This 2009 release by the Dutch progressive-rock band Knight Area was well-received by critics and snagged kudos in webzines and reviews across the world wide web, for example. The group’s origins hearken back to 2004, when keyboardist Gerben Klazinga released an album featuring several musicians, segueing to a formal group-centric concept. With its third effort, the musicians toggle between borders, spanning mainstream prog, metal, and symphonic rock amid the occasional nod to Britain’s fabled 1970’s Canterbury Scene.
Shades of vintage Genesis become evident on the opener "Ethereal," where Klazinga employs beefy analog synth-scapes amid a harmonious primary theme, teeming with regal choruses. Essentially, Knight Area fuses grace and power, consisting of Mark Smit’s resonating vocals to complement his band-mates’ driving pulses and endearing hooks. They seamlessly intersperse thrusting prog-metal riffs with sinewy time signatures and speedy unison parts, but many of these works boast appealing melodies. And the band proficiently knows how to take the edge off, by softening the tone on various works.
Knight Area pronounces a stylistic mode of operations, often tinted by spacey treatments. It’s not all about technical gymnastics, although guitarist Mark Vermeule lashes out with torrid solo spots when suitable. Moreover, on "Realm Of Shadows," the band executes an anthem-like ballad, then accelerate matters into a medium-tempo straight four vamp, sporting a touch of echo and an expansive wall of sound.
One of the overriding positives is rooted within Knight Area’s strong compositions, equating to a high listen-ability factor. The program summons repeated spins and is a welcome relief, when we consider the sometimes superfluous or humdrum prog units that churn out subpar material and focus more on riffs or schizoid methodologies.