The first album of the Jonas Reingold project excelled in originality, musical talent, strong compositions and a very strong vocalist. And after a first listening to the new album, the same quality pops up. "Wheel Of Life" has a more progressive tendency and leans more towards the music of The FLOWER KINGS, YES and TRANSATLANTIC. The debute album maybe contained somewhat more catchy songs and is a bit more accessible, but from a pure musical angle this "Wheel of Life" may be even a bit better.
"Masterplan Part I" is one of these typical epic progtracks from TFK, although the somewhat heavier approach from Reingold and the charismatic voice of Edman lift the track to an extra dimension. The melodic passages are linked seamlessly to the more aggressive parts, until now, I don't know any other band who gets this done in this subtle way. For this track, Jonas called on Richard Anderson, keyboard wizard and brain behind TIME REQUIEM. The resulting duels with Krister Jonsson are phenomenal. By the way, during the heavier parts, you can perceive a touch of DREAM THEATER.
A baby voice introduces a track with a typical Yes sound, bass parts and vocal harmonics included. "Alex in Paradise" (after Jonas' son) sounds very cheerful and contains a very light, jazzy guitar solo.
On "At The Speed Of Light", you get to hear, for the first time, the characteristic bass sound of Jonas and as on the debute album, I once again get that 'Gino Vannelli' feeling, I wonder if Goran Edman realizes it. The new guitar player Krister Jonsson certainly is an asset, altough he has a less proggy style than Roine Stolt, but his solos à la Holdsworth are awesome. This track again exhales TFK, not in the least due to the contributions of Tomas Bodin.
After the question "Excuse me. Do U Tango?" asked by a female computer voice, follows the most bizar and at the same time the most original track, that I heard during the last years. After this you get a bright piece of fusion, followed by swelling bass parts in a tango rhythm, accompanied by a counting dance teacher. The rhythm speeds up in a compelling latino american atmosphere with a compulsory acoustic guitar solo. The changes in tempo are really innumerable during this track and Jonas gets the chance to enjoy himself completely. And let's not forget the whirling and technical refined drums by virtuoso Zoltan!
"Where Earth Meets The Sky" follows the trend of "Masterplan", the better neoprog with again some enormous examples of musical talent, even alternated with romantic sounding passages in the style of classic rock ballads. KARMAKANIC knows how to get such a track to a higher level, especially with the help of a few 'jazzy' solos on the keyboards.
The shortest track (still 5 minutes) "Hindby" reveals a fantastic bluesy guitar solo full of emotion from Jonsson, with a reference to the early (and also the best) Satriani period.
The title track "Wheel of Life" opens very cheerful with a flute, so it's no coincidence it reminds a bit of JETHRO TULL, covered in a KARMAKANIC dress. The striking difference with the previous album is the frequent use of polyphonic voice parts. In the middle part you get a very pleasing, even psychedelic passage (PINK FLOYD), carried by a compelling guitar by Roine Stolt. It's amazing how the compositions are strongly put together, the complete musical and vocal spectrum passes the review.
"Masterplan Part 2" isn't really the sequel of the first track, although there are some subtle simularities. Once again, the vocals of Goran Edman are great and full of emotion and with a brilliant guitar solo from friend Roine this track puts a pedal point to an album which I, for the time being, declare as the best of 2004. As always, there are a lot of references to the past and present, but KARMAKANIC, and especially Jonas Reingold, combines all these influences to a highly original collection of pure epics. I don't mind waiting another two year for the next album, if it means the quality remains the same. Do I need to mention it... every prog fan must have this album in his collection!
1. Masterplan, Part 1 (14:39)
2. Alex In Paradise (5:07)
3. At The Speed Of Light (6:28)
4. Do U Tango? (7:44)
5. Where The Earth Meets The Sky (12:59)
6. Hindby (4:59)
7. Wheel Of Life (8:28)
8. Masterplan, Part 2 (5:10)
Line-up / Musicians
- Jonas Reingold / electric bass, fretless bass, keyboards
- Göran Edman / vocals
- Zoltan Csorsz / drums
- Krister Jonzon / electric guitar, acoustic guitar
- Richard Anderson / keyboard solo on 'Masterplan, Part 1'
- Roine Stolt / guitar on 'Wheel Of Life' & 'Masterplan, Part 2'
- Tomas Bodin / Hammond organ on 'Masterplan, Part 1', 'Alex In Paradise' & 'At The Speed Of Light'
- Hans Bruniusson / percussion on 'Masterplan, Part 1'
- Helen Melin / percussion on 'Alex In Paradise', 'Do U Tango?', 'Where The Earth Meets The Sky' & 'Wheel Of Life'
- Sal Dibba / congas and yembe on 'Where The Earth Meets The Sky' & 'At The Speed Of Light'
- Helge Albin / flute on 'Wheel Of Life'
- Jakob Karlzon / piano and keyboards on 'Where The Earth Meets The Sky' & 'Wheel Of Life'
- Ola Hedén / piano on 'Wheel Of Life'
- Inger Ohlén / vocals on 'Where The Earth Meets The Sky'
- Alex Reingold / speech on 'Alex In Paradise'
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