Kinetic Element -
The Face Of Life

(CD 2018, 46.28, Melodic Revolution Records, MMR22164)

The tracks:
  1- Epistle(7:08)
  2- All Open Eyes(15:56)
  3- The Face of Life(19:35)
  4- Last Words(3:49)
Bonus Track:
  5- Lost Words(2:55)

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Kinetic Element are a four piece formation from the USA that was founded in 2006, in order to support keyboard player Mike Visaggio's solo CD entitled Starship Universe, released in 2006. The band performed at several festivals, did a lot of gigs and was the support-act of progrock bands Circa, IZZ and Nektar. Their repertoire contained Mike's album plus classic rock and prog covers and new material, this led to the release of Kinetic Element's debut CD Powered By Light (see review) in 2009. I wrote this many years ago about that debut CD: “If you like Seventies Progrock (ELP, Yes, Genesis) with the focus on vintage keyboards (like Triumvirat and early Le Orme), this is an album to check out.” Meanwhile Kinetic Element released their highly acclaimed second album entitled Travelog in 2015 (see review, I am not familiar with this effort), played on the festivals ROSFest (2016) and Progtoberfest (2017) and released a new album in 2019, named The Face Of Life (also on vinyl). New members are guitarist Peter Matuchniak and Saint John Coleman on vocals. This new singer was discovered to have a voice quite like that of Geddy Lee so he started singing for a string of Rush cover bands. Then John studied with Katie Agresta (New York's premier vocal instructor) to broaden his vocal abilities and refine his technique, and currently he also performs with stadium rock tribute band Deja.

In the first composition Epistle newbie Saint John Coleman immediately puts his mark on the music with his distinctive voice: slightly theatrical and often a bit high pitched. His omnipresent voice turns Kinetic Elements sounds more into song-oriented melodic rock but in the instrumental arts symphonic rock reigns, these musicians can play, and know their classics (Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant)!

In the following two epics, 24-carat symphonic rock rooted compositions All Open Eyes and the title track, singer Saint John lacks a bit power in the more dynamic parts, featuring a growling bass and powerful drums, fiery electric guitar and sumptuous Hammond layers. Despite these critical remarks about the vocals there is plenty to enjoy, especially for the fans of Yes. But also Spock's Beard and Glass Hammer (no coincidence that Babb and Schendel did the mixing) come to my mind: a Seventies prog inspired sound featuring many instrumental interludes, loaded with shifting moods, from mellow with tender piano to bombastic outbursts with sensational Mini Moog flights. Mike does a great job with his outstanding work on piano, organ and synthesizers (including wonderful Mellotron samples on the Alesis), and Peter embellishes the music with tasteful and powerful guitar contributions.

The final two tracks Last Words and Lost Words (a bonus track) are short mellow pieces with warm piano work and Saint John with his dreamy vocals, now close to Jon Anderson in his angelic range.

If you are pleased with new singer Saint John and his distinctive vocals (check out their excellent website for samples) this is very entertaining Old School symphonic rock.

***+ (Erik Neuteboom (edited by Dave Smith)

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