Fireworks

Highlight Kenosis - 'Shield Of Faith' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     December 28, 2013    
 
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A top drawer album that could find appreciation from fans of many genres.

It's a hard life all this reviewing. Here I am 'slaving' away at the laptop sitting in the garden with the sun shining and a cold beer to hand as I soak up 'Shield Of Faith'; the latest record from Highlight Kenosis. Despite releasing two previous albums, ('Glowing' (2008), 'Change' (2011)), I've not come across HK before. I'd describe their sound as a Progressive Heavy Rock with the odd Symphonic addition. They have gone through several line-up changes with founding guitarist Matei Damian the only constant. HK originally came from Romania but are now based in Germany.

The first thing that attracted me to this was the technical collaborations HK has set up. Vocal production was handled by Amanda Somerville (Trillium, Avantasia), with Sander Gommans, (After Forever) responsible for the mixing and mastering. Of the eight tracks one notable entry would have to be the instrumental 'Fight The Evil' which shows Damian in real virtuoso mode. There is some impressive fret-scaling neck work as well as some passages of thick riffs and strummed notes. Another favourite was the lively 'Through Somebody's Eyes' which opens with a funky cascading keys melody. The verse riff has a bit of a chug about it before it returns to that catchy progression for the chorus. Given it's the most Symphonic track it probably surprises no one that I was rather taken with the closer 'Dare Is To Do'. There's a huge gothic riff with keys/arrangements that have a slight Arabian feel along with a bright chorus. The title track is another that features a heavy chord progression in its musical interludes with toned down verses and a much lighter chorus.

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I have often found that Progressive music is a love/hate affair due to the very fact that the taste for that style of music is an acquired one. It seems someone forgot to tell this to HK because 'Shield' is an exquisite album that is also remarkably accessible. They have kept a leash on the Progressive parts so they never become too ostentatious or too clever. The band also keeps the heaviness in check which means that the music never becomes too oppressive or punishing. It doesn't hurt that there's some groovy melodies and catchy tunes scattered throughout as well. Take all this and combine it with Marina La Torraca's delightful vocals, Damian's talented axe work and the expert rhythm and keys sections and you have a top drawer album that could find appreciation from fans of many genres.

As for me, well seeing as I'm already out here I think I'll keep 'working hard at it' and give this entertaining release another listen.

Dave Scott

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