At the end of June the German act KariBow did an outstanding performance at 't Blok in Nieuwerkerk aan de Ijssel (see review). It was the first time that multi instrumentalist Oliver Rüsing and his fellow musicians climbed on a Dutch stage. The show was a sort of try-out for the soon to start MOnuMENTO tour. At the same time the first concert with his new band was a kind of release party for the album Supernatural Foe - Rebirth. An album that was on sale here for the very first time. An album that was released for the first time as Supernatural Foe - Vocalized back in 1998. But as you know, technology improves every day and things that sounded great many years ago, can sound less good nowadays. Therefore Rüsing decided to rerecord the entire album again for his fans. After the show he gave me a review copy. Well I didn't know what to expect at all. One of the fans on that very hot afternoon show told me that he first thought KariBow was a kind of AOR group. He soon discovered he got it all wrong when he witnessed them at very close range. But what about Rüsings debut with KariBow? Maybe a bit more AOR and even more rock 'n' roll?
After hearing the intro of Run, the opening piece, I thought maybe this album is more rock orientated because of the powerful start due to the fast drumming and rocking electric guitars. But as soon as Oliver starts to sing the song becomes more melodic and moves more into progressive rock territories, with some exciting synthesizer parts. So you can't tell anything by an intro, it can go into different directions music wise. Well, I loved it all the way with the opener of this album, just as the other nine tracks on this release. I am not going to tell about each song separately, and what you can hear on it. But believe me they rock and have exciting parts on guitars and synthesizers. Oliver just knows how to entertain his listeners throughout every composition. Difficult to believe that what you hear is mainly one man's musical effort because Rüsing did most of the vocals and played on the guitars, keyboards, piano, bass, drum, percussion and did some whistling. Only fellow band member Philipp Dauenhauer did a guitar solo on Is That You?. Moreover Roland Körner played on the Blues harp on Brake My Day. Furthermore Andy Pendant can be heard on the alto saxophone on Burning Books. Finally Siobhan & Strawberry did some singing on Run, Burning Books and The Black Jam. But still while listening to Supernatural Foe - Rebirth you think you are listening to a band effort. So bravo to Oliver Rüsing for managing to sound this way!
For anybody not familiar with the music of KariBow it is not easy to describe what you are actually listening to. Sometimes you hear influences of Saga but other times Styx or Kansas comes to mind. But it is most of all his own KariBoW sound he created on most of the tracks. He probably already came up with this sound back 1996 and 1997, because during this period in his life he wrote the songs which you can find on his debut album. Musical highlights are not easy to point out. Because each song is of a high musical calibre. But maybe my favourite is the rather long piece Burning Books. But also tracks such as Take Me, Cynical and Weak kick ass because they have some outstanding guitar solos. Finally a bit about the bonus track The Black Jam. At first I didn't know if I could take this instrumental serious because of the funny intro with spoken words. But after that some fine soloing on the electric guitar makes it worth listening to this improvised piece of music.
All in all the rerecorded version of Supernatural Foe - Vocalized turned out very well into Supernatural Foe - Rebirth. Of course I asked myself now over and over again, how did the original album sound 21 years ago when Supernatural Foe - Vocalized came out for the very first time. Hopefully I will get a chance to hear it someday to compare it with Supernatural Foe - Rebirth. To discover if it sounds just as amazing as the new version. Because it certainly sounds amazing. Thanks Oliver for taking us on a trip back in time 21 years ago!
**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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