Kansas
The Prelude Implicit


2.5
average

Review

by CaliggyJack USER (87 Reviews)
September 24th, 2016 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: They're back... for better or worse.

It's been 16 years since Kansas has released a studio album. Even with that 16 year gap, the legacy of the Progressive Rock team still somewhat remains in the jaded hearts of many fans of Classic Prog Rock. Known for their smashing hits Carry on Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind, Kansas helped kickstart the rise of Progressive Rock in the 1970's along with other stalwarts like King Crimson, Styx, and Pink Floyd. Nowadays, the band isn't so lucky. From Steve Walsh's departure, to lineup changes; the band has been on hard times since the release of Somewhere to Elsewhere back in 2000. Doesn't help that the return of Kansas to the studio barely attracted any attention or hype, as most people weren't interested in the long forgotten band. The Prelude Implicit is a culmination of all of that frustration, time, and change packed into one release. Does it hold up? Barely.

If we're going to talk about elephants in the room, let's talk about their new vocalist Ronnie Platt. From his off rhythm vocals in The Unsung Heroes to his very limited vocal range in Refugee, Ronnie just doesn't seem like the right type of vocalist for a band known for its bombastic style and grandiose compositions. Doesn't help that The Unsung Heroes is a slow, monotonous, track with forgettable hooks and the most obnoxious percussion that takes away from the piano playing. Visibility Zero starts off with a very hard guitar piece which is completely offset by Platt's vocals as he treats the track like a Pop Rock track and not like the Hard Rock piece it actually is. The disconnect gets even worse with the utterly terrible cover of Home on the Range. Other than the fact this track doesn't seem right being covered by a band like Kansas, Platt soars his vocals as if his lyrics are much more epic than they actually are. One saving grace on the track is the acoustic guitar courtesy of Rich Williams, and the violins by David Ragsdale.

Speaking of which, the highlight of this album has got to be David Ragsdale. He plays his violin with such grace, power, and rhythm that you would forget the man is 58 years old. Having joined Kansas in 1991-1997, and then again in 2006; Ragsdale is known for his violin additions, which have really emphasized the power in Kansas' later product. In The Prelude Implicit Ragsdale unleashes the virtuoso within him, providing amazing violin pieces to great tracks like Rhythm in the Spirit, a Hard Rock piece with interesting digital effects applying an excellent throwback to the mid-eighties days of Kansas. Another excellent track with Ragsdale, and my favorite track on the album, is The Voyage of Eight Eighteen an eight-minute epic packed with blazing guitars, eloquent violins, and Platt's best vocals on the entire record.

It's hard to watch a beloved band trudge through the mud like this. They deserve so much more recognition, but this album doesn't convince new fans to invest in them, and turns old fans away in equal measure. It's depressing, but I am glad they tried. It may not be a very good album, but it at least doesn't take itself too seriously. Their use of old 1970's synthesizer sounds and early 1980's keyboards are a nice little touch to some tracks, and it does sound as if they are having fun being back in the studio again. Perhaps this was just Kansas' way of testing the waters, to see if they can still put together a product. In that case, perhaps this is just a "Prelude" for what is soon to come. Let's hope that, if this is true, what comes after is superior to what came before.



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user ratings (30)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Titan
September 24th 2016


19332 Comments


nice review caliggy....write up is exactly what i'd expect the album to be

any link or stream?

Digging: Arch/Matheos - Winter Ethereal

CaliggyJack
September 24th 2016


2825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I'm listening to it on Google Music but I will see if I can find one for ya.

CaliggyJack
September 24th 2016


2825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-prelude-implicit/id1135934660 This is all I can scrounge up right now. I'll keep ya posted.

Jethro42
September 24th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

@Titan, it's on Spotify.



I'll have to give it a listen, since it's nearly the good old line-up of the band.

Jethro42
September 24th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I just saw on your review that Steve Walsh is missing, and he doesn't have a good replacement on here. Review was well written.

Titan
September 24th 2016


19332 Comments


well written [2]

FullOfSounds
September 24th 2016


15772 Comments


Wtf Kansas still makes music?

Jethro42
September 24th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You're right Caliggy, ''The Voyage Of Eight Eighteen'' is the best song here. ''Camouflage'' is easily the second best with its gorgeous instrumental breaks. Here are some tracks I don't care for: ''The Unsung Heroes'', ''Refugee'', ''Summer''.

After 2 spins...

AsleepInTheBack
September 25th 2016


5979 Comments


Solid review man, posd

e210013
September 25th 2016


2293 Comments


Kansas always was one of the best prog acts, in the 70's, that appeared outside Europe, along with Starcastle, Styx, Pavlov's Dog, Blue Oyster Cult and of course the best of all, Rush. They always were able to make some really great albums, namely, their five first studio albums and their debut live album.

About this new album, I was surprised with its release and I must check it, one of these days, when I will have some time free. Sincerelly, I'm very curious about it despite your rating.

About your review, sincerelly, I liked it. So, have a pos, man.

Jethro42
September 25th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You're right e21, buddy. As for their five first albums, I need to revisit them to see if I'm not too harsh; my ratings are rather low, from 3 to 3.5. I just feel that their albums all countain filler material. But in all objectivity, I probably could give a 4 or more to one or another album.

Their first live album is fantastic, that's for sure. It starts well with ''Song for America'' and it also ends well with ''Magnum Opus''. I really like this live version better than the original.

e210013
September 25th 2016


2293 Comments


I really like their five first albums, Jethro. But perhaps my favourite is "Leftoverture", followed by "Song For America" and "Point Of Know Return", at the same level and then followed by "Kansas" and "Masque". But it's the same with me. I don't listen to these albums for centuries. I also need to revisit them too. About their live album, it's relly excellent, dude.

Jethro42
September 25th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Freaks of Nature (1995) also rocks hard. It really contains prog rock gems. Just listen to ''Peaceful and Warm'' and see. Its ending is magic with some sublime violin all around.

e210013
September 25th 2016


2293 Comments


Thanks, Jethro. I will check it, soon as I can. Anyway, I also like "Monolith" and I think "Always Never The Same" and "Somewhere To Elsewhere" have their good moments.

Jethro42
September 25th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

They seem to have their share of great songs in each and every release. I heard Monolith couple of times in the past. If I remember well, I got tired of most of that one. Need to recheck it anyway. Cheers mate.

e210013
September 25th 2016


2293 Comments


Monolith isn't a masterpiece but I really think it's a good album. I even dare to say that it's their last classic album. I really think it's an underrted album, unfortunatelly one of many in the history of prog rock music.


CaliggyJack
September 25th 2016


2825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"Its ending is magic with some sublime violin all around."



Fucking Ragsdale is a prodigy.

Jethro42
September 25th 2016


15767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, and I thought he was appearing in every Kansas albums, but I just noticed that Robby Steinhardt was a former member as a violonist. I guess he's just as great as Ragsdale. I confused both violonists anyway.

CaliggyJack
September 25th 2016


2825 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah but Steinhardt never really made as much of an impact as Ragsdale did. Steinhardt's parts were mostly used to boost other pieces while Ragsdale would be the most noticeable.

Sabrutin
September 25th 2016


6033 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Seems like my predictions were true. Pos'd, I'll listen right now



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