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Kaipa - Keyholder CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

3.79 | 234 ratings

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4 stars Keyholder is the 8th full-length studio album by Swedish symphonic progressive rock act Kaipa. The album is the 2nd release after a longer hiatus which lasted about 10 years until the release of Notes From the Past (2002). The lineup is unchanged since the last album which means that Hans Lundin handles Hammond organ, synthesizers, mellotron, pianos & vocals, Roine Stolt handles electric & acoustic guitars, percussion & vocals, Morgan Ågren plays the drums, Jonas Reingold plays bass, Ritual vocalist Patrik Lundström handles the male vocals while Aleena handles the female vocals and backing vocals. Keyholder was released by InsideOut Music.

The music on Keyholder pretty much picks up where Notes From the Past left off. This means a continuation of the keyboard/ synth driven symphonic progressive rock style with jazz rock/ fusion and Scandinavian folk elements that is a trademark for Kaipa. The music is energetic and full of positive vibes. This is definitely what most people would refer to as retro progressive rock but with an excellent warm and professional production. There are references to just about every classic seventies progressive rock act but I think the Yes influence is the most prominant one.

There are only 8 tracks on the album but the total playing time says 79:23 minutes, so it´s obvious that the songs are very long, varying from 6 - 13 minutes in length. Needless to say that it takes a while to absorb an album that is almost 80 minutes long. It´s seldom an advantage to produce albums that long IMO but Kaipa seem to be one of the exceptions to the rule. I fully enjoy every second of Keyholder. Songs like Lifetime of a Journey, A Complex Work of Art, Otherworldly Brights and The End of the Rope are simply outstanding symphonic progressive rock to these ears. The latter is a favorite with its hard rocking main riff. It´s a very Flower Kings sounding tune that one. I started out not enjoying the vocals too much because of Patrik Lundström´s very distinct vocal style but the more I listen the more I enjoy that part of the music too.

The playing is exceptional throughout the album. These are all highly skilled musicians. Roine Stolt seems to have gained more control in the band since Notes From the Past as he is credited for co-writing more songs on Keyholder and because his guitar playing is more prominant on this album than it was on Notes From the Past. There´s no doubt that Kaipa is still first and foremost Hans Lundin´s baby though. He is everywhere on this album and plays with great technical skill but also with great emotion. The rythm section is outstanding. Morgan Ågren is probably one of the most skilled Swedish drummers at the moment and bassist Jonas Reingold also delivers as usual.

Keyholder has taken a while for me to get into and upon initial listen I was a bit put off by the length of the album and the vocals. The length is not a problem anymore and I´ve begun to appreciate the vocals more and more, so I would put Keyholder up there with Notes From the Past as an excellent symphonic progressive rock album fully deserving a 4 star rating. Quality wise it doesn´t get much better than this. If you´re searching for a band that innovates the genre this is not the place to look though. Kaipa seem fully content composing and playing music that could have been released in the seventies and I´m certainly not the one to complain.

UMUR | 4/5 |


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