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HYPERDRIVE

Knight Area

Neo-Prog


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Knight Area Hyperdrive album cover
3.27 | 56 ratings | 5 reviews | 16% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential


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Studio Album, released in 2014

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Afraid Of The Dark (5:44)
2. The Lost World (5:16)
3. Bubble (4:57)
4. This Day (4:43)
5. Crimson Skies (4:10)
6. Avenue Of Broken Dreams (4:31)
7. Living In Confusion (5:31)
8. Stepping Out (3:21)
9. Running Away (2:56)
10. Songs From the Past (3:35)
11. Hypnotized (7:39)

Total time 52:23

Lyrics

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Music tabs (tablatures)

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Line-up / Musicians

- Mark Smit / lead & backing vocals, piano (10)
- Mark Bogert / guitars
- Gerben Klazinga / keyboards, producer
- Peter Vink / basses
- Pieter van Hoorn / drums

With:
- Arjen Lucassen / guitar solo (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Gustavo Sazes

CD The Laser's Edge ‎- LE1071 (2014, US)

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy KNIGHT AREA Hyperdrive Music


HyperdriveHyperdrive
THE LASER'S EDGE 2017
Audio CD$9.84
$7.00 (used)
Hyperdrive by KNIGHT AREA (2014-08-03)Hyperdrive by KNIGHT AREA (2014-08-03)
Laser's Edge
Audio CD$36.47

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KNIGHT AREA Hyperdrive ratings distribution


3.27
(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(16%)
16%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
31%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)
9%

KNIGHT AREA Hyperdrive reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
3 stars - First Review of this Album -

Hyperdrive to the charts

I recall Knight Area being a melodic Neo-prog band in the vein of IQ; however, "Hyperdrive" would only loosely fit that description, if at all. Album no.5 from the Dutch progsters is rather dynamic, up-tempo and full of hard-rock, guitar driven compositions for the majority of time. It certainly draws from a light neo-prog "aura" as Kalzinga's keyboards dress the sound, but also from modern melodic progressive metal in the style of compositions. Very strong and catchy vocals from Mark Smit who reminds me of Vanden Plas' Andy Kuntz. With very few exceptions, here we are presented with "hit" songs, destined for the hard rock charts, with influences from pop/AOR, even early 90's Helloween (!) and powerful production.

To the above category we can put the dynamite opener, "Crimson Skies" and "Running Away", who are a gear faster that the rest; "Bubble", "Avenue of Broken Dreams", "Living in Confusion" (AOR meets lush keyboards!) and "Hypnotised" belong to the mid-tempo land with the latter being the longer and more varied. Rather unfortunately, a big proportion of the album is devoted to cliche balladry, with "The Lost World" standing out because of its signature opening riff which takes us back to 1976 and The Enid's debut. "Stepping Out" is a league of its own as a short and in-your-face riff-driven instrumental with Ayreon-like keyboards.

Overall, a pleasant listening experience, "Hyperdrive" is a nice-to-have album, which will appeal to those who like the more modern path, simpler, Neo-prog (i.e. heavy-rock driven) and don't mind a good proportion of ballad-like moments.

Thanks to Freeman Promotions for the promo.

Review by progpositivity
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I approached the new Knight Area album expecting to hear lushly atmospheric, sometimes melodramatic neo prog songs emphasizing vocals and keyboards. I expected to hear a new release from a band which, even in their more powerful moments often appropriated a form of metal I'd describe as oddly smooth. Those elements are not bad per se, nor are they gone entirely, but there is something very different happening on their latest album Hyperdrive.

I hear a sense of direction and urgency in these compositions that I've not often associated with Knight Area previously. On these songs, guitar riffs and guitar leads are more inspired. The keyboard solos soar with a new sense of vim and vigor. With this set of songs, the band seems to know exactly where they want to take us and they waste precious little time getting down to the business at hand. No wonder they named this album Hyperdrive!

The formula seems to be to alternate up-tempo numbers with ballads. But even the ballads are more tightly focused than in previous releases. Sometimes a majestic or anthemic mood permeates slower tunes to propel them forward. Other times the choruses are catchy enough to invite repetition. Almost always, the solos have a keen sense of forward movement. . Don't get me wrong. This isn't the most progressive music you'll ever hear. But stretching these songs out by slowing them down or padding them with atmospheric pauses wouldn't have made them more progressive. It would have only extended their running time and diluted their impact.

What then is this album? It is a set of high quality rock songs featuring good vocals, tastefully extended melodic (and sometimes a little shreddy) solos with emotionally full and satisfying keyboard infused arrangements.

On Hyperactive, Knight Area are onto something very good. Their songs are more succinct, more visceral and more captivating. The guitar solos are more purposeful, constantly seeking to push the songs forward musically. And all of this is done without the band losing touch with their neo prog roots. When Knight Area get powerful, I still consider their brand of metal to be a rather mellow and melodious one. Even so, they have acquired just enough crunchiness to now be the kind of mellow metal I can really enjoy sinking my teeth into from time to time.

Review by Aussie-Byrd-Brother
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Rock Progressivo Italiano Team
3 stars Back in 2007, Dutch band Knight Area released what I consider to be one of the finest recent Neo Prog albums in `Under a New Sign'. It was loaded with beautiful lengthy symphonic tracks perhaps in the style of the early romantic Pendragon albums, plenty of serene keyboards plied all around and a lively, likeable vocal performance from Mark Smit. There were occasional more straightforward hard rock elements, something that has been on all of the band's albums, but this most recent release, 2014's `Hyperdrive', sees the band ditch much of those progressive sounds, instead focussing on streamlined, reigned in hard rock/heavy AOR with shorter instrumental runs. While thankfully everything is still coated in Gerben Klazinga's sleek synths and new guitarist Mark Bogert's makes a huge impression for his album debut, as strong as the material actually is, some of the band's identity has been lost, leaving them musically sounding a little more anonymous. However, is it a bad album? No, not even close!

The majority of the eleven pieces here run between three and five minutes (only the closer stretches out beyond seven minutes), most following pretty traditional verse/chorus/solos/chorus patterns, which is initially quite a letdown. But give the album a few spins, and it quickly reveals that every piece is loaded with pleasing and strong melodies, memorable punchy arrangements and plenty of terrific playing. Frontman Smit still has a much softer and more pleasing voice than the tougher and usually bellowing hard rock/metal vocalists, making the band more appealing to those not as keen on hard rock/metal bands. Newcomer Bogert displays great variety and skill on guitar, and he fits in perfectly with the long-term members, also more than holding his own even with friendly competition in the form of a musical cameo from Ayreon mastermind Arjen Athony Lucassen!

Looking over the kinds of tracks on offer, you get blasting metal stompers like opener `Afraid of the Dark' and the up-tempo `Crimson Skies' with it's addictive snarling riffs and an Iron Maiden-esque anthemic chorus. Gutsy synth-heavy arena rocker `Avenue of Broken Dream' sounds like a better version of what Asia tried to offer, and the more poppy and groovy `Bubble' has a catchy chorus with a tasty runaway synth solo in the final minute. Choral Mellotron and swirling synths get a real workout all throughout driving rocker `Living in Confusion', and the only instrumental `Stepping Out' is a dynamic guitar showcase for special guest Arjen Anthony Lucassen, with an opening that goes straight to the heart, then burns with plenty of widdly fire in the second half. Album closer `Hypnotised' is overloaded with extended symphonic synth and guitar instrumental passages after it gets a shorter vocal section out of the way early on, with the grandest of epic guitar solos and Pieter van Hoorn's powerhouse drumming to close on.

Several winning power ballads also feature. The lush piano-led `This Day' and it's slightly twee chorus instantly reminds of Anyone's Daughter's self-titled album from 1980, and `The Lost World' has nice backing vocals, chunky bass courtesy of Peter Vink of legendary vintage instrumental proggers Finch, and a tasty Fish-era Marillion-flavoured Moog solo in the finale. But by far the absolute standout of the album is the swooning and gently melancholic piano ballad `Songs from the Past', where Mark adopts a sweeter falsetto vocal, supported by exquisite and intricate backing harmonies that instantly recall the classic early Seventies Queen albums.

While the more adventurous and sophisticated qualities are largely absent this time around for Knight Area, there is absolutely no denying how well written and performed this collection of tunes is. Along with the eye-catching sci-fi artwork and a lavish CD booklet, a lot of effort has gone into producing a strong work, and even though the band is working with more accessible pieces here, if you pay close attention you will still find progressive elements carefully worked in throughout, just in smaller doses! Hopefully the next release will see the group upping the prog scale a little more again, but if you enjoy the band overall (and they do have a great sound), and are perfectly happy to enjoy some hard rocking tunes, `Hyperdive' is very satisfying and worthwhile.

Three stars as a prog album, four stars as a hard rock album!

Latest members reviews

3 stars Sadly, Knight Area has decided to go the way of several bands before them and dull down their overall sound to a kind of nondescript hard prog/metal that lacks the majesty and drama of their past efforts. The first three or so albums these guys did have been in regular rotation for me since they ... (read more)

Report this review (#1416546) | Posted by Progatron | Sunday, May 17, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Every prog band once in a while flirts with streamlining their sound. I've always thought that Knight Area, with their mix of neo-prog, hard rock, AOR, synth-pop and a classical influence here and there, was apt for this kind of crossover. But they managed to surprise me for a couple of albums, ... (read more)

Report this review (#1306588) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, November 13, 2014 | Review Permanlink

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