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Kaipa – In the Wake of Evolution: Review

Kaipa, another progressive band from Sweden, just released a new studio album on March 15. It is entitled In the Wake of Evolution, and is under the record label InsideOut. Though I have not listened to any early material by Kaipa, I must admit that this is a strong starting point.

The Music (rating: A-)

  1. In the Wake of Evolution
  2. In the Heart of Her Own Magic Field
  3. Electric Power Water Notes
  4. Folkia’s First Decision
  5. The Words are Like Leaves
  6. Arcs of Sound
  7. Smoke from a Secret Source
  8. The Seven Oceans of Our Mind

Because I had never heard of Kaipa prior to this record, I did not know what to expect. Being associated with InsideOut, I automatically assumed progressive metal to the style of Pain of Salvation and Aspera. However, this is absolutely not the case. The tone of the album is much more warm and welcoming. Also, having a female vocalist on the roster puts a lighter, more uplifting side to the music. But it is quite a versatile album, as there are moments throughout that get somewhat heavy. Still, I would definitely not classify this album as metal; it is progressive rock (with a strong folk influence).

Despite not being metal, it is still enriched with musical intricacies. It shows with the first melody being in 11/8 time. It has many unorthodox rhythms and key changing, making it unique while staying true to the progressive genre. Although strict song structures (like the typical verse-chorus-bridge) are not evident, the use of recurring themes helps keep the music tied together. For having the songs averaging ten minutes in length, In the Wake of Evolution does not feel like a long album. The songs are consistently interesting and non-repetitive. Musicianship on this record is at a high level.

The instruments are very complimentary to one another. No instrument attempts to overpower the others. The guitar, while not overly technical, is very substance-filled. And the drums give a  large collection of beats to keep the songs from being repetitive. Both the vocal solos and harmonies are very well phrased and performed. Kaipa clearly takes advantage of having vocalists of both genres. The bass is extremely melodic and supportive at the same time. And finally, the keyboardist does an excellent job providing atmosphere as well as background and lead melodies. All the band members execute a fine job on this album.

Overall this is an outstanding album. It is at a very high level with respect to both creativity and instrumental performance. The band establishes a very distinct style in this album and stays true to it from start to finish, but still manages to keep the music fresh. At the moment I would not deem this album to be perfect, though after some listens it could change my mind, but I doubt it. I think it is safe to say that In the Wake of Evolution is a near-perfect album.

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