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12-20-2008, 03:52 PM
from Frost*

Mr Peabody
12-20-2008, 09:57 PM
3LB, any advice on Anathema or Karmakanic?

12-20-2008, 11:05 PM
3LB, any advice on Anathema or Karmakanic? I'm not that familiar with Anathema. They've been around for a while. A few tracks I heard sounded ok musically, but the vocals were not up to the task of the material. Kinda reminded me of a later-day Fates Warning.

I have heard older Karmakanic, and like every other Flower King related project, they tend to sound a like - when I hear Karmakanic, or Tangent, or Roine Stolt's solo stuff, or Kaipa, or Tomas Bodin's solo effort, I hear what could be the same band. This might have something to do with the fact that they all play on each others projects. If you are in the market for this style of prog, I'd suggest the last few Kaipa albums, or any Ritual album. My fave Flower Kings album to date is Paradox Hotel. But some projects like Karmakanic (and even some Kaipa) tend to be rather jammy, even jazzy, with some improv and much overplaying. They like to throw in a lot of intricate, fusiony interludes for the sake of fusiony interludes; you know - showing off the chops. Also, this brand of prog from Sweden tends to get a little carried away with the keyboards. If old style prog keyboards are your thing, then hell, you're in luck. But to wrap this up, it is very much what many call neo-prog, in that it is very reminiscent at times of classic prog bands like early Genesis, ELP, Yes, Gentle Giant, Camel, et el.

IMHO, the best neo-prog band to come out of Sweden of late is the band Ritual. This is a very retro sounding project, with many a reference to Swedish folklore in both compositional/lyrical content, and instrumentation. Its a geniune love for their heritage that make this group very charming and enjoyable for me. This band has a very Yes-ish sound to my ears, seamlessly mixing jazz, folk and rock the way early Yes did. Their sound can seem complex, but their sound is more of a articulate, interwoven style of playing. Very tasteful. - this isn't what every song sounds like, but there aren't many really good examples. This song is from their latest album (2007) which is based on an old Swedish children's story (an album that still gets regular spins by the way).

Next, you might try The Flower Kings (also from Sweden). I'd start with the aforementioned Paradox Hotel and work your way back. I actually prefer their two older live albums over their studio releases. Live On Planet Earth and Meet The Flower Kings have different track lists, the sound quality is great and playing is spot on, of course they don't have a raucus crowd to contend with either (proggers are quite sedate it seems). Both of these albums are a great intro to this band and represent their catalog quite comprehensively. Great upbeat music and tasteful playing, though their grasp of english isn't always spot-on (in the earlier albums) and the lyrical content can be wince inducing at times, as they attempt hippyish transcendentalism ala Jon Anderson on some tracks. - this track isn't the most accurate example of their sound, but you can follow the other links, for other samples (warning: this band doesn't do many short songs).

One of my favorite releases to come out of Sweden in recent years has been Sleeping In Traffic Pt 1 (2007). It similar to everything I described about Ritual, except that they can be quite edgy, mixing in Zappa-esque flourishes here and there, even in the lyrical content as well, as they like to include profanity and humerous stories about ludicrous characters, such as this one, The Gooberville Ballroom Dancer, from their '05 release, The Sane Day.

not everybody's cuppa joe, so let us know what you think.

12-21-2008, 06:00 AM
Very enteraining video! thanks.

My Anathema story...several years ago when DarrenH used to hang round these parts he sent me a copy of Anathema's, A Fine Day to Exit, which I enjoyed. You couldn't buy Anathema in Canada, but when in Vegas on vacation I was able to pick up two of their previous releases. I had a portable CD player at the time and was looking forward to plugging the disks in and listening to some good prog on the flight home. Well, I put the first disk in shortly after take of and was assaulted with some really loud death metal vocals! Not at all what I was expecting. I ended up disliking those two disks and I think that I gave them away to someone on this board but I don't remember who. I haven't listened to anything that they've put out since. But tread carefully with this band if you don't like growling.

I can second 3-LBs recs on the Ritual disks and Beardfish's Sleeping in Traffic part 1. All are excellent prog disks, IMO.

Mr Peabody
12-21-2008, 08:13 AM
Thanks, now that the thread has been thoroughly hijacked :) The Flower Kings video sounded pretty good. I dismissed them in the past because the samples I heard made them out to be a bit whimpy for lack of a better term. I'll check out the live albums. I have a Tangent album I like pretty well although it took a while to warm up to his vocals. I think it's The Day The Music Died or something like that. The Anathema album I had picked to try was the one from 2004. It would havve to be well done for me to appreciate any growling. Even some of the vocals on the Opeth, Watershed put me off some. If it blends or seems to belong they are alright but just to drop them in for the sake of being there I think is unnecessary. I wondered why the associated links to Anathema showed Cynic and Katatonia etc. It's hard to say what Prog I will like, I don't think I will like Ritual if a lot of their stuff is so Yes like. There is very little early Genesis I appreciate. I own almost every Kansas album. I really got into the bands like Nightwish, Tristania, Sirenia and Epica. I think I am into more songs that blend and to into musical or melodic journeys opposed to songs that jerk back and forth or the songs that sound like a bunch of parts pieced together to form a song. The jamming interludes I don't mind as long as it's well done. It's hard to figure for me because I believe I am the only one around here who likes Blackfield and they aren't much like I say I like. I also have a couple Glass Hammer albums which aren't on hot rotation but I do enjoy them on occasion. No one else likes them here either Some discs really depend on my mood too. When I first got Frog Cafe It didn't do much for me but played it again and seemed to get into what they were doing a bit more. I have definitely learned with Prog albums not to judge on the first listen and keep them around for a couple other spins. I tried an album by the band Cross which didn't have any stand out tracks but the album isn't a bad listen. Another one of my favorite classic Prog bands is Uriah Heep. I believe they have been under rated and should be mentioned in company with Yes and Genesis.

12-21-2008, 07:09 PM
I am not much of a fan of Glass Hammer per se, but I do enjoy their last release, Culture Of Ascent. They changed lead singers on this one.

I wouldn't say Ritual is exactly like Yes either, just 'ish'.

If you like Nightwish and the like, here's one for you:
Kingfisher Sky - click on 'music' and they have full samples. Be sure to surf on down the page for 'live stuff'. My #1 prog album of the year.

And by all means, look up more than one Flower Kings video on Youtube if they've put you off in the past.

Mr Peabody
12-21-2008, 07:40 PM
Thanks. I ordered Anathema, Alternative 4. If I like them I will try the new album, Hindsight, they use a violin on this new album.

Kingfisher Sky sounds pretty good and I will probably end up picking up their album. To there credit it sound like they were able to develope their own sound rather than sounding like Nightwish or Within Temptation. I really like the singer, Judith's vocals.

12-21-2008, 09:33 PM
The Anathema-Hindsight album is actually a compilation of sorts, where they've gone back and re-recorded some older material, I think with a different lead singer. I haven't that much Anathema, but I never heard any CMVs. The 'normal' singing however, was barely passible.