KARNATAKA – Secrets Of Angels (2015)
Since their inception at the tail end of the 1990s, KARNATAKA have most definitely had their ups and downs: they found some success fairly rapidly, 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, and in 2010 assembled a new-look for the band delivering several well-received tours and their most successful album to date.
“Secrets Of Angels” is the band’s first studio album in five years, and again with a new line-up, but this time I think Karnataka is ready for the major leagues.
Karnataka 2015 features an international line up of world class musicians. Apart from the melodic driving bass of founder Ian Jones, we have the beautiful voice of enigmatic lead singer Hayley Griffiths (Riverdance, Lord Of The Dance), the virtuoso fretwork of Italian guitarist Enrico Pinna, 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.
Karnataka was always tagged as ‘female-fronted melodic and symphonic rock’. Well, with “Secrets Of Angels” that sticker is more than blurred.
I have seen previous comparisons of Karnataka with Nightwish or Within Temptation. NOT anymore.
You have some sympho in “Fairytale Lies” and on some passages of the 20-minute epic title track (with some lovely Uilleann pipes), but read this well: basically, “Secrets Of Angels” it’s a Melodic Progressive Rock album.
It’s spiced with sympho, some edgy melodic metal… but this is all melodic, and really good for sure.
The sweet vocals of Hayley Griffiths are in grand part the result of this melodious new side of the band. Forget the ‘operatic’ garbage; this is full of real Rock vocals, with lots of harmonies.
Musically, “Secrets Of Angels” reminds me Magenta mixed with the excellent All About Eve, yes, at places pretty melodic-pop music, yet with essence.
The VII part of title track “Secrets Of Angels” is simply awesome, a pure delight for fans of Camel or Alan Parsons Project, with delicious keyboards, heavenly vocal harmonies and a terrific guitar solo.
This ‘part’ alone worth the entire CD.
The arrangements and overall performances on Karnataka’s “Secrets Of Angels” are top notch, as it’s the beautiful production. This is a work of art, with maximum attention to every detail.
Again, if you know the band by their previous works or some review calling Karnataka ‘female-fronted operatic sympho / prog metal’, forget that.
This is melodic progressive rock of the highest order, and a Super Recommended listen for everyone.
01 – Road To Cairo
02 – Because Of You
03 – Poison Ivy
04 – Forbidden Dream
05 – Borderline
06 – Fairytale Lies
07 – Feels Like Home
08 – Secrets Of Angels
.. I – The Temptress
.. II – Crimson Tears
.. III – Last Dawn
.. IV – The Battlefield
.. V – Requiem For Life
.. VI – In The Name Of God
.. VII – Secrets Of Angels
Hayley Griffiths – Vocals
Ian Jones – Bass, keyboards, guitars
Enrico Pinna – Guitars, vocals
Cagri Tozluoglu – Keyboards
Jimmy Pallagrosi – Drums
Troy Donockley – Uilleann pipes, low whistles
Seána Davey – harp
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra:
Rachel van der Tang – cello
Clive Howard – viola
BUY IT !