Karfagen - Echoes From Within Dragon Island

SKU Caerllysi 19020
"Karfagen, a Symphonic Prog group from Ukraine, has been around making studio albums since 2006, and released their 10th album, "Echoes from Within Dragon Island" in early 2019. The band started out as a project from Antony Kalugin, and he has used several different musicians to support him on his albums through the years, but this time around, he uses 19 musicians to help bring about this album, which is based on the poetry of Robert Louis Stevenson. There are various vocalists and instrumentalists used throughout the album.
The "Dragon Island Suite" is the main feature on this album, divided up into 3 parts, each one lasting over 15 minutes. The first track is Part 1. The music starts off very upbeat and sounds like a rock symphony with all types of instruments playing a happy sounding track that has a folk vibe to it with a traditional sounding sea gigue. Vocals start up after a few minutes, with a melody following the lilting feel and harmonies between male and female vocalists. Music is led by most every instrument involved here, keyboards, guitar, violin, xylophone, etc. After 5 minutes, things calm down as the track moves into a slower section before a surprisingly heavy guitar riff and keyboard solo cuts in. In fact, things change as the music continues to sew the main theme to various other sections. It would be difficult to explain everything going on here because it is so dynamic yet cohesive at the same time, but the overall feel is a symphonic-folk sound with both rock and orchestral instruments.
Part 2 continues in the same style, it finds its own theme, based more on progressive rhythms, but keeping with the symphonic style as the first part. The moods, meters and tempos always changing, but in a fluid manner. Remember, the title of the track has "Suite" in it, and the entire song works as a suite with many different song styles knitted together in the same manner as Jethro Tull's "Thick as a Brick", but even more cohesively. Part 2 is more instrumental, but there are vocal sections. The relatively short "My Bed is a Boat" serves as a quick interlude and is an acoustic guitar and a flute playing together. Vocals come in later. This is a simple folk-style pastoral song. After this, Part 3 of the suite begins. The track is once again in the same suite style. Vocals don't come in until after the 7 minute mark. Overall, the entire suite with the interlude lasts about 55 minutes.
"Flowing Brooks" is an instrumental starts immediately with either a French or English Horn that establishes a melody and a more standard rhythm. Just before the 2 minute mark, things get more intense and progressive. Things calm after a while returning to the original feel. "Winter Rooks" is a nice acoustic track with various guitars and a synth. It is a lovely track also remaining instrumental throughout and has some nice effects towards the end.
Next up is a 2 part instrumental called "Incantations". Part 1 begins simple with a soft percussion and keyboards. Atmospheric guitars join in and things start to amp up a little, but it remains quite mellow. At 3 minutes, things definitely get heavier with louder guitars and excellent synth/guitar solos. The music gets much more expressive for a while, then things suddenly brighten up when a flute takes over with a more complex rhythm. After a while, the flute moves to the back and guitars and synth. Part 2 again starts with soft guitars, but moves into a steady beat quite quickly and guitar and synth take turns improvising on a slower andante rhythm. As things continue, we get a more sweeping feel for a while and then the music turns atmospheric in a Floydian kind of way before returning to the thematic element.
There is a reprise of the track "My Bed is a Boat" but in an instrumental version this time that has an even more pastoral feel to it this time. Then there is a single version of an edit from the Dragon Island suite cut down to almost 6 minutes. It mostly takes edits from some of the more upbeat sections of the suite but surprisingly leaves out any vocals. Following this is "Across the Dark We Steer". This track has a darker symphonic feel and remains "orchestral" through the track. Finally, we end with a live studio performance of a song called "Alight Again". It is the first track to have vocals since the last part of the Dragon Island Suite. The song is simple and soft and is quite straightforward, but it is still pleasant.
The obvious main part of the album is the Dragon Island Suite, and everything else is pretty much supplementary, yet there are some great parts in there that make it all worthwhile. The overall album is still an excellent example of Symphonic Prog at it's best, and the folk undertones that are quite apparent through the suite make it even better. I highly recommend this album, mostly for the suite, but while you are here, listen to it all, because it is all quite well done. This album will definitely be a highlight for the year 2019 and I can see it in the running for best album."-ProgArchives
  • LabelCaerllysi
  • UPC615150276993
Your Price $12.00
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