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Realm Of Shadows

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Album Review

When a musician's studio project becomes an actual band, it can be a positive sign. It can mean that the material is strong enough for the musician to take things to the next level. And that is clearly the case with the progressive rock-oriented Knight Area, which started out as a studio project for Dutch keyboardist Gerben Klazinga but turned into a full-fledged band. Knight Area's third album, Realm of Shadows, doesn't sound like Klazinga and various studio musicians; it sounds like the work of an honest-to-God band. Granted, Klazinga is the one in the driver's seat; there's no doubt that Knight Area is his baby. But he obviously had a lot of creative input from his colleagues, including lead singer Mark Smit (who wrote most of the lyrics). And the other band members (guitarist Mark Vermeule, bassist Gijs Koopman, and drummer Pieter van Hoorn) never sound like mere studio musicians — they sound like they're part of a team that they have gladly made a commitment to. What does all that mean in terms of the quality of the material? Realm of Shadows isn't groundbreaking, but it's solid and very listenable. Progressive rock has certainly had its excesses over the years; Knight Area, however, aren't terribly self-indulgent. Realm of Shadows has a strong sense of songcraft, and edgy yet melodic tracks such as "Antagony," "Dark Souls," and "Two of a Kind" (which draw on influences like Genesis, Marillion, Pendragon, and early Journey) are very easy to absorb. This enjoyable, if derivative, effort leaves no doubt that Klazinga did the right thing when he opted to turn Knight Area from a studio project into a full-fledged working band.

Realm Of Shadows, Knight Area
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