea. Their best effort yet.
5 Clandestine cherubs


 Review: US Review


Karnataka – Secrets Of Angels

Mar 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

http://echoesanddust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/karnataka_secretsofangels-wpcf_300x300.jpgBy: Dave Cooper

Karnataka | website | facebook | twitter |  

Released on March 30, 2015 via Immrama Records
Karnataka are survivors. Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, they have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, helped in no small part by a scorched earth gigging mentality and some fairly prestigious support slots with the likes of progressive rock favourites Porcupine Tree and the much-loved, oft-lamented All About Eve. By 2004, it seemed nothing could prevent the band’s ascent to progressive rock favourites, and larger venues started to beckon.
Sadly, their upward trajectory ran abruptly aground when internal relationships fractured and the band went their separate ways. One of the chief songwriters, founder member Ian Jones, decided to keep the Karnataka flame burning, however, and assembled a new-look band. Critics and fans were divided about the reborn band, but Karnataka forged ahead, delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date, 2010’s The Gathering Light – but just as the album finally appeared, the band found itself short-staffed once more as various members elected to pursue other interests.
The Gathering Light possessed more of a progressive rock influence than any of the band’s previous albums: opening with two instrumentals, and possessed of three further tracks that all clocked in at over ten minutes in length, its sprawling atmospherics housed a haunting, soulful but introspective record which felt like a side-step from the Karnataka of old. Life had thrown many obstacles at chief writer Jones, and the album reflected them all, as Jones and the band overcame adversity to deliver a bruised but unbowed album of survivor anthems. The band’s new album, Secrets Of Angels, however, overflows with confidence: it’s not so much bruised as bruising. Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.
Secrets Of Angels is the band’s first studio album with a new line-up, and it’s a testament to Jones’ deep understanding of the music he’s making that the new look Karnataka are so evidently a force to be reckoned with. The renewed emergy and sense of purposes within the band is exemplified by opener ‘Road To Cairo’, which fuses Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with Jones’ fine ear for an anthemic chorus. Powered along by a relentless, powerful rhythm, it fair leaps out of the speakers, a sharp contrast with previous albums that tended to open far more gently. Incredibly, this energy level is maintained throughout the next four tracks with barely any let-up: ‘Because Of You’ opens as if it will be a gothic ballad, but soon delivers huge power chords, a dynamite vocal from vocalist Hayley Griffiths, making her first appearance – hopefully the first of many – on one of the band’s studio albums, and one of guitarist Enrico Pinna’s most outré solos to date, a cascading wail of rage and frustration that will pin you to the nearest wall. ‘Poison Ivy’ goes straight for the jugular, its chanted verses and soaring chorus underpinned by a crunching riff and elaborate orchestrations, a pattern followed by the instantly addictive ‘Forbidden Dreams’, a sprightly rocker with a hugely memorable chorus that is certain to become a sing-along favourite for fans.

 Review: Dutch review


APRIL 8, 2015 • 0
Karnataka - Secrets of Angels
One of the new releases this year which I myself have really looked forward to, this is new ofKarnataka .
And what I'm spoiled ...
By Wouter van Hal
5 years after the release of ' The Gathering Light ' is finally here the new album from Karnataka.Each time it was for me again look forward to a new album, because what makes this English band around founder Ian Jones still beautiful music. Personally, I follow the band since 2000, when " the Storm "was released. Then still with singer Rachel Jones after the break-up in 2004, no longer came back into the lineup. 15 years later and a number of staff changes is beyond this year's 4th official studio album released.
And again, the long wait rewarded. What has become a great album this is. Singer Hayley Griffiths is a great new addition. Although she already since 2011 is in the band, this is her first studio album.But she had already heard on the live album ' New Light ' from 2012 so my expectations were already high.
The album opens with a slightly oriental atmosphere in the song " Road to Cairo . " One forKarnataka concepts up-tempo track. Fine structure and of course that wonderful voice. I really can not get enough of it. Hayley does not at all inferior to its predecessors. On the contrary, I dare say.But let me guitarist Enrico Pinna remember . He conjures the most beautiful compositions from his instrument and plays full of emotion. This combination is mouth-watering. If we then the next song " Because of You " listen to all of it is still beautiful. Something quieter track makes everything even better comes into its own. So follow 5 tracks which everyone normally anyway will have to get goosebumps. The songs are all written around the vocals. In this way, this beautifully accented.
I write five tracks, but in fact there are 6, because the album consists of 8 tracks. However, the latter is a separate mention more than worth it. It is the epic title track " Secrets of Angels "of more than 20 minutes. If you think that after listening to " Feels like Home ", the penultimate track, can not be much better, I have good news ...
I am a big fan of long epic songs, and then especially when they in this way the floating living room.Oh oh oh, how lovely. What I envy anyone who can compose it. And that there are not a lot, believe me. Packed with celtic and oriental influences, this is a song that reminds me of Loreena McKennitt.Especially in the first part is a comparison made ​​it so. Pretty subdued vocals alternate with lovely rocking guitar solos. Angels Singing on acoustic guitars. Violins are picked up by bombastic drums.Everything's in order to bore the listener for a second.
I catch myself sometimes to myself there on quite excited about a new release, but that is nothing compared to this. Unfortunately, I have to wait until the vinyl version is delivered, for which only early May. The CD is already out, and I recommend everyone to give this album a listen anyway.Even if you're not a fan of female fronted ... after this album to you.
Hayley Griffiths - vocals 
Ian Jones - bass and acoustic guitar / keys 
Enrico Pinna - guitar 
Jimmy Pallagrosi - drums 
Cagri Tozluoglu - keys 

 

 Review: Frenc



KARNATAKA: SECRETS OF ANGELS (2015) 

GROUPS CLOSE: 

TRACKS:
. 01 Road to Cairo, 02. Because of You, 03. Poison Ivy, 04. Forbidden Dreams 05.Borderline, 06. Fairy-tale Lies, 07. Feels Like Home , 08. Secrets of Angels TRAINING:Cagri Tozluoglu (Keyboards), Enrico Pinna (Vocals / Guitars), Hayley Griffiths (Vocals), Ian Jones (Guitar / Bass / Keyboards), Jimmy Pallagrosi (Drums), Clive Howard (Guest / Violin ), Rachel Van Der Tang (Guest / Bagpipe) Seana Davey (guest / Harp), Troy Donockley (guest / Flute, Bagpipe) TAG: Celtic , Neo , Symphony , female Chant




Written by TonyB on 04/03/2015 

Five new (long) years have passed since the remarkable "The Gathering Light", who saw Karnataka regain color after the flight of almost all of its members, and the group led by Ian Jones we produce a neo- Symphony beautiful progressive. 

Life is not a bed of roses, it's a new bleeding the remaining duo Jones-to-the-bass and guitars in the Pinna-faced, allowing in its midst soprano Hayley Griffiths, Turkish keyboardist Cagri Tozluoglu and a "little Frenchie" behind the drums, Jimmy Pallagrosi, this quintet offers us this beginning of year 2015 his fifth album entitled "Secrets of Angels". The appetizer personified by 'Road to Cairo' reveals more qu'alléchante entrance: the sound is powerful, supported by a heavy battery, the neo-symphonic keyboards fill the space and above all, a passionate melody contours orientalizing, driven by the sublime voice Hayley Griffiths, a hit immediately. . Five minutes of pure happiness follows will switch unfortunately the wrong side of the piece: despite still put up in flamboyant, Karnataka convenes on the following six beaches pompous side eyeing greedily to the symphonic metal Nightwish and other Within Temptation . If 'Because of You' or 'Borderline' are still illusion, the melodies become more arbitrary and pieces are summarized with combos verses / choruses stronger agreed.In addition, it is left very little room for instrumental parts and any real guitar solo or section of keyboards other than the maelstrom about drowning in a flood of sound layers piling on top of each other will come vary the point. Admittedly, this epic saga breath proposed by the keyboards could stick to the soundtrack of "Lord of the Rings" or other similar fresco, but is there more in form than in substance. However, the Karnataka talent returns explode in our faces as epic as 20 minutes from close this cake. Picking up the thread of "The Gathering Light" adorning it with this new epic, the group manages to sublimate offering us a major piece sticking own shivers down the spine of any being with a receiving ear. 

After three minutes with a superb Celtic melody accompanied by flutes Troy Donockley 'Secrets of Angels' takes off for a first portion gradually rising power.Hayley Griffiths finally sing without doubling his own voice, and it thus benefits without prejudice to its sublime body. The second part of the song is also remarkable, starting with some marillionesque that one might end sessions "Clutching at Straws ", and ending with a grand final mixing Uileann Pipes and (finally!) a real ripping guitar solo soul of the listener (3 minutes of pure bliss), all served by a powerful companion army. In When evaluating this cake, and despite a final beautiful remaining long in memory, it is a slight feeling of disappointment prevails, the fault to a central portion generating over Listens best indifferent, at worst trouble.

Everyone is free to prefer the new direction of the group personified by the pop-metal-symphonic section or not. 

For me, the choice is quickly made.


 Review: French review translated


KARNATAKA: SECRETS OF ANGELS (2015) 

GROUPS CLOSE: 

TRACKS:
. 01 Road to Cairo, 02. Because of You, 03. Poison Ivy, 04. Forbidden Dreams 05.Borderline, 06. Fairy-tale Lies, 07. Feels Like Home , 08. Secrets of Angels TRAINING:Cagri Tozluoglu (Keyboards), Enrico Pinna (Vocals / Guitars), Hayley Griffiths (Vocals), Ian Jones (Guitar / Bass / Keyboards), Jimmy Pallagrosi (Drums), Clive Howard (Guest / Violin ), Rachel Van Der Tang (Guest / Bagpipe) Seana Davey (guest / Harp), Troy Donockley (guest / Flute, Bagpipe) TAG: Celtic , Neo , Symphony , female Chant




Written by TonyB on 04/03/2015 

Five new (long) years have passed since the remarkable "The Gathering Light", who saw Karnataka regain color after the flight of almost all of its members, and the group led by Ian Jones we produce a neo- Symphony beautiful progressive. 

Life is not a bed of roses, it's a new bleeding the remaining duo Jones-to-the-bass and guitars in the Pinna-faced, allowing in its midst soprano Hayley Griffiths, Turkish keyboardist Cagri Tozluoglu and a "little Frenchie" behind the drums, Jimmy Pallagrosi, this quintet offers us this beginning of year 2015 his fifth album entitled "Secrets of Angels". The appetizer personified by 'Road to Cairo' reveals more qu'alléchante entrance: the sound is powerful, supported by a heavy battery, the neo-symphonic keyboards fill the space and above all, a passionate melody contours orientalizing, driven by the sublime voice Hayley Griffiths, a hit immediately. . Five minutes of pure happiness follows will switch unfortunately the wrong side of the piece: despite still put up in flamboyant, Karnataka convenes on the following six beaches pompous side eyeing greedily to the symphonic metal Nightwish and other Within Temptation . If 'Because of You' or 'Borderline' are still illusion, the melodies become more arbitrary and pieces are summarized with combos verses / choruses stronger agreed.In addition, it is left very little room for instrumental parts and any real guitar solo or section of keyboards other than the maelstrom about drowning in a flood of sound layers piling on top of each other will come vary the point. Admittedly, this epic saga breath proposed by the keyboards could stick to the soundtrack of "Lord of the Rings" or other similar fresco, but is there more in form than in substance. However, the Karnataka talent returns explode in our faces as epic as 20 minutes from close this cake. Picking up the thread of "The Gathering Light" adorning it with this new epic, the group manages to sublimate offering us a major piece sticking own shivers down the spine of any being with a receiving ear. 

After three minutes with a superb Celtic melody accompanied by flutes Troy Donockley 'Secrets of Angels' takes off for a first portion gradually rising power.Hayley Griffiths finally sing without doubling his own voice, and it thus benefits without prejudice to its sublime body. The second part of the song is also remarkable, starting with some marillionesque that one might end sessions "Clutching at Straws ", and ending with a grand final mixing Uileann Pipes and (finally!) a real ripping guitar solo soul of the listener (3 minutes of pure bliss), all served by a powerful companion army. In When evaluating this cake, and despite a final beautiful remaining long in memory, it is a slight feeling of disappointment prevails, the fault to a central portion generating over Listens best indifferent, at worst trouble.

Everyone is free to prefer the new direction of the group personified by the pop-metal-symphonic section or not. 

For me, the choice is quickly made.


 Review: Review



Review – Karnataka – Secrets of Angels
KARNATAKA – Secrets of Angels
Let’s face it, change is inevitable. Evolution is about gradual change, we must evolve to grow. This is beginning to become something of a moot point when I discuss music and, especially, progressive music.


If something doesn’t progress it will become stagnant, lifeless and listless yet when you talk to some music fans abut progressive rock all they can talk about are the halcyon days of the 1970’s and the likes ofYes, King Crimson, Van Der Graaaf Generator and Genesis to name a few. How then is that progressing, moving forward and delivering something new?


“If we don’t change, we don’t grow, if we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.”


It has been said by minds more sage than mine that progressive music is dying. It isn’t growing and, therefore, not living.


It seems that the artists and musicians who are thriving in the current music scene are the ones who can re-invent themselves, like a Phoenix from the flames, and be reborn as something different and, potentially, something better.


This metamorphosis into something new will often come about because the current iteration of that particular band has run its course and come to a close with some members wanting a change and thinking they have nothing more to offer. What emerges from the musical chrysalis is, hopefully, new and exciting and, maybe, superior to what preceded it.


“Things end because something else is ready to begin’.


The eclectic British band Karnataka have been through more than one re-birth and re-invention in their time, formed in 1997 they have, up to now, released four studio albums and 2 live albums.


Over the years, the band have undergone many line up changes and now consists of five core members, Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals),Enrico Pinna (guitars), ‎Çağrı Tozluoğlu(keyboards), JimmyPallagrosi (drums) and original founding member Ian Jones (bass).


Could this new, stable line-up finally point to the re-birth of this long standing and popular group and would their new release ‘Secrets of Angels’ prove to be the Phoenix from the flames that many were hoping for?


Recorded at the legendary Real World Studios and featuring guest musicians Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes and low whistles), Seána Davey (harp), Rachel van der Tang (cello), Clive Howard (viola) andLynn Cook (violin), the initial rumblings were that the new album would have a heavier and more symphonic feel than their earlier, Celtic inspired, sound.


After quite a lot of listens (well into double figures in fact) I feel I can now deliver my definitive opinion on the new album so let’s get started……

“Mystery unfolds, Road to Cairo Calls..”


The album opener Road to Cairokicks in with a fantastic violin introduction before Enrico’s first heavy riff kicks in and almost knocks you sideways. A heavier sound? You betcha! Hayley’s vocal sings out the strident verse and things have well and truly begun. Instantly connecting with me, this track is superb from the incredibly catchy chorus through the dynamic keyboards and the pulsating, driving rhythm section. The orchestral arrangement by ‎Çağrı is an absolute delight and gives the track its mysterious eastern promise and the simplistic yet eloquent solo is superb. What a start!




“And it’s all because of, You turned your back on tomorrow..”


I’ve heard comparisons to Within Temptation levelled at this release and on Because of You there is a slight similarity with its definitively symphonic sound. The delicate piano introduction gives way to another thunderous riff from Enrico Pinna and that orchestral note drives it on. Hayley’s cultured vocal pares things back a bit until the forceful and charismatic chorus, complete with some superb backing vocals, really grabs your attention. The song has an overlying powerful emotion to its core, especially on the coruscating and potent guitar solo, yet still feels intimate and heartfelt and you find yourself committing to the music, even at this early stage.




“The blood in my veins runs cold, strangled by no self control..”


That powerful symphonic note driven along by the strings is at the heart of Poison Ivy. Another song with a heavier and more direct feel to it. The vocals have real dominating energy to them and invest the song with a real heart and soul. There is a warped feel of a Wagner opera to the song with its high energy backing vocals as it gallops along at a breakneck pace. The shortest track on the album, it leaves you feeling like you’ve been hit by a benevolent hurricane as it comes to a close.


“Nothing’s ever as it seems, release me from these forbidden dreams..”


Çağrı’s solemn piano and Hayley’s delicate vocal introduce Forbidden Dreamslike an Arthurian tale before the forceful guitar of Enrico urges the song into more demonstrative territory. Often the unsung heroes, Ian and Jimmy may be in the background but their compelling and assertive rhythm is the heartbeat of what this album is all about. Another ebullient and addictive chorus sticks in your mind as this determined track rushes on to the the tune of the orchestra and that aggressive guitar.




“You crossed the borderline, the secrets and the lies..”


An ominous, dark introduction, full of foreboding introduces Borderline, perhaps the heaviest track on the album. Strident strings, a forceful guitar riff and a thundering bass and drum lines give the track a life of its own. Hayely gives her best impression of a rock goddess and you a in pure late 80’s Heart territory as this anthemic track powers towards the horizon. The chorus hooks you into its slipstream as it spurs this energising song along. There is a cultivated pause for you to get your breath back before Enrico delivers another polarising solo and the fleet of foot run to catch this intriguing musical train.




“Searching for one wish, unlocked by your kiss..”


It’s time to mention the ‘B’ word. The piano and orchestral introduction allied with the heartfelt and sorrowful vocals would seem to indicate that Fairytale Lies is going to be a rock ballad and you would not be wrong. Full of powerful sentiment and affection it really pulls at your heartstrings. The velvet vocals and lush strings wash over you and you can’t help but be caught up in the strong feeling of sentiment and ardor. Enrico delivers a solo dripping with sorrow and ardor and you feel emotionally drained as the song comes to a touching close.




“Gonna love like I’ve never loved before, feels like I’ve come home for sure, baby you’re the reason..”


The gentle and ethereal plucking of a harp introduces the most mainstream, yet uplifting, track on the album. Feels Like Home has a touch of 80’s ballad style refreshed for a modern audience. It skips across your synapses and infuses you with such a feeling of love and joy that it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. Unashamedly commercial in its outlook, it is so full of a joi de vivre that you can forgive it almost anything. The inspirational chorus lifts your soul and Enrico gives his most passionate solo yet, a song of absolute wonder.




“The ghost of you, my heart denied. Your sacrifice, now broken lives. Still searching for a reason why, your shadow haunts my darkened sky, Secrets of Angels..”


Now to what could become known as the band’s Magnum Opus. The seven part, twenty minute epic title track Secrets of Angels. The song begins with a throwback to the band’s Celtic music roots with the Uilleann pipes sending a shiver down your spine and the harp adding its sophisticated accompaniment. Hayley’s voice joins in an ululating fashion and takes up the narrative. Like a storyteller from days of yore her honeyed vocals yearn for days of innocence. The tension builds with the percussive arrival of JimmyPallagrosi and in no time at all the powerful edge of this epic saga is released. Exhilarating, stirring and inspirational, this is where every member of the band gets to show their individual skills yet they all join together to deliver a seminal musical experience. The song pulsates through its many sections, powerful and exalted symphonic rock blend seamlessly with the profound and sincere, a magical musical tapestry delivered to your senses. Highlights of the first half are the instrumental parts (iii) Last Dawn and (iv) The Battlefield along with the exquisite vocal part (v) Requiem for Lifebut the way the whole track blends seamlessly into one edifying whole is a thing of genius. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and the song has always been leading up to the final part (vii) Secrets of Angels where everything concludes and culminates with such brilliance that you feel it has been touched by a higher power. Enrico finishes with the most polished and commanding guitar work I have ever heard him deliver and Hayley powers out her final words with such depth of feeling. When the song finally comes to a close I just sit in silence mentally applauding what I have just heard and experienced.


Karnataka have been reborn as a heavier more focused band with touches of symphonic rock, touches of progressive rock and a total belief in what they are doing. Yes, it probably is more commercial and mainstream than what has gone before but that is no way a bad thing. ‘Secrets of Angels’ is a masterpiece and a triumph and something that the band should be extremely proud of, long may it continue.


Rating – A must buy, this belongs in your collection.

Release date – 6th March 2015

 Review: US Review


Album Review: Karnataka - Secrets Of Angels

There are a select group of musicians in rock and metal bands who don't see themselves merely as songwriters, but instead envision themselves as composers on a grander stage, the kind of musicians who write epic strokes of genius, not just little songs. These are the albums that are slathered with massive choirs and armies of classical instruments, turning rock into an electric symphony. What they seldom realize is that they are not true composers, and their insistence on going beyond the normal scope of their genre is a self-inflicted wound, because they are marketing their grand visions to an audience that still wants plenty of conventional thinking. The best of these rock composers understands this, and manages to walk the fine line between rock and classical so that both sides feel happy with the result. It's difficult to pull off, but Karnataka has tried to do it with their massive new album, "Secrets Of Angels".
The album opens with the dramatic strings of "Road To Cairo", where the non-metal instrumentation is used to startling effect. Those notes bend the melody in a way guitars can't, and invoke a feeling rock bands can't otherwise get. The guitars bring some Egyptian feel into the riffs, but it's the strings that carry the weight of the instrumentation, slashing across the rock motifs in a way that shows they are more than mere window-dressing tacked on to a rock song, they are integral parts of the composition. As interesting as that is, what makes the song are the lush, warm melodies sung by Hayley Griffiths, who turns the song into a melodic monster. Just when you think a solid chorus has come and gone, the song builds even further into the true chorus. It's a melodic masterclass in songwriting, and a phenomenal opening statement.
"Because Of You" follows that formula, stabbing the composition with bursts of menacing strings, which heighten the tension with the smooth melodies that power the chorus. Two songs in, and the album feels like a warm blanket on a cold winter's night, with melodies that wrap around you and make you forget about everything else going on. Listening to the soft, cooing, multi-tracked harmonies in "Poison Ivy" is a thing of beauty. It's difficult to wrap dramatic rock and stirring orchestrations around such lively melodies, but Karnataka shows a deft skill in being able to balance all facets of their music.
"Forbidden Dreams" feels a bit like a play for a single, with a more driving beat, but that doesn't mean it's any less impressive. When the hook hits, it hits hard. It doesn't take long for the song to work its way into your head. And when the bridge slows things up, there's a hint of Broadway that comes through that I find endearing, because it plays right into the dramatic swell of the music.
Karnataka does a great job of maintaining the diversity of the album, without stepping away from their core sound. There are the songs that are more metallic, and moments even within them that are pure 80s pop, like the chorus in "Borderline". These little shifts in the tone are essential to making sure the record doesn't get bogged down in an hour's worth of identical music. Every song here has something different to offer, and that makes it a well-rounded listen. And even if it wasn't, the chorus of "Fairytale Lies" is so sticky and stunning that it makes any flaws inconsequential.
The centerpiece of the album is the twenty minute title track, an epic slice of progressive metal that manages to utilize its running time to put all of the band's influences into a single song. As you'll find in almost any song of this length, there are lengthy instrumental passages, but rather than feel indulgent, they are used to break the song up into smaller sections, with each one retaining the band's core commitment to making irresistibly melodic music. Sure, it could easily be a few minutes shorter, but the song is always engaging enough to not overstay its welcome.
Of course, there is an inevitable comparison I don't want to make, but with the proximity of the releases, it's hard not to think about "Secrets Of Angels" in the same breath as Nightwish's latest opus. Both are highly dramatic, orchestrated pieces of metal that feature female singers and end with twenty minute epics. That, however, is where the comparisons end. The only reason I'm letting myself indulge this line of thought is because Karnataka absolutely blows Nightwish out of the water. They won't get nearly the attention or acclaim as the bullies on the block, but in every respect Karnataka has made the better record. It's warmer, more detailed, and the songwriting is flat-out better all around. Judging just by these records, Karnataka is the band that should be headlining festivals.
It should go without saying, at this point, that my opinion of "Secrets Of Angels" is reverent. It takes something special to get me to love this kind of music, because I've never been a big fan of massive orchestrations being applied to my metal, nor female singers with a heavy dose of classical training. What Karnataka has done here is flip my own conceptions upside-down, because this is an album I shouldn't love nearly as much as I do. "Secrets Of Angels" is not just a great album, it's as perfect an example of dramatic, orchestrated metal as I can ever imagine. I was floored by this record.

 Review: Press release


For Immediate Release

UK Prog Icons Karnataka To Release New CD 'Secrets Of Angels' Featuring Epic 21-Minute Opus!

London, UK - 'Secrets of Angels' is the eagerly anticipated new album from UK rock ensemble Karnataka. Featuring eight brand new tracks and showcasing a more dynamic and symphonic direction, the new album propels the band to powerful and majestic new highs. Recorded at Peter Gabriel's Real World Studios and Quadra Studios in London the new album explores themes from despair, anguish and the futility of war to love across cultural divides and culminates in the 21-minute opus and epic title track, “Secrets of Angels”. The music was written over a period of two years following on from the band's last tours in 2012. The new tracks showcase a more dynamic and symphonic direction.
  
The album embraces several interlinked themes - temptation, lust, secrets, darkness, division and betrayal but with a constant underlying message of searching for an inner strength, to battle through when hope is lost or emotions are at their weakest, 'to step free from shadows cast'…. a sense of defiance that always wins through. Says bassist Ian Jones, “There are threads running through the album. The title track 'Secrets of Angels' has a theme of war through the ages – the futility of war – told through the eyes of two people. The despair and anguish experienced. 'Secrets of Angels' refers to the secrets a person takes to the grave… 'Road To Cairo' is a love letter to Egypt as a country but it also has a personal theme about love across religious and cultural divides. ‘Forbidden Dreams’ is about temptation and passion. ‘Poison Ivy’ is about betrayal, anger, danger...
  
The album features guest appearances from Nightwish's Troy Donockley on uilleann pipes and whistles, one of Ireland's top young harpists Seána Davey and a string section from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
  
Karnataka rose to the forefront of the female-fronted symphonic progressive rock scene with the release of their landmark album 'Delicate Flame of Desire'. Their follow up and critically acclaimed album 'The Gathering Light' won best International Album at the World Prog awards.
  
The band features an international line up of world class musicians. The beautiful voice of enigmatic lead singer Hayley Griffiths (Riverdance, Lord Of The Dance), the virtuoso fretwork of Italian guitarist Enrico Pinna, the melodic driving bass of Ian Jones, the innovative and symphonic orchestrations of Turkish keyboard player Cagri Tozluoglu all powerfully driven forward by the dynamic drumming of French sticks man Jimmy Pallagrosi. Together they create a beautiful tapestry of sound that transcends musical boundaries and showcases the band‘s sublime songwriting and musicianship all of which have won plaudits from Radio 2's Bob Harris, Rick Wakeman and many others.
  
The band's powerful live performances have entranced and captivated audiences across the UK, USA and European mainland and also seen them perform alongside prestigious artists such as Robert Plant and Porcupine Tree. Karnataka will be launching the album with a full UK tour in March 2015.
  
Tracks:
Road To Cairo
Because of You
Poison Ivy
Forbidden Dreams
Borderline
Fairytale Lies
Feels Like Home
Secrets of Angels
  
In closing Ian has this to impart, “We hope you enjoy listening to the new album as much as we enjoyed making it. Every Karnataka album is a labour of love and 'Secrets Of Angels' is no exception. We’re very proud of our new creation – time to let it loose! We've explored some darker themes in the new album… temptation, lust, secrets, darkness, division and borders and betrayal but also war… we're all living in a time of constant war… many experience the loss and anguish first hand… for others it has become a white noise constantly in the background of our lives. Writing about war is a sensitive and difficult issue – the temptation is not to try… but we didn’t feel we could ignore it. The title track 'Secrets of Angels' is about the futility of war - the anguish and despair – war through the centuries seen through the eyes of two people. A repeating theme is division and borders… both personal and cultural – another theme that is touching many today.”
  
Release Date: 9th March 2015
  
SECRETS OF ANGELS TOUR 2015
Feb 27 Bury The Met Theatre
Feb 28 Lowdham Hall
March 7 Derby Flowerpot
March 8 Bilston Robin 2
March 13 Edinburgh The Voodoo Rooms 
March 14 Chesterfield Classic Rock Society 
March 20 Bristol BierKeller
March 21 Worcester Huntingdon Hall 
March 22nd Leamington Spa (special guests of Arena)
March 26th Norwich Arts Centre 
March 27th Milton Keynes The Stables 
March 29th Southampton The Brook 
April 12th Swansea The Scene 
April 17th Leicester Y Theatre 
May 9th London Islington Assembly Hall
  

Press inquiries: Glass Onyon PR, PH: 828-350-8158, glassonyonpr@gmail.com

 Review: Review


Karnataka – Secrets of Angels

Up until about a week ago I’d never heard of Karnataka, then their new album,Secrets of Angels, started getting mentioned a lot in the Big Big TrainFacebook group I belong too. A lot of my purchases over the past year have been on the recommendation of fellow members of the group, or Passengers as they prefer to be called. To date each purchase has turned out to be a good buy, and Secrets of Angels by Karnataka is no exception.
Karnataka - Secrets of Angels
Since receiving the download on Wednesday, I’ve been listening to this album constantly. It supposedly comes under the label of prog, but in my world, there are only two labels, “Music I like” and “Music I don’t like”. Secrets of Angelsmost definitely comes under the first category!
As mentioned, I knew nothing about this group whatsoever. Their website,Karnataka.org.uk, has a comprehensive history of the band, including a section on their new vocalist Hayley Griffiths, who is probably the main reason I like this album so much. She’s a classically trained soprano with years of experience gained from extensive touring with Michael Flatley’s Riverdance and Lord of the Dance productions. And it’s the classical vocals that make this such an outstanding album. That’s not to decry the rest of the band, who sound excellent and will certainly lead me to explore their back catalogue.
Another plus point for the album is that it was recorded in Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios, never a bad thing in my view!
The album has an orchestral and operatic feel to it as well, which adds to it’s appeal in my opinion.
Anyway enough of me waffling, there’s a superb review of Secrets of Angels byKarnakata on the Progradar website here, which describes this excellent album far better than I ever could!

 Review: Belgium review translated







Tracklist
1. Road To Cairo
2. Because Of You
3. Poison Ivy
4. Forbidden Dreams
5. Borderline
6. Fairy-Tale Lies
7. Feels Like Home
8. Secrets Of Angels

Review added
March 8, 2015

Back

KARNATAKA
Secrets Of Angels
© 2015 Immrama Records
progressive rock
studio album
8 tracks
release date: March 6, 2015
http://karnataka.org.uk



Members' reviews post your review

Jarryguo (on 20/04/15)

This Is the masisi response to latest Nightwish poor effort and who´re looking for real and good Symphonic metal without the media of the majors. :)

Pagrebo (on 8/04/15)

Despite the glowing reviews from others on this site, I find this to be a very difficult CD to rate. On the one hand, the music and the musical arrangements are gorgeous. Very theatrical and dramatic. And while Hayley Griffiths vocals are pleasant and in tune, I found her singing to lack adequate expressiveness at times. My greatest misgivings about this album, however, is in the overall sound quality. The recording levels are sub-standard, resulting in a somewhat muted level of clarity. Normally, I might simply overlook something like this, but because of the theatrical flair of the compositional arrangements, it is frustrating to have an overall muted sound and an often overly restrained vocalist. So in the end, I'll rate this as Good, but could have been much better.

WOLF 359 (on 27/03/15)

I was going to write something but I think StuartsYoga has said it all really. So I'll just add that along with my good friend Paul, I think this is a bloody wonderful album, well done Karnataka.

StuartsYoga (on 17/03/15)

Karnataka’s ‘Secrets of Angels’ is a work of art. This album is incredible. This band should be on a major label and stratospheric.
Special mention must go to Hayley Griffiths. Have you ever sat down and written lyrics songs and vocal for a progressive symphonic rock album? I thought not. As you will discover this album is exceptional in every facet so to have created such a masterpiece at her first attempt is truly amazing. Great credit to all artists appearing here to create such an epic piece of work from the ground up – so good you would never know this was a first album written together. Never, ever know.
From the string opening, through the open hats bass and power chords, pounding bass onto the synth voices, multi layers of backing vocals lyrical lead vocal and melodic guitar licks the drive through this Karnataka album begins. Your journey towards the grail - and what a grail it is.
A stark piano opens ‘Because of You’ and is retained through the piece which becomes ever more symphonic as the music mounts. The production is exceptional, the volume and depth of the wall of sound gets seamlessly traded between Enrico on rhythm, Ian on bass and Jimmy on the kit whilst multi voices appear through synth, acoustic guitar and Hayley on vocals.
Programming is remarkable, the innovation and creativity leading to a powerful union throughout the whole group and that for me is a big part of this project. Writing is shared throughout the whole band. Everyone contributes to the success of this . This is very much an OUR record, not his, or mine, OURS.
Forward you are driven through Poison Ivy and Forbidden Dreams, tracks are immediate, striking and powerful.
Shall I let you into a secret? Just you wait till you get to Borderline! Fantastic track; a superb melody and watch Hayley shine! Perfectly crafted, a multi layered Kirsty MacColl-esque vocal wall and Enrico solo. What more could you ask for.
Strings, harp and vocal open ‘FairyTale Lies’, synth and piano join, finally drums, bass and that vocal wall again. The production is superb on this high class composition. Vocals are moved from solo, to duet, to choir across the stereo image on a beautifully balanced backing.
Can't get any better? Don't you believe it! Feels Like Home, harps back with strings synth and whistle bit of French Horn in there and the most gorgeous vocal - 'Like I Dream', Enrico and the boys join. A single all the way, as is Borderline for that matter - a melodic Renaissance vibe to this one. 'Baby You're The Reason' just an incredible vocal melody and performance from Hayley. And wait for the end!
Strap yourselves in the next twenty minutes could be the best thing you have heard in a very long time: 'Secrets of Angels'
A celtic opening. Wait for' She is your mistress but also my grave' - a cinematic M83 like synth erupts, with power chords, bass, the works, and suddenly its gone. Harp. Vocal. Back to the celtic cinematic and Ronan Hardiman vibe. Marillion fans you will swear Mosley and Kelly have joined the band and the Renaissance vibe kicks in again 'Will I walk these shores again?' Tenor drums, timpani, that M83 synth, strings, bass, Troy and Hayley followed by Enrico. 'Secrets of Angels Only They Know' 'Just Let It Go'
You have just spent an hour with Karnataka: Hayley Griffiths, Ian Jones, Enrico Pinna, Cagri Tozluoglu, Jimmy Pallagrosi with Troy Donockley, Seana Davey, Rachel van der Tang, Clive Howard, Lynn Cook. At Real World Sound Engineer John Walker, at Quadra Sound Engineer Enrico Pinna. Orchestral arrangements Cagri. Produced by Karnataka. Mixed by Joe Gibb. Mastered by John Dent@ Loud Mastering.
These people have given everything to this album. It is superb and a wonderful illustration of their abilities as musicians, composers, technology wizards and most importantly human beings. For that is a very important ingredient in this band - they know it is their job but they to know how we feel when we receive something very special from a band. That is our bond, the special sound that these guys make - like no other - that does it for us all.
This album will have wide appeal – I found some Clannad in there, some Within Temptation, Renaissance, Kirsty MacColl, Ronan Hardiman, T’Pau, M83, Danny Elfman and Marillion; taking nothing away from the fact that this is a Karnataka album and only a Karnataka album – a new powerful symphonic sound yes, but exquisite melodies as is their trademark.
How many times have you followed a band that produces wonderful melodic songs and then change and you never want to listen to them again?
Not this band. Not this album.
6 stars


USDHEAD (on 15/03/15)

A wonderful album from the band with a new stable line-up including Hayley Griffiths on vocals who shines like an angel throughout this release, Enrico Pinna (guitars), Cagri Tozluoglu (keyboards), Jimmy Pallagrosi (drums and percussion) and the ever-present Ian Jones (bass). There are many highlights and the album closer and title track is an almost 20-minute multi-part juggernaut that includes an input from Troy Donockley with his uilleann pipes and whistles, and initially imparts a very Celtic feel to proceedings. However, there are some wonderful songs leading up to this and they provide for a range of emotional responses from the listener. Anyone who has any of the band's previous releases will be happy bunnies and for the rest of you who enjoy majestic female-fronted melodic progressive/symphonic muisic, this one is a definite for you.

 Review: Prog Arcives Reviews


Review by tszirmay 
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover Team
5 stars Karnataka released a rather momentous album in 2010, the stunning 'The Gathering Light' that garnered rave critical and fan plaudits, and after a rather long hiatus (5 years) that saw them slightly alter once again their line-up with the departure of the sassy lead singer Lisa Fury, drummer Ian Harris and keyboardist Gonzalo Carrera, they are back with a fine effort indeed. New lead vocalist (and quite ravishing lady) Hayley Griffiths, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi and Turkish keyboard master Cagri Tozluoglu add to the tradition of sensational voice, booming percussion and sweeping ivories, keeping the Ian Jones-led Karnataka ship in fine form. Guitarist Enrico Pinna is also back to provide some blistering leads and never disappoints. Again, they opt for another extended epic (as with the preceding album title track 'The Gathering Light', which clocked in at 14 minutes+), the whopping 20 minute opus 'Secrets of Angels' seeks to stamp the proceedings with unmistakable prog-rock credentials.Vivid pieces like the cinematographic opener 'Road to Cairo' set the mood from the get-go, introducing unpretentious, highly melodic nuggets that have all the elements to please, solid drums pushing and egging all the others forward, the melodies that infect you the very first time you perceive them, a bit like being smitten by love at first hearing, light yet resonatingly profound. From that moment on, each track seems to flow into the next, like riveting chapters in a racy romantic novel, further intoxicating the listener into a miraculous emotion- drenched fantasyland. After returning from Egypt, a delicate piano and orchestral drama on the emotionally heavier 'Because of You', slashed by a monster axe solo awaits the longing listener. A gorgeous love song. Contrast that with the slick 'Poison Ivy', a raging and tempestuous lullaby, led by a choked Griffiths vocal and diseased love lyrics. The swirling symphonics and choir elevate this to a palpitating level, tossing in a venomous verse, just to remind all of us that humans can veer from sweet to bitter in a nano-second. Both the insistent and persistent 'Forbidden Dreams' and its companion, the stormy 'Borderline' offer up instantaneous airs that do not meander in molasses-like slosh, quite the opposite really as the bombastic melodies, mammoth choruses and penetrating verses resonate with power and emphasis.
'Fairytale Lies' is a stunning little jewel, served by a classic melody, sung by a siren-like a voice that would make you feel 'reborn from the ashes' and underpinned by a Pinna solo (hihihi, as Kati would say!), a soulful Griffiths vocal that sears the skies. On a delicious track like 'Feels Like Home', the ingenuity of simplicity comes shining through, a soulful, honest internal reflection on the myriad little mosaic tiles that form our daily routine. The massive title track is deliberately kept at the end, a majestic and grandiose finale that leaves a huge impression of contentment. Brilliantly constructed with recurring Celtic themes (under the leadership of Troy Donockley) , seasoned with delicate pipes, whistles, harps and strings, and garnished with colossal orchestrations, titanic choral effects and opera-like vocals from Hayley , owner of a spectral voice that will raise the hair on your back. It's all there, folks, a heady mixture of expert playing, buzzing bass in tow, tectonic drum blasts, shimmering guitar phrasings and overpowering keyboard colorations that will leave one breathless and content. This is easily one of the finest epic pieces that one will enjoy in 2015.
As with the entire Karnataka catalog, this is not technical wizardry or complex multi-suited symphonies that many demanding progressive fans are constantly searching for but a delightful prog-folk that serves as a meticulous stargate into the prog world for the uninitiated. Accessible yet superbly orchestrated, the feminine style is ideal to woo the gentler sex, propelled by the sultry and passionate lead vocals and founded on compact melodies that will adhere to your soul forever. If you enjoy bands like Panic Room, Mostly Autumn, Harvest and a slew of similar female vocal fronted bands, Karnataka is definitely a pioneering band in this style. Team players they remain firmly, there is never a feeling of overt show-off tendencies that may be offensive, as every note is a slave to the spellbinding melody. Every song is a highlight, a lithesome pearl shining in the emerald waters of sound, gliding over well-beaten rocks like a vivid stream searching for some outlet to the faraway sea. Their best effort yet.
5 Clandestine cherubs
2 social review comments  | PM tszirmay | Review Permalink
Posted Thursday, April 02, 2015 | Review this album | Report (Review #1392084)
Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I hadn't bought a Karnataka album since 2003's Delicate Flame of Desire. It's Celtic infused prog folk was pleasant enough but left me a little underwhelmed. However on a recent Classic Rock magazine freebie Cd my attention was caught by the powerful Road To Cairo with its middle-eastern vibe, strong melodies and latest singer Hayley Griffiths crystal clear expressive tones.Secrets Of Angels turns out to be a pretty good album but Road To Cairo is its best song. I'd question whether much of this music can be classed as prog, symphonic pop would seem a better description for the most part and there's certainly not much trace of the folk elements anymore. It's not complex music but all very slick and well played with a lush production. When I listen to Secrets Of Angels I could imagine a lot of this music sitting comfortably in a west end musical or in the soundtrack to a Walt Disney film like Frozen or Beauty And The Beast. Partly down to Hayley Griffiths classically trained background no doubt but sometimes the music gets a bit too sweet and twee for my tastes, especially the sugary ballad Fairytale Lies.
I did say Secrets Of Angels is a pretty good album though and it certainly does have its moments. Apart from the previously mentioned opener Road To Cairo, Poison Ivy and Borderline hit with a bit more punch. We're not talking metal here of course but the guitars do cut through the symphonic wall of sound a bit more. The album closes on a high with the 20 minute title track, which is a bit more along the lines of my pre-conceived expectations. It shifts from a Celtic flavoured opening into more bombastic orchestral flavoured parts and has plenty of dynamics with more instrumental interplay than the rest of the album put together, but still giving attention to some strong vocal melodies. At last I'm hearing some prog!
Overall then Secrets Of Angels is a pleasant listen with some strong melodies but unlikely to appeal to those who prefer their prog on the more adventurous side. A few more songs like Road To Cairo could have really raised the level considerably. As it stands a worthy 3 stars.
5 stars Karnataka has been around for more than a while. As with other bands orbiting around the Celtic folk-influenced mellow prog aesthetic, this band has been doing their work at a steady pace - releasing very pleasant, if not very pretentious albums once in 3-4 years, getting the response of their small but quite loyal fan base...
... until now, I hope. I have to admit, Secrets Of Angels is a smash. Being familiar with Karnataka's music yet still having other favourites in this scene, I expected an atmospheric, mellow album with discreet folksy nuances - what we get here is much, much more than that. Of course, we still get most of Karnataka trademarks, like excellent vocals and a nice atmosphere, but boy, what an energy!
Ever since Road To Cairo kicks in, songs bombard us either with sheer energy, or in their calmer moments, with very beautiful vocal melodies that catch your breath anyway. Music is all very colourful, never succumbing to the snooze factor which hangs upon many such releases. Besides the opener, Poison Ivy, Forbidden Dreams and Fairytale Lies seem the brilliant highlights of this very strong selection of songs. They all utilise the same weaponry of killer melodies, but when things work so well, there's no need to change.
And at last, we have the title epic - this in all honesty, is one of the best new music pieces I've heard in recent years. Here's everything Karnataka is about - Celtic intro, haunting harp sequences, achingly beautiful, versatile singing melodies, brilliant performance... And it all is connected by elaborate composition skill that goes from mood to mood, dynamic to dynamic.
To put it short, this is an exceptional, near-perfect release from Karnataka. Very accessible (could even be used as toe-dipper into prog for Celtic music crowd), but very refined, flowing with creativity. 4,5 stars from me, rounded up to 5 and I think we have a very strong contender for the-best-album-of-the-year throne.

 

 Review: Karnataka GRTR UK review


 

Album review: KARNATAKA – Secrets Of Angels

Posted on April 5, 2015 by GRTR! HQ
KARNATAKA - Secrets Of Angels
Immrama [Release date 30.03.15]
To be blunt, the first impressions of Secrets Of Angels – played live at Bury Met in February – weren’t great.  The band blamed the venue and the lack of an adequate sound check, but as they’d  recorded the 2013 New Light in concert DVD there, the excuses sounded, frankly, questionable.  And if I’m honest, none of the band looked like they were having a good time.
And while ‘first night’ gremlins/nerves might be understandable, the ‘real thing’ suffers a similar lack of ‘presence’, or identity.  Perhaps no surprise, perhaps because since day 1, Karnataka has been a constant revolving door of players and only guitarist Enrico Pinna remains from the band that recorded the excellent The Gathering Light (2010), along with mainstay Ian Jones.
Five years is a long time in the evolution of Karnataka and they’ve seen almost as many personnel changes in the interim.  You wonder what attracted Hayley Griffiths – previously a lead singer with Michael Flatley’s Riverdance and Lord Of The Dance productions – to join such a fragile eco-system.
Certainly no blame can be laid at her door.  Her ‘West End’ training was evident in live performance where she was the only one who attempted to make ‘contact’ with the audience.  Jones and keyboardist Cagri Tozluoglu engaged in a navel gazing competition (Tozluoglu won hands down) and guitarist Pinna’s only eye contact was with drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi (with whom he seemed to be having a private joke).  All-round, it was frankly uncomfortable.
Secret Angels is, however, a polished set that sees Karnataka stray into the more melodic end of the Nightwish symphonic rock spectrum featuring guest musicians Troy Donockley (Uilleann pipes and low whistles), Irish harpist Seána Davey, Rachel van der Tang (cello) and Clive Howard (viola) from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Quite why seemingly every band in the melodic prog ‘space’ feels the need to employ the services of Donockley is a mystery.  An accomplished player, yes, but he adds nothing to the diversity of the genre and his pervading presence makes it virtually impossible at times to distinguish where Secrets Of Angels ends and Nightwish begins.
And that identity crisis extends in other directions – the excellent opening ‘Road To Cairo’ bears a striking resemblance – vocally and otherwise – to Christina Booth and Magenta.  And therein lies the rub, Secrets Of Angels is a perfectly good album – well played and executed.  But there’s no ‘killer’ material with – much like the live performance – one number running almost indistinguishably into the next.
At times, it’s like the band are firing on three cylinders and you just want them to ‘kick on’ and rock out.  But it doesn’t happen.  Big arrangements are the order of the day.  Perhaps tellingly, the highlight is ‘Feels Like Home’ a song that sounds custom made for a Lloyd Webber production.  Griffiths shines on the track and one wonders whether the marriage of her polished musical theatre background to a progressive rock band will be an enduring one.   ****
Review by Pete Whalley

 Review: Review


Guys there is a big space in the middle of the review (copied like that for some reason - so scroll past it to read the rest or the review)

Karnataka – Secrets Of Angels

Mar 19, 2015 | 1 Comment

http://echoesanddust.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/karnataka_secretsofangels-wpcf_300x300.jpgBy: Dave Cooper

Karnataka | website | facebook | twitter |  

Released on March 30, 2015 via Immrama Records
Karnataka are survivors. Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, they have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, helped in no small part by a scorched earth gigging mentality and some fairly prestigious support slots with the likes of progressive rock favourites Porcupine Tree and the much-loved, oft-lamented All About Eve. By 2004, it seemed nothing could prevent the band’s ascent to progressive rock favourites, and larger venues started to beckon.
Sadly, their upward trajectory ran abruptly aground when internal relationships fractured and the band went their separate ways. One of the chief songwriters, founder member Ian Jones, decided to keep the Karnataka flame burning, however, and assembled a new-look band. Critics and fans were divided about the reborn band, but Karnataka forged ahead, delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date, 2010’s The Gathering Light – but just as the album finally appeared, the band found itself short-staffed once more as various members elected to pursue other interests.
The Gathering Light possessed more of a progressive rock influence than any of the band’s previous albums: opening with two instrumentals, and possessed of three further tracks that all clocked in at over ten minutes in length, its sprawling atmospherics housed a haunting, soulful but introspective record which felt like a side-step from the Karnataka of old. Life had thrown many obstacles at chief writer Jones, and the album reflected them all, as Jones and the band overcame adversity to deliver a bruised but unbowed album of survivor anthems. The band’s new album, Secrets Of Angels, however, overflows with confidence: it’s not so much bruised as bruising. Here the band sound truly re-energised, thrumming with barely suppressed vitality. The progressive rock influence has for the most part been dialled back substantially, only really surfacing significantly on the epic, closing title track; the result is a much more immediate and focused album with more immediately hooky and memorable songs.
Secrets Of Angels is the band’s first studio album with a new line-up, and it’s a testament to Jones’ deep understanding of the music he’s making that the new look Karnataka are so evidently a force to be reckoned with. The renewed emergy and sense of purposes within the band is exemplified by opener ‘Road To Cairo’, which fuses Zeppelin’s ‘Kashmir’ with Jones’ fine ear for an anthemic chorus. Powered along by a relentless, powerful rhythm, it fair leaps out of the speakers, a sharp contrast with previous albums that tended to open far more gently. Incredibly, this energy level is maintained throughout the next four tracks with barely any let-up: ‘Because Of You’ opens as if it will be a gothic ballad, but soon delivers huge power chords, a dynamite vocal from vocalist Hayley Griffiths, making her first appearance – hopefully the first of many – on one of the band’s studio albums, and one of guitarist Enrico Pinna’s most outré solos to date, a cascading wail of rage and frustration that will pin you to the nearest wall. ‘Poison Ivy’ goes straight for the jugular, its chanted verses and soaring chorus underpinned by a crunching riff and elaborate orchestrations, a pattern followed by the instantly addictive ‘Forbidden Dreams’, a sprightly rocker with a hugely memorable chorus that is certain to become a sing-along favourite for fans.
The album continues with ‘Borderline’, a track with two faces: after opening with another suitably gothic flourish, all wind and a tolling church bell, it reveals itself as a chugging riff-based rocker, with a grimly accusatory lyric; however, the mood is utterly transformed by the distinctly pop chorus. Catharsis and hope in the face of adversity is perhaps Karnataka’s bread and butter, and ‘Borderline’ is an almost perfect distillation of that duality. It’s followed by the highly dramatic ‘Fairytale Lies’, which is reminiscent of Within Temptation at their most balefully reflective, a glorious concoction of tumbling keys and a striking string arrangement, topped off by a lyric that is superb in its cynical acceptance of reality and Griffiths’ astonishing vocal, a masterclass in mood and atmosphere. Yet the mood lifts once again with the penultimate track, ‘Feels Like Home’, a pretty, touching ballad about discovering “the one” that happily avoids the trap many ballads fall into – the cardinal sin of over-sentimentality. The way it develops is compellingly cinematic: as the song goes on, more and more layers are added to the music and the vocal, as if the virtual camera is pulling slowly back to reveal more and more of the stage. It ends in a cascade of harmony vocals, like embers from a firework display drifting back down to earth, and is possibly one of the best ballads the band have ever delivered.

After all this drama, it would take something very special indeed not to be anticlimactic, but the title track itself – all twenty minutes of it – is certainly not that. Karnataka have shown themselves to be masters of longer pieces before, never falling into the self-conscious prog trap of simply pasting together a bunch of disparate pieces of music and hoping for the best. Although this magnum opus is comprised of seven separately numbered and titled parts – count ‘em! – it somehow manages to feel organically grown rather than stitched together in a lab. In many ways, it’s the ultimate distillation of what the new-look Karnataka are all about: we have folky, Celtic sections featuring guest appearances from Nightwish’s Troy Donockley; delicate balladry; a pounding symphonic metal interlude, and some outright prog courtesy of penultimate section ‘In The Name Of God’, which opens like Marillion in their pomp and steadily dials up the intensity. The effect is almost total sensory overload, and it will likely take many listens to unlock all the detail, musically and lyrically. Any piece of this length has to end strongly, and happily Karnataka have saved their ace in the hole for the dying moments of the album, as everyone pulls out all the stops for the grand finale. Pinna delivers one of his most devastating solos; Donockley serves up a Uillean pipe solo to die for, and the rhythm section get stuck in as Cagri and the assembled string section provide a backdrop of dizzying beauty for Griffiths to deliver possibly her finest vocal to date. It’s unspeakably moving, a beautiful lament for the losers on the battlefields of life and love that will quite likely require more than one handkerchief.
It feels wrong to call current vocalist Hayley Griffiths the “new vocalist”, since she’s been touring with the band since very early in 2012. With a background in large musical productions (Irish dance spectaculars Riverdance and Lord Of The Danceboth feature in her quite extensive CV), fronting a rock band was something completely new for Griffiths, and it isn’t perhaps surprising that the first batch of dates she undertook with the band – where the live release New Light was recorded – saw her nailing the demanding vocal parts without breaking a sweat, but looking slightly self-conscious on stage. As anyone who has seen the band recently will attest, any inhibitions that Griffiths may once have had on stage are long since gone, and that confidence has found its way onto the album, where she delivers a flawless, powerful performance. From fiery rock vocals to the lofty, operatic extreme of her range, Griffiths is perfectly on point throughout, as at home with riff-based rockers like ‘Road to Cairo’ and ‘Poison Ivy’ as she is with the gothic balladry of ‘Fairytale Lies’. It’s a bravura showcase for a highly gifted performer, and it’s practically impossible to come away from hearing her in action here not having reached the conclusion that she is the perfect foil for the band. Powerfully charismatic, hugely versatile and technically magnificent, her vocals on the closing title track in particular shame many better known female rock vocalists.
Çağrı Tozluoğlu, on keys, is a similarly impressive recruit. Eschewing the more traditional progressive rock influences of previous keysman Gonzalo Carrera, Tozluoğlu brings a welcome modernity to the band. His soloing is sparsely used, but when it does appear (as on ‘Poison Ivy’), it’s wonderfully fluid. Where Tozluoğlu excels is in his shaping of mood and his orchestrations: his epic approach to arrangement means that this is the biggest-sounding Karnataka album to date. The danger of dialling up the drama is that sonically the music is weighed down until it sounds overwrought, but Tozluoğlu knows exactly when a bit more is too much. Nowhere is this more evident than in the expansive title track, where the gradual crescendoes and sudden juddering launches into explosive instrumental sections are handled with a very fine hand. Even as the song builds more and more layers upon Tozluoğlu’s musical architecture, it never feels like drama for the sake of drama; it all feels natural, logical.
Last of the new arrivals is the most recent one, French drummer Jimmy Pallagrosi, whose performance here is frankly the stuff of future legend. With all the energy of progressive legends like Mike Portnoy, Pallagrosi’s explosive playing lends the material added potency and urgency whilst anchoring it to earth, playing a key role in giving it real weight and momentum. His Bonham-esque voyages around his kit during ‘Road to Cairo’ are a joy to hear; at the same time, his restraint on some of the quieter pieces – such as ‘Fairytale Lies’ – demonstrates a keen musicality and a knowledge of where to leave space for the music to breathe. In a world seemingly filled with drummers who appear to treat every song as a drum solo, Pallagrosi’s keen sense of dynamics is both refreshing and exactly what the material needs. He is, in short, the right drummer at the right time.
Secrets Of Angels is a triumph. Wonderfully melodic, hugely dramatic without being in any way corny, varied in feel yet somehow effortlessly cohesive, beautifully recorded and mixed, and very sympathetically mastered, it is fairly easily the best-sounding album the band have made. The material is fabulously strong, and managed to both tread new ground and sound like ‘classic’ Karnataka at the same time – no mean feat, especially with all the new blood involved in its writing. As the epic title track draws to a breathless close, the listener may find themselves exhausted – drained by an album that runs the full gamut of emotions and leaves no stone unturned in its quest to powerfully move anyone who takes the time to sit down with it and listen. Hands down, the band’s finest hour, and a validation of the belief and skills of the new-look band. The only difficulty Karnataka now face is how to top it.

 Review: Review


Karnataka – Secrets of Angels
29 Mar. 2015
Artist: Karnataka
Released: March 30th, 2015
Genre: Symphonic Rock
Posted by: Rich Jones

Secrets of Angels is the latest album from Welsh band Karnataka. Before I was sent the promo of the album, I wasn’t all that familiar with their music. And indeed, I wasn’t hugely blown away by what I had heard from their older material. It was pleasant symphonic prog with some nice ideas and unusual touches, but nothing that especially excited me. Never one to be swayed by preconceptions, however, I immersed myself in this new album and have felt rewarded for doing so! It appears to be a bit of a change in direction for the band. For the most part, the songs are relatively straightforward in structure, and stylistically the album doesn’t stray too much from solid symphonic rock. Other than the 20-minute epic title track, I wouldn’t really call the rest of the album prog, for example. At times it reminds me of some of the earlier to mid-era material by Within Temptation.

If any of this sounds like any kind of criticism, it shouldn’t, because it’s not. For me, the band have musically hit their stride here. The music is big in scope, more so that in their previous outputs, with lush melodies, gorgeous vocal harmonies and fantastic use of symphonic backing. Performances are also strong, and the addition of two new members since their last full release seems to have done the band a lot of favours. Cagri Tozluoglu on keyboards does a nice job with his backing keys, but importantly has contributed a lot with his top-notch orchestral arrangements. Hayley Griffiths’ singing also adds a lot to the music. She has a lovely tone to her voice – soft and delicate but powerful when she needs to be. The rest of the band also do a fine job – everything is very balanced, with particular instruments coming to the fore as appropriate and meshing together to create some lovely crescendos. The production is a big help in this regard, the album really does sound very good.

On top of what I consider a big step up in the sound, performance and music, this album is also a step up compositionally. The song-writing is focussed and concise. Sticking to a straighter symphonic rock sound, and keeping any prog indulgences for the title track, works very well for the style of music that Karnataka creates, and has produced a very memorable set of songs. Particular standouts for me amongst the first 7 songs are: opener Road to Cairo, which fuses the band’s eastern influences with excellent orchestral parts and a lovely chorus; and Fairytale Lies, an ostensibly slower song with a darker edge that features some absolutely stunning vocal harmonies.

Having downplayed the “prog indulgences”, though, I do need to talk about the 20-minute opus that is the album’s title track, Secrets of Angels. Because, in fact, it’s really rather good. Far from being bloated, this is a song that mostly builds and develops in interesting and enjoyable ways. It starts out by introducing a theme that recurs throughout the song – a folk tune with eastern influences. It slowly builds up for the first 3 and a half minutes of the song, with Griffiths’ vocals combining with stripped-back instrumentation to bring a gorgeous atmosphere to this opening. The song then kicks in and takes the listener on a journey across a handful of different styles and ideas, each flowing nicely into the next. My favourite section of the song begins around 6 minutes in, starting with a melancholy segment that contains some wonderfully haunting vocal melodies, before kicking in with some enormous symphonic riffs that pretty much define epic.

All in all, then, a very strong album. There are some things I’m not quite so keen on, including the lyrics. Not that they’re bad, really, they just don’t do much for me and seem to fall into a lot of typical prog rock clichés. They feel almost functional to me – a means to produce the luscious vocal melodies that fill the album, rather than drawing much focus themselves. However, these minor complaints don’t really detract from my enjoyment of the album. The music is luscious for so much of the album, and there really is a lot of great stuff in here. It feels as though Karnataka have hit their stride, and hopefully found some stability in line-up and in what they are trying to do with their music. If I’m right, then I predict more great stuff from them in future.- See more at: http://www.ladyobscure.com/albums/karnataka-secrets-of-angels/#sthash.iOOcF3lk.dpuf

 Review: Review


 

Karnataka - Secrets of Angels - CD Cover
click image to visit band's website
image © Immrama Records 2015


.: more from Karnataka:.
album reviews
The Storm (2000)*
Karnataka in Concert (2001)* [DVD]
Delicate Flame of Desire (2003)*
Live in the USA (2003) [DVD]
Strange Behaviour (2004)*
Gathering Light (2010)
New Light (2013)

concert reviews
w/Fula HLC Rotherham (2000)
w/Mostly Autumn HLC Rotherham (2001)
Mean Fiddler London (2001)
w/Sleeping Giant Aylesbury (2002)
w/October Project NYC (2002)
Classic Rock Festival Trenton (2002)
The Brook Southampton (2003)*
Robin 2 Bilston (2003)
w/Mermaid Kiss Stourbridge (2003)

* accompanied by interview

Karnataka
click image to visit band's FaceBook
Hayley Griffiths fronts Karnataka
image © Immrama Records 2015

.: more Hayley Griffiths :.
Silver Screen (2010)
interview and photos (2010)

Hayley Griffiths
click image to visit band's FaceBook
Hayley Griffiths (lead vocals)
image © Immrama Records 2015
 

(05 March 2015) The latest waypoint in Karnataka's musical journey is the first studio album fronted by lead singer Hayley Griffiths entitled Secrets of Angels (Immrama Records (UK) KTKCD007, 2015). Chosen as one of Musical Discoveries first featured artists almost 15 years ago, Karnataka remains to this day one of the most heavily reviewed bands here.
One of Karnataka's original founders, bass player and song writer Ian Jones, is the only remaining member. The band name recalls a fishing trip he made to that region in India in the 1990s. Hayley Griffiths is the band's third -- and so far the very best -- female vocalist. Although her RiverdanceLord of the Dance and two solo (classical crossover and Celtic) albums released in 2010 and 2011 were outstanding, Karnataka's new studio album is clearly her finest hour. She also sang Karnataka's former material on the double live album and DVD New Light - Live In Concert (2012).
Former Karnataka band members Jonathan Edwards (keys) and Ann-Marie Helder (vocals) have released two acoustic albums as Luna Rossa, and with Gavin Griffiths (drums) and Paul Davies (guitar), three progressive rock albums as Panic Room. Gavin and Ann-Marie also play with Mostly Autumn. The band's original lead vocalist Rachel Jones joined The Reasoning who -- after releasing three CDs, an EP and two DVDs with her -- announced just this week that they have called it a day. Karnataka's second lead vocalist Lisa Fury co-wrote and recorded Karnataka's The Gathering Light. She also contributed vocals to a forthcoming Chasing The Monsoon album recorded with Ian Jones and others.
Secrets of Angels is to The Gathering Light as Delicate Flame of Desire was to The Storm, that is to say, an exponential improvement in songwriting, arrangements, production and -- most notably -- vocal work that is nothing short of amazing. This project was clearly written and produced to take full advantage the band members' virtuosity as well as Hayley Griffith's extensive vocal training, broad range, and diversity of styles, as well as a keen ability to deliver layered self-harmonies while retaining the power and clarity a lead vocalist must have. With a series of UK dates planned to support this new album, Karnataka will clearly be a tour de force. We hope that a DVD will be produced on tour to make these live performances accessible to enthusiasts worldwide.
Secrets of Angels is an eight-track album that runs for an hour and is comprised of seven average length tracks and one 20-minute opus. The album was recorded at Real World Studios, Box, Wiltshire and Quadra Studios in London. A Special Edition includes a bonus DVD that features behind the scenes footage from the album recording sessions, previously unreleased live footage and image galleries. Although the front and rear cover photos are stunning, interested readers should note that these are of a model, not Hayley Griffiths. The accompanying booklet is extremely well produced with full lyrics and stunning images meant to visualize them.
Musical Discoveries editors were the first team to be granted access to the album for review just one week ago and since that time we have listened to it exclusively. Secrets of Angelsprogresses through four distinct chapters before the title track. With musical themes that harken to its title, "Road to Cairo" picks up right where The Gathering Light left off stylistically, with a slight shift within the progressive rock realm only to adjust to Hayley's vocal style. The Karnataka sound that has been developed over the band's first dozen years shines through. Listen for Ian Jones' bass parts, with allusions here to Chris Squire (Yes) and Jon Camp (Renaissance). It continues through the majority of the album.
"Because of You," "Poison Ivy," and "Forbidden Dreams" form the album's second stage. In this more significant shift, the band's sound alludes to northern continental European rock bands like Epica, Nightwish and Within Temptation. Listen to the intensity of the sound develop through the first, become extremely memorable in the second and then build further in the third. Guitar work is superb, lush symphonic keys add power and depth while bass and drum drive the music on. Hayley's lead vocals are tremendous, operatic in spots, and vocal layers are just amazing.
The accessible and uptempo rock song "Borderline" opens the album's third chapter. Solo lead vocal work in the verses is complemented by lush harmonies in the choruses. Fantastically performed guitar and keyboard instrumental solo parts further extend the song likely in anticipation of outstanding stage work in forthcoming live performances. Pay particular attention to Hayley's light and brief vocal interlude before the final choruses. The more downtempo "Fairytale Lies" begins where the vocal interlude mentioned above leaves off but develops with rich instrumental arrangements, vast guitar excursions and lush harmonies.
The final chapter of the album includes "Feels Like Home." The song is a West End-styled torch ballad likely not possible with the band's former vocalists, but clearly a track within Hayley Griffiths' repertoire. It's important to listen for the harp in the introduction and the modestly powerful instrumentals that support the song's conclusion. The table has now been set for the opus self-titled track.
"Secrets of Angels" opening passage returns to the band's sound on The Storm. Initially Celtic-styled instrumentally and vocally, the sound develops into a more robust arrangement drawing on themes from the album's first chapter. Three subsequent passages continue in this way passing through the remaining three chapters of the album, each with a Celtic-styled portion that builds in that chapter's style. And it works so perfectly. Listen for Troy Donockley's (ex-Iona, Nightwish, many others) whistle and Uilleann pipe contributions and the lovely Celtic harp. Hayley's Celtic-styled vocals of course draw on her previous work but fit perfectly in those sections. Similarly, her lush harmonies and powerful lead in the opposing sections further illustrates her work in this album's earlier chapter. We loved the choruses and can't get enough of them. This epic has the potential of an equally great stage number, although some of the instrumentals will likely be amended to adjust for Donockley's absence.
As the band's first studio album since 2011, Secrets of Angelsclearly demonstrates significant development of Karnataka's sound. The album is available as a CD, a special edition with DVD, 2xLP and in a variety of digital formats including FLAC. Samples are presently available at the band'swebsite and FaceBook. The stunning Secrets of Angels album is clearly a contender for 2015 BOTY. Bravo!

 Review: Japanese Review


KARNATAKA / Secrets of Angels

2015, UK
I look at the reviews KARNATAKA / Secrets of Angels AMAZON
Irish dance direction of activities and parallel Hayley Griffith was Newest in 2012 (Vo) of KARNATAKA will be the first studio album of to Fichua 5th album Secrets of Angels.
And ushered in the solemn strings, it seems KARNATAKA plus a motif of exotic Arabian scale in a symphonic # 1.
Piano and string section, smell of Gothic to the bridge part is tense drifting # 2.
And arranged a majestic intro and layer choir and strings in Goshikaru, and get a sense of open in melody there cooling sensation even while lint in rust and # 3.
The reversal from a quiet opening, to increase the Gothic color from part to heavy backing from entering # 4.
Backing of neat string was shown comparing the verse and a catchy rust to add color # 5.
Ballard # 6 Hayley Griffith part you sing in the midrange to emotion plenty to exert the power of expression.
Graceful Symphonic number positive mood is full of # 7.
20 minutes than to and from the grand symphonic part was also sprinkled Troy Donokkuri trad style Celtic part and strings that Fichua the Uilleann pipes of # 8. Epic tune to listen to the dramatic in development that mixes the mysterious collaboration part and regulation of the harp and scat.
Here the number of work is KARNATAKA the singer to substitute for each work. Music also changes each time, greatly introduced this time Liv Christine (LEAVES 'EYES, ex.THEATRE OF TRAGEDY) whether inspired by the Angelic voices of Hayley Griffith reminiscent of, the manners of Gothic Metal.
Originally singing of Hayley Griffith there presence and compatible high Gothic taste of the symphonic sound is has brought the effect of widening the width of KARNATAKA sound.
 1. Road To Cairo
2. Because Of You
3. Poison Ivy
4. Forbidden Dreams
5. Borderline
6. Fairytale Lies
7. Feels Like Home
8. Secrets Of Angels

 Review: Prog Archives Reviews


 

Karnataka - 2015 - Secrets of Angels
Karnataka

1. Road To Cairo
2. Because Of You
3. Pioson Ivy
4. Forbidden Dreams
5. Borderline
6. Fairytale Lies
7. Feels Like Home
8. The Secret Of Angels Year: 2015 Publisher: Immramahttp://karnataka.org.uk/



 





Five years had to wait for the new album Karnataka. Listening content must admit that absenteeism is most justified."Secret Of Angels" is an album wypieszczonym, refined in detail, arranged with a flourish. Full of melody in the guitar frame that make a very good album .... pop rock. It seems that the new recordings as a starting point adopted the work signed with the name of Within Temptation, however, pinning known patch would be too simplistic, so in turn. The team, a new vocalist Hayley Griffiths, a girl blessed with an extraordinary voice with considerable opportunities. He can admire the delicacy, then surprise operatic heights, but always skillfully sell emotions hidden in the lyrics. Classical often sneaks through individual tracks, giving some songs of the sublime, for which the guitar tend to be a counterweight marches. "Smyk" sometimes sound familiar as in the "Forbidden Dreams" where the bow from the waist Led Zeppelin and their "Kashmirowi. A total of unusually melodic chorus absolutely deserves to hit on radio play lists.Such compositions are more. For example, sung with the right dose of drama "Fairytale Lies" or sweeping "Poison Ivy".A strong feature of Karnataka team is skillful use of musical traditions. Widely understood folk very often we meet here. Take the beginning of the record or "Road To Cairo" where in accordance with Title will meet with the appropriate dose of Orientalism, then compared the end or song of "The Secret Of Angels". At this point the band remembers progressive pedigree composition lasts for more than twenty minutes, and although it does not deviate from leading pop-rock thought. Rather, it is the quintessence of everything that we met earlier. Celtic folk starts with an introduction to through touching, sometimes operatic vocals Griffiths, blown by an adapted orchestration, go to guitar rock verve.Somewhere in the meantime, seasoned with a game neo progressive keys under the sign of early Marillion. Yes rushes to the expected final. Because everything, even what is good has an end. Another determines the uniqueness of the publishing house. Artwork that is taken by the team leader Ian Jones. Great cover is not everything, inside you will find excellent photos that are illustrations for individual songs. The whole makes quite an impression. Karnataka and "The Secret Of Angels"? I'm on like this. 8/10 Witold Żogała

 Review: Polish review translated


 

Karnataka - Secrets Of Angels | Print |  Email
Author: Andrew Barwicki   
05/04/2015.
ImageThe team  of Karnataka is very well known małoleksykonowym audience. In the annual summaries for the best album of their albums often they occupy a place in the top ten, to name but a "Delicate Flame Of Desire" in 2003 (7th position) and "The Gathering Light" from 2010 (5th position). Such high positions occupied testify to the great musical content of their subsequent albums, their talent composer and ingenious instrumentation, giving the listener a lot of nice moments spent with their music.
The latest release, which was released in March, is the fifth studio album of the group and is titled "Secrets Of Angels". Since the release of the last album in Karnataka undergone considerable personnel changes. The most important change took place behind the microphone. The band sings now Hayley Griffiths. How it will be reflected in its wording and whether the team will repeat the success of previous album - time will tell. Track starts the album is "Road To Cairo", which a little disappointing.Apparently it is melodic, dynamic, with Far Eastern sound, but so far I am not convinced him. While listening to another recording Fri. "Because Of You" greatly improves my mood. Instrumental parts, strings and guitar sound sharper and spirited vocals emphasize its progressive - symphonic character. Well, it comes to the catchy chorus. It's a song with a lot of potential assertiveness. The third composition entitled "Poison Ivy" is characterized by gothic - rock, also not without assertiveness and jam metal sound, and elements of choral singing increase our positive impressions. Great atmosphere and sublime sound themes are continued in the works of "Forbidden Dreams," "Borderline" (beautiful guitar solo at the end) and "Fairytale Lies" (romantic, almost operatic vocals and beautiful sounds of the harp in the background). We can also recommend and carefully listen to him is the song "Feels Like Home". That's how they played here their parties individual musicians inspires awe and admiration. Great piece! The closer the final plate, the more artists accentuate your compositional finesse, giving the listener a wealth of harmony fully reflecting and developing their capabilities. At the end of the album we cover, over a 20-minute seven-suite, full of grand, epic elation and changes of pace, and what goes with it is inextricably linked, also phenomenal mood. Such a design approach wording of Karnataka almost to the rock opera. Suite includes many poignant and heartfelt instrumental party, not just the orchestra and traditional (ethnic), but also vocal, providing the listener a great experience. This extensive and varied composition so carefully musicians from Karnataka make it despite the very promising beginning of the disc, you should make it to the end and be so pleasantly surprised him. One thing was certain: if it were to be that of the entire disc only one recording would have to defend themselves, it's only worth it for him to have this album.
After further questioning of this material more and more recordings to convince me that reworked the band, whose current composition is as follows: Hayley Griffiths (vocals), Ian Jones (bass guitar, keyboards, programming, vocals), Enrico Pinna (guitar, vocals), Cagri Tozluoglu (keyboards, programming) and Jimmy Pallagrosi (drums). When recording "Secret Of Angels" Karnataka additionally helped by the following musicians: Troy Donockley (bagpipes, whistles), Sean Davey (harp), Rachel van der Tang (cello), Clive Howard (viola) and Lynn Cook (violin).
Album was recorded at Real World Studios in Wiltshire, including Quadra Studios in London. It is a manufacturer of Karnataka.There are versions of the CD, CD-DVD (Special Digipack Edition), Deluxe Vinyl Edition and the digital version. The album was released by Immrama Records.

 Review: Prog Archives Reviews


 

3 stars Not quite the seven year gap between albums this time - just the five... as I noted on my last review for KARNATAKA. Though in their defence the group had all moved on (as they had done previously!) but this time the phoenix has risen faster - perhaps they have learnt from the experience...
This is a good album; a very good one if the previous one were not taken into account, which was (imho) a far superior album, this one is too 'samey' and hasn't really progressed, as a result a sense of d'j' vu pervades.
Ian Jones and Enrico Pinna have managed to maintain the status quo and the shrewd addition of Hayley Griffiths cements this, as she has a very similar style to her predecessor, Lisa Fury. We even have the uilleann pipes making a return.
Whilst this all might sound overly negative, I do feel that after THE GATHERING LIGHT this group would struggle to surpass this epic. And I stand by this; but any group having gone through the transition that KARNATAKA has been through would inevitably struggle, but here they have done something that is close to being miraculous - the sound, the direction and the feel is identical - in fact was it really a lapse of five years?
I just hope this reincarnation remains stable and can make the natural progression to their next release...
However, like the predecessor, I will play this a number of times and hopefully it will grow on me.
http://www.progarchives.com/Review.asp?id=1382514
5 stars Karnataka has been around for more than a while. As with other bands orbiting around the Celtic folk-influenced mellow prog aesthetic, this band has been doing their work at a steady pace - releasing very pleasant, if not very pretentious albums once in 3-4 years, getting the response of their small but quite loyal fan base...
... until now, I hope. I have to admit, Secrets Of Angels is a smash. Being familiar with Karnataka's music yet still having other favourites in this scene, I expected an atmospheric, mellow album with discreet folksy nuances - what we get here is much, much more than that. Of course, we still get most of Karnataka trademarks, like excellent vocals and a nice atmosphere, but boy, what an energy!
Ever since Road To Cairo kicks in, songs bombard us either with sheer energy, or in their calmer moments, with very beautiful vocal melodies that catch your breath anyway. Music is all very colourful, never succumbing to the snooze factor which hangs upon many such releases. Besides the opener, Poison Ivy, Forbidden Dreams and Fairytale Lies seem the brilliant highlights of this very strong selection of songs. They all utilise the same weaponry of killer melodies, but when things work so well, there's no need to change.
And at last, we have the title epic - this in all honesty, is one of the best new music pieces I've heard in recent years. Here's everything Karnataka is about - Celtic intro, haunting harp sequences, achingly beautiful, versatile singing melodies, brilliant performance... And it all is connected by elaborate composition skill that goes from mood to mood, dynamic to dynamic.
To put it short, this is an exceptional, near-perfect release from Karnataka. Very accessible (could even be used as toe-dipper into prog for Celtic music crowd), but very refined, flowing with creativity. 4,5 stars from me, rounded up to 5 and I think we have a very strong contender for the-best-album-of-the-year throne.



 Review: US Review


JUNE 22, 2015
Release Date: 30th March 2015
Label: Immrama Records
The new album from the band Karnataka, Secrets of Angels, has just landed on the review desk and is album No 5 from the band. The debut album wasKarnataka (1998), followed by The Storm (2000), thenDelicate Flame of Desire(2003) and finally, The Gathering Light (2010). Not the most prolific band, with 7 years between albums 3 and 4 and then a further 5 years between 4 and 5. One reason may be the ever changing personnel within the band. Ian Jones is the only original member of Karnataka from the mid 90’s, and while the same band members recorded Karnataka and The Storm, there was a change forDelicate Flame of Desire, with another female voice added (Anne-Marie Helder) as well as a female guest (Heather Findlay). The Gathering found only Ian still present, Lisa Fury as the vocalist, and new drummer, bass player and keyboard player. 
Secrets of Angels was made with Karnataka as a 5 piece group comprising, Ian Jones (bass keyboards and guitar), Hayley Griffiths (vocals), Enrico Pinna (guitars and vocals), Cagri Tozluoglu (keyboards) and Jimmy Palagrossi (drums). Enrico was also part of the band for the previous album. There is a few guest musicians involved as well. Troy Donockley adds Uilleann Pipes and low whistles, Seana Davey adds harp and Rachel van der Tang and Clive Howard from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra add cello and viola respectively.
The album, Secrets of Angels, is an 8 track album with a running time just under an hour. The shortest track on offer is “Poison Ivy” with a playing time of 4:14 minutes and the longest track is the closing, title track “Secrets of Angels” with a running time of 20:00 minutes.
The opening track, “Road to Cairo” (5:27) races out of the speakers and grabs you firmly by both ears. With a violin introduction, the track then moves into a heavy riff which conjures up little aural glimpses of Kashmir from the Led Zeppelin album, Physical Graffiti. The vocals of Hayley tower over this eastern tinged stunner. What a superb opening track which certainly makes you start to savor what other gems this album has in store.
“Because of You” (4:43) has a gentle piano intro into more of the heaviness, with riffs and orchestral thundering. Crystal clear vocals by Hayley soar with seemingly no effort and carry the track onwards. There is more emotional depth to this track than the previous one, and again a piece of music that hits the “sweet spot” in your mind.
“Poison Ivy” (4:14) fires up with more or the thunderous orchestral sweeps and maintains its pace throughout its 4+ minutes. Track No 4, “Forbidden Dreams” (5:48) is a more laid back entity, at least for Karnataka, and is memorable for that alone. A dip into the heavier, more powerful style of band statement takes the track onwards and embeds the melody deep within your mind. 
“Borderline” (6:19) has a hugely atmospheric start, all dark and ominous, before Hayley’s voice demands attention, all the while backed by almost malevolent strings. The powerhouse of the band, the drums and bass are very obvious on this track. This is another stunningly memorable addition to the album.
“Fairytale Lies” (4:58) is a real change into the land of the ballad, with piano and strings. Hayley’s voice is so clear and powerful, and although the intensity of the track builds rises and falls, the lasting impression is of the gentler side of the band.
The penultimate track, “Feels Like Home” (7:06) has a theme plucked on the harp and when the voice kicks in, you relax into familiar Karnataka territory, although in this track the dark, ominous and malevolent soundscapes are omitted. Replacing these facets is an almost uplifting style of music, but I must admit that these last 2 tracks have not had the same impact that the previous tracks have had.
The finale to the album is the epic length title track, “Secrets of Angels” (20:00). Celtic sounds abound at the start of the track, courtesy of one, Troy Donockley from Nightwish, and an amazing aural soundscape is produced. The voice, when it appears, fits the storytelling scenario like a glove. Tension builds, heralded by the entry of some percussion, and you await the change happening, but you are kept waiting until about the 4 minute mark, when the full symphonic rock of Karnataka is unleashed. The track pulsates this way and that as it passes through each of its’ seven phases, allowing the band members to showcase their skills. A big plus point with “Secrets of Angels” is that the music flows seamlessly through all of its phases whether a full band workout or gentle Celtic areas, and there is always the little theme from the intro putting in an appearance in different ways. This is a true tour-de-force that ends the album on a majestic note.
This album, Secrets of Angels is a superb release and shows that Karnataka have undergone a slow evolution to get to this point. With so many personnel changes this achievement has certainly had obstacles to overcome, but I think that it is safe to say, that the band of Hayley, Ian, Enrico, Cagri and Jimmy, have finally “nailed it.”
My advice is very simple, and that is to listen to the epic final track, “Secrets of Angels” and you will soon be on your way to purchase the album. This is one of the best albums that I have heard so far this year, and I have heard a lot of albums this year.
5/5 Stars
Key Tracks: Road To Cairo, Borderline, Secrets of Angels
Tracks: 
Road To Cairo
Because of You
Poison Ivy
Forbidden Dreams
Borderline
Fairytale Lies
Feels Like Home
Secrets of Angels
Jim “The Ancient One” Lawson-Sr. Reviewer Prog Rock Music Talk
June 22, 2015
Review Provided By Prog Rock Music Talk

 Review: US Review


KARNATAKA: SECRETS OF ANGELS
Karnataka Secrets Of Angels CD Album Review

Karnataka: Secrets Of Angels

Melodic Symphonic Rock
4.5/5.0
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Immrama Records / Plastic Head
Words: Craig Hartranft
Added: 04.07.2015
Throwing themselves back into the fiasco and fray of the saturated genre of female-fronted symphonic rock bands is England's Karnataka. The haven't had a new studio recording in five years, but now return with their fifth album Secrets Of Angels. The past has seen more than a little turmoil in personnel changes. Yet over the last several years Karnataka has stabilized, even with adding their fourth female lead vocalist in Hayley Griffiths.
Karnataka Secrets Of Angels Band Photo
Karnataka
I probably gave touch away in the first sentence of this review. Simply, Karnataka is a female-fronted melodic and symphonic rock band, maybe with a slight metal edge. Think what you will, choose your favorite band of the same genre, Within Temptation comes to mind, and you basically know what you're going to get. Griffiths' is a classically trained soprano, with an attention to melody, a stable delivery, and disciplined range. She's pleasant to listen to.
As for the music, Karnataka's melodic rock is deeply infused with symphonic orchestration. Though I can't speak to the truth of the observations, according to third party sources, this element has increased since the previous album. What I think can be said is that this symphonic element is more balanced in the arrangements. In other words, Karnataka's first thought is not to be grossly grandiose and bombastic as say Nightwish or Rhapsody Of Fire. A good example of the delicate balance comes with the epic anthem, Feels Like Home. Clearly the melody rules this composition, and the orchestration is only there to enhance or embellish it in the best possible sense. It's truly a beautiful song to hear.
After this, the songs that appealed to me were those where the arrangement was more pedestrian, having more pop accessibility as it were. Mostly this came from a strong and catchy melody and refrain, yet informed by inherent rock groove that moved the song along. Because Of You, Forbidden Dreams, Borderline, and even the aforementioned Feels Like Home had all those distinguishing characteristics. Alternatively, something such as Road To Cairo, at the front of the album, wasn't all that persuasive. It was long on orchestration and vocal arrangement, but simplly felt flat in it's presentation and pacing.
And returning once more to the "epic" potential in Karnataka, one may look to the title track as the epitome of this album. Or perhaps not. At twenty minutes, the song never really seems to get going. The first half seems exceedingly slow and labored with slight bursts of energy here and there, by guitar and synths. The song rises with riffs, orchestration, and soaring guitar leads in the second half, but I don't know if you'll have the patience to get there. It's not a bad song by any means, but could have easily been shortened in the arrangement, in both the front and back ends.
Nevertheless, with these things said and being my first experience with Karnataka,Secrets Of Angels is rather impressive, entertaining and enjoyable melodic and symphonic rock. The strength of musicianship and song composition easily keeps Karnataka in pace with their many peers and will continue to spawn new and better songs in the future. Easily recommended.

 Review: US Review


 

 

Karnataka

Secrets of Angels

Review by G. W. Hill
I’ve always liked this band. This new album, though, might be the best yet from them. If you dig their brand of modern progressive rock with both metal and classic prog elements, you wil most certainly like this. It just doesn’t get much better.The back cover lists a DVD, but my promo copy didn’t include it, so I can’t comment on that part of this album.
Track by Track Review
Road to Cairo
Coming in quite symphonic, this turns out to powerful progressive rock. I love the soaring approach of the vocals. I also love that they don’t sacrifice rocking for that quality. This is such a great opening salvo. It’s got an almost metallic element at its core, but no one would ever deny that this is progressive rock. There’s a foray toward world music mid-track. Then it drops way down for the next bit of vocals. We’re back into the song proper quickly after that, though.
Because of You
This starts with more powerhouse symphonic prog. It drops to a mellower approach for the verse. That section calls to mind Renaissance. They bring it back upward from there, though. This song combines an accessible vocal performance, soaring musical concepts and a lot more to create another winner. I’d have to say, though, that the guitar solo wanders a bit towards “noodly” to me. If there’s anything about this song that I’d change, that would be it.
Poison Ivy
While this is definitely progressive rock, it wanders pretty far toward European epic metal. The vocal arrangement and the whole song structure are very much in that kind of sound. Of course, that genre has a lot of progressive rock built into it. This number throws the balance more towards the prog rock end. This is more straightforward than the first two songs. It’s no less effective, though. I really love the vocal arrangement later, and the bits of keyboard that soar over the top in those later sections, too.
Forbidden Dreams
Piano starts this. The vocals come over the top, begging comparisons to both epic metal and the band Renaissance. This stays on the mellower side of things for a while, but eventually gets some crunch and powerful symphonic prog built into it. There is a drop back to mellower, symphonic territory mid-track. When they come out of that, I think the vocal progression is one of the best of the whole album. In fact, that section is one of my favorite musical passages here. It’s just so powerful.
Borderline
This definitely has the kind of energy one expects from epic metal. The overall sound, though, is more progressive rock based. It’s a powerful song that works through with a real driving intensity. Yet, it also has the symphonic qualities and beauty you expect from this band. It resolves to a piano and vocal movement late in the number. That adds a lot to the number, too.
Fairytale Lies
I really love this song. It’s mellower than the rest of the material here. It actually is what you might consider a power ballad. It’s quite symphonic and manages to rock out later, too. The vocal performance nearly steals the show. It’s a tribute to the strength of the songwriting that it doesn’t. This is one of my favorite songs of the year, really. It’s that good.
Feels Like Home
Although there is a little crunch at times, there is no metal in this song at all. It’s pure progressive rock. It’s more of a power ballad, too. The song structure is simpler than some of the other stuff, and really it’s how it’s adorned that makes is both special and progressive rock oriented. This is another song where the vocals really shine. In fact, that’s what makes this song as magical as it is. Honestly, though, this isn’t the best song here.
Secrets of Angels
The title track starts mellow with a very Celtic kind of approach. It gradually builds outward, with the second verse a bit more intense than the first. It rocks a bit more by the third verse. After that verse, it gets brought all the way into the symphonic rocking zone in an instrumental movement. That intensity is retained as the vocals return. They keep going in rocking fashion, building up for a while. Then it peaks and they drop it to a very mellow movement. Soaring, non-lyrical, vocals are heard over the top of that. Then the cut works to a very symphonic, fast paced movement with a lot of hard rock built into it. This all goes to prove that this epic not just in length, but also in scope. It gets quite powerful and symphonically rocking as it continues to push forward. Eventually we’re brought into more pure driving prog rock. That section takes it to around the twelve minute mark. Some Celtic, mellower music takes over for a time there. Then they burst back out into powerful symphonic prog to continue. It works through with a mainstream, but soaring progressive rock concept, shifting and changing before eventually taking it out around the twenty minute mark. It’s an extremely powerful and effective way to end the album.

 Review: Review


 

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