Product Reviews

Product: Karnataka - Secrets of Angels
Date: 2015-05-01 

Secrets of Angels

Karnataka – Secrets Of Angels

Mar 19, 2015 | 0 Comments

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

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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.

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