Knight Area - Under A New Sign
Record Label: The Laser's Edge
Release Date: April 3, 2007
Knight Area began as a solo project for keyboardist Gerben Klazinga, who released his debut album, The Sun Also Rises, in 2004. Knight Area is now a five-piece Dutch progressive band, and their sophomore album, Under A New Sign, is an interesting mix of the newer neo-prog of today and retro progressive.
The album begins with "A Different Man," which is orchestrated perfectly, with guitarist Mark Vermeule playing off the keyboards very well. Everything in the song seems to flow so naturally, and it is a blissful eight minutes to listen to, the perfect way for the band to begin their album. The next track, "Exit L.U.M.C," is faster and more upbeat, and while it is arranged nicely, it is pretty predictable and tends to drag on.
The center of the album is definitely the best part. "Mastermind" has a strong, heavy guitar riff throughout, and lead vocalist/keyboardist Mike Smit confidently sings solid lyrics. In the instrumental title track, the band experiments with different key signatures (and do it very successfully), and the instrumental solos are both extremely good; the band is very talented. The ballad, "Courteous Love" is kind of cliche, and though the lyrics are kind of weak, the piano is decent and the song is best during the guitar interludes.
"Dreamweaver" is pretty well-done, definitely a step-up from "Courteous Love," although it does tend to sound like what most typical neo-prog bands are doing these days. The album closes with "A Different Man, Part Two." The song lasts thirteen minutes and features great instrumental parts from the whole band, and is one of the strongest songs on the entire album.
The musicianship is fantastic and the songs are crafted beautifully; the one problem I have with the album is that it seems to sound like a lot of modern prog-rock bands out there right now. There is no real bad track in this album, it's just overall very predictable.
For those looking for an emotional, solid neo-prog band to listen to, Knight Area is what you may be looking for. But if you're tired of the progressive trends and looking for something new that breaks away from typical 2000's prog, this album is probably not for you.