A fair bit of time was required to absorb this Kansas effort ‘The Prelude Implicit’, as a Kansas fan you should find much to enjoy here.
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: The Prelude Implicit
LABEL: Inside Out Music
SERIAL: IOMCD 464
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: USA
LINEUP: Ronnie Platt – lead vocals, piano (6) * Rich Williams – guitars * David Manion – piano, organ, keyboards * David Ragsdale – violin, backing vocals * Billy Greer – bass, backing vocals, lead vocals (8) * Phil Ehart – drums, percussion * Zak Rizvi – guitars, backing vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 With This Heart * 02 Visibility Zero * 03 The Unsung Heroes * 04 Rhythm in the Spirit * 05 Refugee * 06 The Voyage of Eight Eighteen * 07 Camouflage * 08 Summer * 09 Crowded Isolation * 10 Section 60 * 11 Home On The Range (Bonus) * 11 Oh Shenandoah (Bonus)
WEBLINKS: Site Link
Here’s a band that don’t really need a mention nor an invitation on this website. Kansas are in their golden years right now, but that doesn’t mean to say that we’ve forgotten about them. Like a good old whiskey, this band have aged very well, and this would be the longest break they have enjoyed throughout their career.
A 16 year hiatus since their last studio album (discounting the Native Windows side project from 2009), but we’ve seen many changes occur within that timeframe including the retirement of Steve Walsh, and the additional of Ragsdale, Manion and more recently Zak Rizvi. But like anything that is good and old, you can’t keep a band like Kandas down for too long.
With now singer Ronnie Platt hooking on (he was previously with fellow Kansas regional band Shooting Star), there is new blood, fresh ideas and re-invigoration to be found on ‘The Prelude Implicit’. It’s a highly anticipated release from these progressive/symphonic rock legends, who are now signed to prog label Inside Out Music.
A rolling drum intro from Phil Ehart leads us into ‘With This Heart’. All the elements for a Kansas mid-town rocker are here. A very smooth track to open the gates. There a nice emphasis on the violin throughout ‘Visibility Zero’, toggling between their early history and the current day.
‘The Unsung Heroes’ is a very pleasant outing, Platt’s lead vocal taking Kansas in a slightly different direction musically on this album at least, though David Ragsdale violin work keeps it all within a certain framework.
‘Rhythm In The Spirit’ is the track which offers the most diversity. Grooving guitars, a slinky rhythm section, with piano and organ for the offset parts. The verses are very modern and urban (for want of a better description), but the choruses do have a familiarity about them when you listen to it in depth.
‘Refugee’ could be described as the Dust In The Wind’ moment on the album. The acoustic guitar and violin certainly turns back the hands of time. ‘The Voyage of Eight Eighteen’ is also a throwback to the first few Kansas LP’s from the mid 70’s. It’s very symphonic in nature, and as you would expect, the longest track onboard.
‘Camouflage’ operates at slow to medium pace, though the guitar/keyboard chops are straight out of the classic rock dictionary written by the likes of Deep Purple. Bassist Billy Greer (an accomplished lead vocalist in his own right) handles lead vocals on ‘Summer’. This song bounces off the walls of the studio, it’s quite a happy-go-lucky affair, more so than the rest of the material here. Must be the song-title I reckon.
Gotta love the dark vibe of ‘Crowded Isolation’, which probably sounds the least likely of a traditional Kansas song, but I love it nonetheless. Some very cool organ parts from David Manion, plus the very fluid/liquid synth solo in the mid-section. ‘Section 60’, an instrumental, could be a future military ode to the fallen troops of the USA, the song-title taken from the name of the final resting place for many of America’s soldiers who served in the Middle East.
There are two additional tracks on the Deluxe edition of the album. ‘Home On The Range’ is an acoustic piece with lyrical references dating back to the early 1900’s. ‘Oh Shenandoah’, a heartfelt instrumental, finishes up the album which can best be described as the comeback performance of 2016.
Considering the length of this article, you can be assured that a fair bit of time was required to absorb ‘The Prelude Implicit’. Whether you were a fan of their music from a particular decade, as a Kansas fan you should find much to enjoy here. As a long-time fan, my favourite era of the band was the 70’s decade, right up to the ‘Monolith’ opus.
Coincidentally, this ties in with Steve Walsh’s participation with the band, and with Ronnie Platt now handling the vocals, I feel his voice is a perfect foil for the band. Released at the end of September 2016, the album is enjoying critical acclaim, and who knows, it may very well make my top 10 albums of the year!
Rhythm In The Spirit