KNIGHT AREA

"Realm of Shadows" (Laser's Edge; 2009)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Neo-prog rockers Knight Area take a darker turn with “Realm of Shadows,” an impressive follow-up to their 2007 release “Under a New Sign.” Knight Area still base their sound on classic ‘70s prog-rock yet have taken “Realm of Shadows” into heavier and more dramatic territory.

Utilizing an approach that is much closer to Dream Theater than previously heard by the band, “Realm of Shadows” features more aggressive songwriting and dramatic music. The guitars, bass, keyboards, and drums more successfully intertwine more metallic and ominous elements into their occasionally understated neo-progressive approach. Vocalist Mark Smit has injected more desperation into his singing approach that fits more appropriately with the lyrical themes and musical palette created by the band this time around.

Fans of symphonic progressive rock, neo-prog rock, and progressive metal will find much to like with Knight Area’s “Realm of Shadows.”

“Realm of Shadows” was produced by Gerben Klazinga with Gijs Koopman. The sound of “Realm of Shadows” is remarkably vibrant.

Knight Area is Mark Smit on vocals, Mark Vermeule on guitars, Gerben Klazinga on keyboards, Gijs Koopman on bass and Moog Taurus pedals, and Pieter van Hoorn on drums and percussion.

For more information visit http://www.knightarea.com or http://www.myspace.com/knightarea.

"Under a New Sign" (Laser's Edge; 2007)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Knight Area, the Dutch progressive rockers who took the neo-prog world by storm with their debut release “The Sun Also Rises,” figure to turn more heads with their latest effort, “Under A New Sign.”

Utilizing the slow-build method to great effect, Knight Area mine the classic 70s progressive rock sound with a symphonic edge. Knight Area employ a flair for the dramatic despite never really pushing the heart rate. Occasionally, the guitars get heavy to add some special dynamics. “Mastermind” may be the most traditionally heavy rock track of the album – it’s comparable to some of Dream Theater’s more accessible tracks. The patient pace of the rest of the album allows the dynamic interplay between the band members to emphasize moods and melodies over sheer force.

Vocalist Mark Smit has a pleasant mid-range voice that he uses to great effect when speaking, singing, or belting out certain lyrical lines with authority. “Dreamweaver” has the best vocals on the album; the timber of Smit’s vocals on this tune recall Amorphis during the “Am Universum” days. 

Fans of early Genesis, Marillion, and IQ as well as current neo-prog heavyweights such as Spock’s Beard and Pallas will appreciate Knight Area’s “Under a New Sign.”

“Under A New Sign” was produced by Gerben Klazinga. The sound is great – crystal clear. The low end punches through the speakers while the high ends are not too irritating.

Knight Area is Mark Smit on vocals, Mark Vermeule on guitars, Rinie Huigen on guitars and backing vocals, Gerben Klazinga on keyboards, Joop Klazinga on flutes and recorders, Gijs Koopman on bass and Moog Taurus pedals, and Pieter van Hoorn on drums and percussion.

For more information visit http://www.knightarea.com or http://www.myspace.com/knightarea

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 04 Sep 2017 13:05:03 -0400.