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Articles Home » 2016 Articles » Kansas - 2016 The Prelude Implicit
 
Kansas - 2016 The Prelude Implicit



ARTIST: Kansas
ALBUM: The Prelude Implicit
LABEL: Inside Out Music
SERIAL: TBA
YEAR: 2016

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Ronnie Platt - lead vocals, piano (6) * Rich Williams - guitars * David Manion - piano, organ, keyboards * David Ragsdale - violin, backing vocals * Billy Greer - bass, backing vocals, lead vocals (8) * Phil Ehart - drums, percussion * Zak Rizvi - guitars, backing vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 With This Heart * 02 Visibility Zero * 03 The Unsung Heroes * 04 Rhythm in the Spirit * 05 Refugee * 06 The Voyage of Eight Eighteen * 07 Camouflage * 08 Summer * 09 Crowded Isolation * 10 Section 60 * 11 Home On The Range (Bonus) * 11 Oh Shenandoah (Bonus)

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.kansasband.com


Background
Here's a band that don't really need a mention nor an invitation on this website. They are in their golden years right now, but that doesn't mean to say that we've forgotten about them. Like a good old whiskey, this band have aged very well, and this would be the longest break they have enjoyed throughout their career. A 16 year hiatus since their last studio album (discounting the Native Windows side project from 2009), but we've seen many changes occur within that timeframe including the retirement of Steve Walsh, and the additional of Ragsdale, Manion and more recently Zak Rizvi). But like anything that is good and old, you can't keep a band like this down for too long. With now singer Ronnie Platt hooking on (he was previously with fellow Kansas regional band Shooting Star), there is new blood, fresh ideas and re-invigoration to be found on 'The Prelude Implicit', a highly anticipated release from these progressive/symphonic rock legends, who are now signed to prog label Inside Out Music.


The Songs
A rolling drum intro from Phil Ehart leads us into 'With This Heart'. All the elements for a Kansas mid-town rocker are here. A very smooth track to open the gates.

There a nice emphasis on the violin throughout 'Visibility Zero', toggling between their early history and the current day.

'The Unsung Heroes' is a very pleasant outing, Platt's lead vocal taking Kansas in a slightly different direction musically on this album at least, though David Ragsdale violin work keeps it all within a certain framework.

'Rhythm In The Spirit' is the track which offers the most diversity. Grooving guitars, a slinky rhythm section, with piano and organ for the offset parts. The verses are very modern and urban (for want of a better description), but the choruses do have a familiarity about them when you listen to it in depth.

'Refugee' could be described as the Dust In The Wind' moment on the album. The acoustic guitar and violin certainly turns back the hands of time.

'The Voyage of Eight Eighteen' is also a throwback to the first few Kansas LP's from the mid 70's. It's very symphonic in nature, and as you would expect, the longest track onboard.

'Camouflage' operates at slow to medium pace, though the guitar/keyboard chops are straight out of the classic rock dictionary written by the likes of Deep Purple.

Bassist Billy Greer (an accomplished lead vocalist in his own right) handles lead vocals on 'Summer'. This song bounces off the walls of the studio, it's quite a happy-go-lucky affair, more so than the rest of the material here. Must be the song-title I reckon.

Gotta love the dark vibe of 'Crowded Isolation', which probably sounds the least likely of a traditional Kansas song, but I love it nonetheless. Some very cool organ parts from David Manion, plus the very fluid/liquid synth solo in the mid-section.

'Section 60', an instrumental, could be a future military ode to the fallen troops of the USA, the song-title taken from the name of the final resting place for many of America's soldiers who served in the Middle East.

There are two additional tracks on the Deluxe edition of the album. 'Home On The Range' is an acoustic piece with lyrical references dating back to the early 1900's. 'Oh Shenandoah', a heartfelt instrumental, finishes up the album which can best be described as the comeback performance of 2016.


In Summary
Considering the length of this article, you can be assured that a fair bit of time was required to absorb 'The Prelude Implicit'. Whether you were a fan of their music from a particular decade, as a Kansas fan you should find much to enjoy here. As a long-time fan, my favourite era of the band was the 70's decade, right up to the 'Monolith' opus. Coincidentally, this ties in with Steve Walsh's participation with the band, and with Ronnie Platt now handling the vocals, I feel his voice is a perfect foil for the band. Released at the end of September 2016, the album is enjoying critical acclaim, and who knows, it may very well make my top 10 albums of the year!


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Comments
#1 | DEMONAOR on October 08 2016 08:57:36
Great review George. I have playing the album every day ever since I got it.
#2 | melodiapositiva on October 08 2016 09:26:11
I like everything about this album except the new singer, it's fine for a few songs but in the end his voice tires me .Greer is better IMO, and the playing of phil ehart is amazing as always .
#3 | gdazegod on October 08 2016 10:33:40
Can't please everybody I guess.. helpless
#4 | DEMONAOR on October 09 2016 12:24:43
melodiapositiva you must be the only so far, who don't like his voice. Platt nails the songs on the album. Great singer and the right fit for Kansas.
#5 | rkbluez on October 12 2016 11:27:57
Great return to form...Ronnie Platt sounds great...cool to see Zak from 4Front has joined the band he'll have a lot to bring to the table...their CD's while being mostly instrumental were all excellent and sounded huge.
#6 | reyno-roxx on October 12 2016 18:40:47
Fantastic album. My favourite of the year thus far.
#7 | Nick C on October 13 2016 13:50:30
I did a quick review over at Amazon for this and I aired the thought that Kiss often say that they could envisage a version of the band in existence without any of the original members. I reckon though Paul and Gene would be pretty irreplaceable. Kansas on the other hand I could imagine pulling it off, although every member brings something to the table none of them were so identifiable within the band really, not faceless I don't mean that, but the band seems more about music than personalities. The only other band I can think of at the moment treading a similar route with any real success is Yes, but I dunno...I'm a big Yes fan and the current situation doesn't work with me. I was struggling after Anderson left again but now with the passing of Chris, plus Steve Howe who is so identifiable as a guitarist isn't getting any younger (although he isn't really an original member) and would be nigh on impossible to replace. I've never heard another guitarist quite like him although he was out when Rabin was in so who knows.
 
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