After a 5 year gap, K² returns with it’s second album called Black Garden. A lot has changed over the 5 year gap and only leader Ken Jacquess (bass, keyboards), Doug Sanborn (drums) and Ryo Okumoto (keyboards) remain. Joining them are Josh Gleason (vocals) and Karl Johnson (guitar). Both are welcomed additions to K2. A few years back, I had the extreme pleasure to see this version of the band play at a North Hollywood club called The Baked Potato.
From what I read online, Black Garden, is a concept album based on the journey the ancient Polynesians took to discover and settle on the South Pacific islands (all of which took place 2000 years before Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean.) Now I’m not good at figuring out concept albums so I can‘t give too many details. I feel this should be left up to the listener.
First off, Josh Gleason is a wonderful replacement for the band’s first singer, Shaun Guerin (RIP). Both of which have vocals similar to Genesis ex-frontman Peter Gabriel. Musically there’s bits and pieces of classic progressive rock bands like Genesis, Yes, ELP as well as modern bands like Spock’s Beard and Transatlantic. These are just some of the many influences I hear on this album. One of the things about K2, is while nothing ground breaking, just a wonderful homage to the past while looking forward to the future.
From the opening title track, “Black Garden” (6:25) to the closing track, “Path Of The Warrior” (10:43), you’re treated to top notch American progressive rock. I can’t choose a favorite track because they’re all great. I could say the opener, “Black Garden” is a perfect indication of what to expect which is high energy music that resonates in your mind after the album is over.
In closing, I had the extreme please to review their first album, Book Of The Dead as well as their live dvd from 2008 called Live In Hollywood. So to be able to listen and review Black Garden was an obvious pleasure. Black Garden is one of the best albums of 2010 and deserves to be placed among the previously mentioned bands, Spock’s Bear and Transatlantic and perfect achievements of modern progressive rock. Highly recommended, without any doubt!
Reviewed by Ron Fuchs on November 20th, 2010