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Kaipa - Children Of The Sounds CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.82 | 128 ratings

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Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
4 stars Legendary Seventies Swedish proggers Kaipa reformed back in the early years of the new millennium around two of the original members, founding keyboardist Hans Lundin and future Flower Kings guitarist Roine Stolt, with the duo delivering `Notes from the Past' in 2002. Since that time, Stolt has departed once again after 2005's `Mindrevolutions', even going on to form a related splinter group Kaipa Da Capo in the last couple of years, but Lundin has carried on forging a whole new unique sound for this modern Kaipa. This distinctive fresh identity is especially aided by Ritual's vocalist Patrik Lundström, Flower Kings/Karmakanic/The Tangent bass player extraordinaire Jonas Reingold and spirited female singer Aleena Gibson, and it is mostly this line-up that has remained in place for several years now, delivering another fine symphonic folk work here, `Children of the Sounds', in 2017.

Both opener `Children Of The Sounds' and the seventeen minute `On the Edge of New Horizons' instantly call to mind plenty of modern Kaipa songs of the last decade, as well as setting the template for much of the disc, with luxurious acoustic guitars and grandiose synth passages weaving bombastic folk-flecked prog-rock symphonies. The prettiness is ingrained to propulsive electric guitar soloing (sometimes briefly drifting into jazz-fusion territory), Jonas' fluid and thick bass backing and Morgan Ågren's busy complex drumming, and Patrik's Freddie Mercury-esque tone remains commanding with conviction while Aleena retains her boisterous hippie-chick colour and spunk! Stolt's replacement for several albums now, talented guitarist Per Nilsson, brings a heavier attack than his predecessor of many albums back, perhaps unsurprisingly due to his heavy metal background with Scar Symmetry and more recently Meshuggah, but he offers a very unique, curiously weighty backing to the fanciful acoustic folk passages here. Lyrically, there's a welcome positivity to the words that constantly focus on nature, nostalgia and spirit, with examples like `We are descendants of the sound cloud', `We are universal soldiers of art, the guardians of light' giving a good idea to the mindset the modern version of Kaipa operates from.

But the album really climbs to a higher level once guest Elin Rubinsztein's violin is introduced for all the remaining pieces. The near-thirteen minute lyrically reflective `Like A Serpentine' is an overall highlight of the disc, where carefully executed heavier rushes blend with a sweeping prettier whimsy of orchestral-like instrumentation, and it reminds how frequently lovely it is when Patrick and Aleena sing sweetly in unison or offer softly sighing harmonies. The shortest piece `The Shadowy Sunlight' fuses prancing violin and romantic moods with some heavier guitar bite, giving its bookended folk whimsy (the best parts of the piece) a touch of weight, conviction and light gothic flavours. Closer `What's Behind The Fields' is pounded with blustery symphonic Hammond/Mellotron blasts, with plenty of drawn out breathy vocals in between the twirling violin, jangling acoustic guitars and rambunctious drumming infiltrating the harder edged bursts, and a suitably grand extended guitar solo from Per perfectly farewells the album.

What we have with `Children of the Sounds' is another reliable and impeccably performed modern Kaipa album, however it does admittedly sound exactly like...pretty much the last six Kaipa albums in a row. The biggest diehard fans of the band likely won't mind, and newcomers discovering the group with this album will greatly enjoy it, but for others, it kind of renders the LP as `just another Kaipa album', which lets down the always superb efforts of the various performers here, and it runs the risk of some listeners becoming more disinterested in the group in the future. A definite rethink is in order here, where Lundin and his Kaipa friends need to shake up their sound and take a few more chances - perhaps they could deliver a purely acoustic work, or maybe a concept album with branching lyrical themes? Still, taken on its own merits, `Children of the Sound' remains a fine folk-flavoured symphonic work, and there's endless things to enjoy about it.

Four stars...and bonus points for Thomas Ewerhard's luscious pastoral cover art that looks especially lovely on the LP edition.

Aussie-Byrd-Brother | 4/5 |


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