KARMAKANIK – In A Perfect World (2011)
KARMAKANIK is the amazing progressive rock band hailing from Malmo, Sweden. With three prior albums under their belt, the band is about the release their fourth and best one yet.
“In A Perfect World” is their 2011 release and is a study in neo progg, melodic rock, rock&pop, fusion rock, and has a feeling of the ’70s / ’80s riding rampant throughout.
While listening to the album, we will find evident Flower Kings (the project of gifted bass player Jonas Reingold) reminiscences, but also many classic bands, as the ’80s YES influence, noticeable in several parts, mostly for the vocals and bass sound.
So with that combination, as you can imagine here you will have a feast of symphonic prog rock but accessible and almost commercial.
Be prepared to this seven-track album and enjoy almost one hour of this first-class Swedish music.
It starts with “1969”, which is an ambitious introduction, a long epic that reaches the fourteen minutes and serves as the explanation of the album line. Keyboards play a main role here, as background or with solos, they give a special flavor to the sound. The rhythm is always constant, producing exquisite sounds and creating wonderful passages. Fat and noticeable bass sound and great vocals in the vein of ’80s Yes abound.
“Turn it up” has a softer sound, nice melodic rhythms and a catchy chorus. The music here is not that complex as the previous one, the sound tends to be friendlier and easier to dig.
“The World is Caving in” starts with 45 seconds of a capella, then piano joins and create a soft melody for two minutes. Then there is a change when drums and keyboards enter, so the music changes direction and becomes heavier for moments, though it always slows down and keep that gentle sound. After four minutes there is a very nice keyboard solo.
“Can’t Take It With You” is a very curious track, is a wild ride through the bowels of Hell. Dante would be proud. More guitars and vibrant keyboarding make the intense lyrics light up. The introductory piano and percussion sound creates a kind of latin-american or bossa-nova sound, but it is a tricky one because later it becomes chaotic and with the rock element on it, more interesting.
“There’s Nothing Wrong With the World” is one of the finest tracks of the album. The bass sound is lovely, always present as a main character, creating good lines and helping building up the structure. The keyboard work is also excellent, adding different atmospheres that at the same time create images and mind passages.
“Bite The Grit” has a dreamy atmosphere and a peculiar sound at first, but later it changes to a tense and maybe dramatic style that lasts only for some seconds. Then the song returns to its original proposal, and keep making some changes every once in a while. The guitar work is great here.
Finally “When Fear Came To Town” completes the album. In this ten minutes you will have a different Karmakanic sound, not that symphonic one we are used to. It is complemented by some other unusual rhythms. Like in the beginning, we listen to a soft acoustic guitar accompanied by delicate vocals by master Edman, giving the impression of being a ballad. The last two minutes have nice guitar and drums, and open the exit gates, I mean, you know the album is finishing.
Karmakanic has done an amazing job on this album.
“In A Perfect World” is a soul searing, blazing trail of keyboard, guitar and multi-instrumental mastery. Both vocalists are terrific, specially the great Göran Edman which sings better and better every day.
From rock&pop to prog to fusion, this album draws from the classic sounds of YES and Genesis, but also Styx, Deep Purple, Aryeon, Fates Warning and much more.
If this mixture of styles looks a bit eclectic or unorganized, then listen repeatedly to Karmakanic’s In A Perfect World. The whole album proved to be a wonderful listening experience.
Mostly, progressive rock should be innovative, but also catch the listener by surprise, and in that surprise also delight the listener.
I believe “In A Perfect World” does this very thing.
Highly Recommended album.
01 – 1969
02 – Turn It Up
03 – The World Is Caving In
04 – Can’t Take It With You
05 – There’s Nothing Wrong With The World
06 – Bite The Grit
07 – When Fear Came To Town
Göran Edman – Vocals
Jonas Reingold – Fretted and Fretless Fass, Backing Vocals
Lalle Larsson – Keyboards, Backing Vocals
Nils Erikson – Vocals, Keyboards
Krister Jonsson – Guitars
Marcus Liliequist – Drums