Album review: KARMAKANIC – Dot


Inside Out – Out Now.

Fans of Progressive Rock music really need not be told who Jonas Reingold is. Most of the bands that this tall and highly talented Swede has been involved in (see Kaipa, The Flower Kings, The Tangent, etc.) have produced some of the best quality albums the genre has to offer while the list of high profile musicians that Jonas has exchanged ideas with over the years is pretty endless indeed.

That being said, it is most likely Karmakanic the project closer to the man’s heart as, since its foundation in Malmo/Sweden fourteen years ago, it has enabled the forty seven year old bassist/keyboardist to bring uninterrupted his musical ideas to life – ideas like the ones featured in this year’s offering entitled “Dot”.

There is a common thread connecting all the bands that the Swede has been involved with which also clearly manifests itself in “Dot”; the ability to invest in long and technically/thematically varied compositions while keeping the melodic levels of his music fairly intact.

This approach ensures that, while the Prog Rock aficionados will find plenty of challenging material to sink their teeth in, the average Rock fans will not be put off by the five compositions on offer either. The best of both worlds? Well, the end result is pretty damn impressive indeed!

Following on the short same-titled atmospheric intro, “God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About – Part I” is, without doubt, the main focal point of the album. Moody piano melodies, 70s Hammond tunes, strategically-placed supporting orchestrations, children choral themes…this twenty three and a half minute composition has everything you would want from a Prog Rock composition and then some!

I was mightily impressed by the use of seemingly contradicting themes and the natural way that these interacted together as well as the band’s ability to showcase its various important influences (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes) through its own unique musical prism.

More melodic in its orientation but equally impressive in terms of the thematic variety employed, “Higher Ground” features a Prog section reminiscent of those of Ayreon’s fame while the melodic moments featured in the Floyd-influenced “Steer By The Starts” are simply to die for (note: check out the band vocal refrain – simply awesome!).

Rhythmically simple but emotionally powerful, “Travelling Minds” finds Jonas Reingold’s bass guitar on a leading role and I would not at all be surprised if I were to find out that the moody orchestral parts and the emotionally charged vocal lines in “God The Universe And Everything Else No One Really Cares About – Part I” were deemed appealing by fans of bands like Savatage!

Jonas Reingold is a man whose musical output I have been following closely these last few years, so reviewing “Dot” was an exercise I undertook with great pleasure.

Unsurprisingly, Karmakanic’ s studio album number five turned out to be another top quality release by the mighty Swede and his handpicked collaborators – an album capable of offering the listener with many moments of sheer enjoyment, providing that the right amount of attention and respect is given to it.

Prepare yourselves for another brilliant musical journey and simply press the ‘play’ button!  ****1/2

Review by Ioannis (John) Stefanis

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.

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