Melodic Revolution Records|Featured Album Review July 2015|
Kinetic Element | Travelog
Label: Melodic Revolution Records
Release Year: 2015
Country: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Genre: Progressive Rock
Mike Visaggio: Keyboards
Michael Murray: Drums
Todd Russell: Guitars
Mark Tupko: Bass
Dimetrius LaFavors (tracks 1, 2 & 5) War Song, Travelog, Vision Of A New Dawn
Michelle Schrotz (track 3) Into The Lair
Mike Florio (track 4) Her
When Mike Visaggio of Kinetic Element set me up with the album Travelog I was in a state a anticipation I had not been in quite some time. After my review of Anuryzm’s All Is Not For All off Melodic Revolution Records I spotted the making of a great progressive rock/metal label. Now with Kinetic Element’s Travelog it has only served to reinforce and confirm that Melodic Revolution Records is postioning itself to contend as a great prog label.
First of all, if you are a progressive rock purist this album will be a sonic paradise for your listening pleasure. The band lists Yes, Genesis, ELP, King Crimson, Kansas, IQ, Transatlantic, Renaissance as some of their influences. When I listen to Travelog I hear those and so much more. Throughout this review I will point those out.
War Song is the ‘perfect’ progressive rock track to open Travelog as it clocks in at 20:29. The intro beckons the epics of the past such as Yes’ Close To The Edge and Revealing Science Of God – Dance Of The Dawn from Tales Of Topographic Oceans crossed with Genesis’ Suppers Ready and Emerson Lake And Palmers Tarkus. There is some great atmospheric keyboards tuned to mellotron and hammond organ standards, with rich rhythm sections between bass and drums. The vocals are like a cross of Jon Anderson of Yes meets Donald Faegen of Steely Dan. Between the 12:50 to 13:00 marks there is a great yet subtle fuzzy distorted guitar to match the keys in perfect harmony. The vocals really explode at the 14:00 mark and work with the atmospheric background the keyboards continue to carry in this track.
Travelog opens up with a plush 16th century style acoustic renaissance vibe. It has shades of the prog band Renaissance meets Al Di Meola . Then a plush harmonic vocal of the opening to the USA’s National Anthem. It reminds me of how Yes would use items like Roundabout‘s from their homeland or Genesis’ Selling England By The Pound, as classy patriotic inuendoe’s.
Into The Lair is a defining track. It seems as if the band have taken their influences along with their own arsenal and formed their own sound out of thise fires. With the female vocal on it I am often reminded of Annie Halsam of Renaissance and Renate Knaupf of Amon Duul ii , the 2 first ladies of progressive rock for sure. Into The Lair completely reminds me of Renaissance’s track like Mother Russia crossed with epic power of Amon Duul ii Phallaus Dei . It also presents a wide cross section of time signatures where every instrument stands out as a collective thus tightening Travelog even more.
Her begins with a lush gorgeous orchestral piano style passage. This is followed with a very deep rhythm section. The intro most definitely reminds me of the jazz style employed on Steely Dan’s Aja album with some Alan Holdsworth sprinkled over it for flavour. Her is a prog version of a Steely Dan’s Kid Charlemagne meets Yes’ Heart Of The Sunrise both lyrically and instrumentally.
Vision Of A New Dawn definitely opens up like more a jazz symphonic progressive rock assembly. Heavy in keyboards building a tapestry for the deeper colours of shade with the rhythm section between drums and bass. The keyboards at times have flute effects reminding me of Ian Anderson at some points throughout the track. At 18:26, Vision Of A New Dawn is perfectly arranged on the album. Much like War Song was a great epic to open the album, Vision Of A New Dawn eloquently and properly closes the album.
After a few listens Travelog grew on me and I understood where the band was taking the listener. If you are a prog rock purist that loves a few 20 minute tracks and a journey in your mind Travelog is that album for you. Nick Katona and Melodic Revolution Records have found a great live band and festival band. Kinetic Element are one of those bands that can be a label staple anywhere in the industry. I give Travelog a 5/5 for grace and purity of the heritage of symphonic prog’s past, present and future.