Melodic Revolution Records
Great, just what we need – another bunch of old buffers, sorry, I mean proggers, flogging early Genesis/Yes inspired symphonic prog. The latter, in particular.
To be fair, the Richmond, Virginia based band – formed by veteran multi-keyboardist Mike Visaggio – have been around for well over a decade now, and have two previous albums under their belt – Powered By Light (2009) and Travelog (2015).
But The Face Of Life sees the band at a crossroads with the introduction of their first full time vocalist – Saint John Coleman – who starts out shakily but rapidly warms to the task, and a new guitarist – Peter Matuchniak. Although constructionally, I suspect not much has changed.
Lyrically inspired by spirituality and the state of the world and the human condition, the album – ‘a symphony in E Major’ – is made up of just five ‘pieces’ (including a short ‘bonus’ track). The production by today’s standards may be a little lacking, but it does allow the instruments and ‘clean’ vocals a rare degree of clarity.
The playing throughout is accomplished, if relying heavily on the style of early Yes, and there’s some lovely vintage touches, notably Mark Tupko’s thundering Chris Squire influenced bass playing. It’s actually a very enjoyable listen, with no urge to reach for the ‘skip’ or ‘eject’ buttons, but by the same token it’s hardly packed with originality.
Without question, Kinetic Element would make a great Yes tribute band, but in their own right, they’re perhaps just too derivative. And for that reason I can’t see many making The Face Of Life a regular playlist feature. ***
Review by Pete Whalley
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