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K2 - Book Of The Dead

K2 - Book Of The DeadWhen this album first dropped through my door, and after seeing Allan Holdsworth and Ryo Okumoto on the credits, I knew I was in for something good. Well, something good has now moved on to 'can't stop playing it', it's brilliant! This has a similar effect, in my opinion, to hearing say Close To The Edge or Selling England for the first time in your life, and judging by other reviews on various sites, Book Of The Dead is getting lots of good press.

K2 is the brainchild of Atlantis bass player and songwriter Ken Jaquess.  After wanting to explore more in the prog world, Ken formed this band and wrote a concept album based on the Egyptian Book Of The Dead. In just forty six minutes, you get the story and picture in your mind, and to say that this is a epic, well you are not far wrong at all.

The first of five tracks is the longest, and as the tracks are titled as 'chapters' Infinite Voyage gets the album underway. The slow keyboard intro from Ryo, breaks into the guitar solo from Allan Holdsworth, and after just two minutes, his playing mesmerises you in a instant. After four minutes, the vocal from Shaun Guerin, who sadly passed away in July 03 after this was recorded, takes control. His Gabriel type voice wraps around the music and gives it a fine polished result, and along with the violin from Yvette Devereaux again gives the sound another angle. Infinite Voyage in my mind has 'classic' stamped all over it, and I'm finding my journey to work takes ten minutes longer now, as it clocks in at a generous twenty four minutes. The track rises and falls as you would expect it to, the sound of the Mellotron adds a high point halfway through with Shaun's voice, and ending with a acoustic solo just has you reaching for the back button. You can tell Allan Holdsworth's playing just by the first few notes, and it has to be said this is a fantastic example of his work and talent.

Chapter two is Mirror To The Spirits and the in-your-face Mellotron and bass start off this second track, then just after a minute the Hammond sound and synths blend in before Shaun's vocal appears. This is quite an up tempo sound, and features Allan again with a pleasing solo in the middle section, and this is more a chorus type song with Shaun's voice dictating the mood.

The Edge Of Life starts a little folky with the violin and fills from drummer Doug Sanborn, before it breaks down and leads into the vocal, and it has the feel of if Gabriel had been around on the Trick Of The Tail album. Again Allan's solo delights the ears. The Instrumental forth chapter Aten (window of appearances) has Ken on bass joined by the space sounding keyboards before the final chapter Cloak Of Antiquity which has the band starting off in a bombastic feel, before the bass plod from Ken and Shaun's vocal set the pace. The Mellotron and violin are involved once again as the track dips and rises in a end of Afterglow type feel, and the whole sound is just a pleasant journey into the Genesis regions.

It has to said that this is a masterpiece, and well constructed and written too. It is a must for any prog fan, and followers of Allan Holdsworth will enjoy this too. As I mentioned earlier, it has become welded to my player.

Danny Mayo



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