Knight Area - Nine Paths Review
by Matt Hensch
This album really fails to ignite my curiosity. It’s pretty much progressive rock lightly coated in a metallic skin that embraces the typical qualities of progressive music, and I think that leads to its downfall. Knight Area is a characteristic role fans of Yes or Genesis would appreciate to a tenfold; the group’s focus on progressive elements is the focal point of “Nine Paths” and, from what I’ve gathered, the rest of their discography. Overall though, I’m just not impressed. This really isn’t original or consistently captivating although there are some prime moments, but I just feel like Knight Area missed the boat about three decades before “Nine Paths,” and the essentials of the record are unenthusiastically channeled and painfully clichéd.
The band's style wiggles between the progressive rock fundamentals of Yes or Genesis stacked between an occasional dose of heavy/power metal for good measure. Unfortunately, the good moments are few and far between. Like a little bird that just can't take off, Knight Area again and again drops guitar work that is acceptable, but far from genius, and exterior sequences that are seldom captivating and occasionally drop into pompous territory are always present. Perhaps the biggest offender is "The River," which chugs aimlessly between mediocre bridges and an overuse of keyboard cuts. Occasionally there's an excellent tune hiding in the midst: the opening epic "Ever Since you Killed me" runs through a solid cycle of progressive rock keys and riffs before suddenly crashing into a haunting, bleak section of wonderful clean guitars and stellar vocals. Some passages throughout "Wakerun" are pretty sensational too, but there's just not a lot going on artistically to truly capture brilliance.
The whole album just feels restrained. Vocalist Mark Smit continuously performs adequately throughout "Nine Paths," but there are only a handful of moments where he truly unleashes the true power of his voice. The emotional "Please Come Home" features guest vocals from Delain singer Charlotte Wessels, but it again becomes a big snorefest because of the dire songwriting and first-class cheesiness infiltrating its perimeters. Notice a pattern here? Granted, Knight Area's love for hard rock comes out during the snazzy "Clueless," which provides an addictive chorus while dropping the dullness most of "Nine Paths" preaches, thankfully. And I should mention that the lower tracks aren't poor as piss, but they are unmemorable and lacking. So yea, if progressive rock with an extra hint of metal makes you feel good about yourself, you may want to investigate "Nine Paths" a bit deeper, but otherwise leave it for the birds.
Knight Area - Nine Paths
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