[Review] Kaipa – Urskog

Kaipa are Progressive Rock legends with a career that began in the heyday of the early 1970s and continues to this day. Over the years they have changed lineup, but the style and quality of the compositions has always remained at very high levels. The new album “Urksog” released on April 29, 2022 via InsideOut Music contains 6 long-running tracks which confirm them as one of the best bands in the genre. The album features the new drummer Darby Todd and two special guests: Elin Rubinsztein on violin and Olof Åslund on saxophone. The album opens with the epic suite “The Frozen Dead of the Night” over 18 minutes long. The band immediately immerses us in the Symphonic Prog sounds of the album with a warm and expressive vocal and a background of keyboards, with the intensity that increases with the passage of the song. After the first introductory minutes, mainly focused on choral parts and keyboards, the track evolves with refined textures and an excellent mix between guitar and keyboards. The rhythmic session is solid and elaborate, with continuous tempo changes as in the best tradition of Prog. The keyboards are at the center of the scene, offering excellent duets with the guitar in the solo parts, with technical and sometimes virtuous inserts. A track that contains within it all the essence of Progressive music with references to the past and a look at the future of the genre, as only bands of this level can do. “In a World of Pines” begins with acoustic guitar and keyboards, and then turns into a track that alternates more melancholic passages and others more melodic in the vocal parts. In the central part the band develops an intense and prolonged instrumental section that enhances the technique of the artists involved, with refined soloist inserts. Alternating sung and instrumental parts of absolute value, the band takes us through 10 minutes of pure musical pleasure, underlining their personal style that mixes various traits of the Progressive. We arrived at the title track “Urskog” which begins with an intro of orchestrations with melancholy features, and then comes alive with a harder sound than the previous ones. The synth immediately stands out in the first part with an interesting solo cue, and then leaves room for a choral vocal with more melodic and dreamy features. A track that best mixes the most Symphonic and delicate traits of the band with the more Heavy ones, with an intricate rhythmic session and a valuable use of Mellotron. In this song the keyboards are at the center of the sound, both in the melodies and in the solos, to leave space in the final for a virtuoso guitar insert. Continuing on the sounds of the previous “Wilderness Excursion” it presents harder traits and others more symphonic, creating a solid sound with more intricate passages. In some changes the band touches the Heavy Prog sounds with a fresh and modern imprinting and a guitar and keyboard work that made me jump from the chair. In the central part they further elaborate the theme of the track by showing all the band’s technique and concluding with a musical crescendo with intertwining organ and solo guitar of the highest level. The ‘shortest’ track of the album “In the Wastelands of My Mind” which still exceeds 6 minutes, returns to more delicate sounds with pleasant violin melodies. A more Folk Prog passage that shows the versatility of the band, skilled in always creating engaging tracks by touching the various aspects of Prog music always with a refined technique. Very engaging and with a good duet of male and female voices that intertwine perfectly, while the guitar dialogues best with the violin in the instrumental sections to which the keyboards are added. The album closes with another epic track of over 15 minutes “The Bitter Setting Sun” which immediately immerses us in the most sought after sounds of the band, with a solid sound and intricate weaves. Hard guitars and powerful drumming characterize the first part with the keyboards that give body to the melodies, creating a sound halfway between retro and modern. With continuous tempo changes that alternate heavier parts and symphonic openings, and with the entry of the sax the sound reaches very high levels. A long track that contains all the essence of the band and concludes an album of exquisite workmanship where each track is in its own way a small piece of the masterpiece that is this record. It is always a pleasure to be able to review works like this, where there are ideas of absolute value performed by masters of the genre, confirming how Kaipa are one of the best bands in the Prog genre. All the tracks are well constructed and performed with technical and sometimes virtuous passages that enhance the individual technique and the band. A must listen for all lovers of Progressive sounds, an album that contains the essence of the genre, in my opinion a real masterpiece.

Tracklist

01. The Frozen Dead of the Night (18:52)
02. In a World of Pines (10:04)
03. Urskog (7:57)
04. Wilderness Excursion (8:57)
05. In the Wastelands of My Mind (6:13)
06. The Bitter Setting Sun (15:20)

Lineup

Hans Lundin / Keyboards, Vocals
Per Nilsson / Guitars
Jonas Reingold / Bass
Darby Todd / Drums
Aleena Gibson / Vocals

Special Guests:
Elin Rubinsztein / Violin
Olof Åslund / Saxophone

Kaipa |Official Website|Facebook Page|Spotify|

InsideOut Music |Official Website|Facebook Page|Twitter|Instagram|YouTube Channel|

Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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