KENS DOJO – Reincarnation (2010)
KENS DOJO is a solo project of Norway’s gifted guitar player, producer and songwriter Ken Ingwersen.
Who? …well it’s a big name in Norway.
Ingwersen has been in the business for quite some time now.
A black belt karate expert – hence the Kens Dojo name for this solo project – if you dig a little deeper you’ll find he’s played with the likes of Evenrude, Glenn Hughes, TNT (producer of ‘Transistor’), Return, ex Uriah Heep Ken Hensley, Rick Springfield, Wig Wam, and many more, as well as finding time to establish a solid reputation as a producer in all spheres (although more recently that has been concentrated in acts of a more chart oriented vein).
The result of a longstanding ambition to record a solo album that goes right back to his hard rockin’ roots, when I first heard ‘Reincarnation’ my initial thoughts were that it could just be ‘the’ surprise of this summer!
Calling in a few favours from such well known faces as Glenn Hughes, Nils K Rue (Pagan’s Mind), Tommy La Verdi (21 Guns) and the ‘one and only’ (sic) Chesney Hawkes, Ingwersen has crafted an album full of great songs underpinned by some fine guitar work.
Opener “Forever” reminds TNT’s best years, all moody vocals and minor chords melded together with devastating effect. Definitely one of the best opener’s I’ve heard anywhere this year.
The second track “Keeping The Flame Alive” is even better. It starts with a dramatic 911-call and evolves into a song what Queensryche could have recorded during their “Operation Mindcrime”, “Empire” period, with audio snips and even scratching in it. The vocals by Nils K. Rue from the band Pagan’s Mind sounds just like Geoff Tate!
The Hughes track “I Surrender” is a smouldering, soulful ballad with a delightful neo-classical undercurrent, very similar to Brazen Abbot. Glenn did his vocals like only he can on the, with a nicely added string section.
Title track “Reincarnation” has a very special guest on the vocals… Chesney Hawkes!!! Yes, ‘the one and only’. The boy (okay, now a man) isn’t dead. He is alive and kicking and his voice is made for this funky rock&pop, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
21 Guns frontman Tommy La Verdi (partner with Ingwersen in Oslo Recordings Studio) rocks on “Demon In Diamonds” a classic rhythm song (like Winger on “Pull”). Good to hear him again.
“Rain” is a cover of Uriah Heep, acoustically done with Hensley.
Ingwersen lets his guitar speak on the brilliant instrumental song “Momentos A Solas”. If you ever thought about making your own compilation with melodic instrumental songs… this one must be added for sure.
On the other side, his guitar really burns on the last track called “Soundcheck Bonanza”. Unfurling clean, crisp 3D sonics and finely tooled textures, both tracks demonstrate Ingwersen’s mastery, with the mixing desk, the six string and with the songwriter’s pen
Built around a solid 80’s scandie core, Ken and company explore a multitude of moods and emotions, deftly placed little tangents taking the songs off on delightful detours before bringing them back full circle.
Even the tracks without the big name vocals (including aforementioned opener ‘Forever’) have just as much impact, like “Come Alive” and the haunting “Set The Angel Free”.
Quite possibly the best album of its type you’ll hear anywhere this year.
A tip… Play it loud!
01 – Forever
02 – Keeping The Flame Alive
03 – I Surrender (vocals: Glenn Hughes)
04 – Reincarnation (vocals: Chesney Hawkes)
05 – Momentos A Solas
06 – Demon In Diamonds (vocals: Tommy La Verdi)
07 – Come Alive
08 – El Recreo
09 – Set This Angel Free
10 – Rain
11 – Soundcheck Bonanza
Guitars, Bass, Keys, Production: Ken Ingwersen
Bass: Morty Black (ex TNT)
Drums: Ole Devold (Tritonus), Truls Haugen (Circus Maximus)
Vocals: Glenn Hughes, Ken Hensley, Michael Eriksen (Circus Maximus), Nils K. Rue (Pagans Mind), Chesney Hawkes, Tommy La Verdi (ex-21 Guns), Eirikur Hauksson aka Eric Hawk (ex-Artch), Aslak Johnsen (Mindtech), Jon Rydningen (Dream Police) and more….
Mastered by Bjorn Engelmann (Europe, Cher)