Karnataka |Secrets Of Angels (Album Review)(Installment #4)

Karnataka |Secrets Of Angels

Label : Immrama Records
Release Year : 2015
Country : United Kingdom
Genre : Progressive/Symphonic/Celtic /Metal

Band Members
Haley Griffiths – Lead Vocals
Enrico Pinna- Lead Guitar/Vocals
Jimmy Pallagrosi –Drums
Ian Jones –Bass/Keyboards/Guitars
Cagri Tozluoglu – Keyboards

Official Karnataka Website

Official Karnataka Facebook Page

Over the last 50 years we have seen our share of female fronted bands in pop, metal, and other genres of music as a whole. However female fronted bands in straight up progressive rock are scarce and rare. When we think of women in progesssive rock we remember the pioneers of Renate Knaupf Amon Duul ii , Annie Halsam The Renaissance even Psychadelia’s first ever Diva Grace Slick Jefferson Airplane/Starship .
Between 2000- 2015 their seems to be a resurgence of women returning to the progressive rock not just metal. The fabulous talents that come to mind to name a few are Heather Findley ex-Mostly Autumn/Ayreon/Solo, Christina Booth Magenta , Judith Rijnveld of Kingfisher Sky even Lana Lane. This crop of women are our new Peter Gabriels, Phil Collins, Jon Andersons and Jon Wetton. Walking a razors edge and fine line between progressive rock to hard rock, women and their bands still develop the same complexed time signatures and epics and Genesis, Yes, King Crimson, etc . Karnataka’s Hayley Griffiths certainly has gracefully walked into this pantheon of talent and creativity.
Accompanying Haley is a band that I feel are one third Kansas, another third IONA, and a final third of Mostly Autumn. Founded by bassist and multi instrumentalist Ian Jones back in 1997, the band is rounded out with the talents and likes of Enrico Pinna (Guitars, vocals) Cagri Tozluoglu (Keyboards) Jimmy Pallagrosi , Drums, Karnataka mixes a blend of world and celtic influences with hard and progressive rock for a distinctive sound.

Road To Cairo
This track is one of the most stand out tracks on the album. With a wicked time signature backed by an Arabic scale, the band takes us on a journey much like one Ritchie Blackmore did 40 years early in Rainbow with Stargazer.

Because Of You
This is probably the most radio friendly track on the album. Opening with a a lush piano intro and soon progressing within seconds to a symphonic cacaphony of bliss. Lush strings interwining like a symphonic web. It serves as a prog rock ballad with a retrospective message. The

Poison Ivy
A song of pain and agony. Haley’s voice gets really aggressive on this track. It is definitely sung with conviction with the band in the background as a perfect complament on key spot on. This one opens up with a sweet symphonic intro. There is a choir effect in and out at many times that with the keyboards carries this track.

Forbidden Dreams
Opens up with a haunting piano line and soon becomes enhanced with cymbals and light percussive elements. This is one of the more emotional tracks on the album both instrumenatally and lyrically. It is written with such great emotion it is as if one of the band members had a personal experience that inspired Forbidden Dreams.

One of the darker and heavier tracks on Secrets Of Angels, this begins with a heavy darker and brooding intro before going to a straight away progressive hard rock composition yet with angelic vocals for a haunting and emotional listening experience.

Fairytale Lies
Fairytale Lies is definitely the most personal introspective track on the album. It is one of those tracks that if it were a video Haley would be sitting at a piano with the rest of that band around her. The message is timeless to anyone who had their hopes set on a particular thing that never came to fruition.

Feels Like Home
Serene symphonic and poetic justice gives way to a upbeat encouraging track. At the 2:00 mark kicks into a straight up rock track with the heavier guitar taking over for the softer piano intro. A track of coming home and the love that exists when you do. The emotional guitar solo serves as a wonderful bridge towards the end. Beautiful vocal backing tracks ovedubbed just sweeten the pot on this one.

Secrets Of Angels
The title track of the album. The intro has a very heavy celtic old world vibe. On top of Haley’s beautiful voice it can be easy to confuse it with a Celtic Woman soundtrack. Karnataka have certainly excuted all fascets of Haley’s voice with a strong lead vocal mixed with wonderful backing overdubs. At about the 4:00 mark it takes off like a beautiful film score with the drums, bass and guitars all coming on in union preapring you for this 20:04 epic journey.
The rest of this track goes in from time celtic old world time signatures fashioned by Mostly Autumn crossed with Magenta and IONA with different choral down towns and explosive celtic rock jams. This will most definitely find its place as a staple in live setlists.
At the end of the day I give this album 4/5.

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