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Black Garden

Review by Gary Hill

I’ve heard some great things about K2, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard K2 before. Well, I’m anxious to hear the rest of their albums. I remember the first time I heard Marillion (Misplaced Childhood) and I thought they sounded so much like Gabriel era Genesis. Well, this album is even more so at times. Then there are a few points that don’t seem like Genesis at all. Other bands like Yes and ELP also show up, but I even hear Hawkwind on the first track. No matter how you slice the influences, though, this is an amazing disc and one of the highlights of a year that’s produced some amazing music.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 5 at

Track by Track Review
Black Garden

The sounds of some far Eastern bazaar lead this off. They fire out quickly in a prog meets Arabic music and metallic. It reminds me a bit of Hawkwind at times during the harder rocking section, but they drop it back to some mellower territory at points. This is a powerhouse cut that just plain hooked me from the word “go.”

Passage to the Deep
What an amazing piece of music this is! I hear it as sort of a harder rocking, more modern prog take on Peter Gabriel era Genesis. This moves through a number of changes and alterations and is incredibly strong. It drops back to a dramatic and powerful mellower movement later. There are some soaring world music sounds worked into this later. They take it out into a Yes-like movement later and the keyboard work is amazing. The resolution segment after the extensive jam is even more Genesis-oriented. And, then they take it down to a sedate movement that is again quite like old Genesis.
Widows Watch
A piano based balladic motif leads this off and again it feels like old Genesis. They build it up without changing this general mode by adding instrumentation and layers of sound to the mix. Eventually it moves out to a killer keyboard solo section. 
Encounter or Absence
The Genesis elements are all over the early parts of this, too. It’s got that killer dramatic, mysterious cinematic sound. They take it out into a jam that’s perhaps closer to ELP after a while. 
Storm at Sunset
This track is even more like Genesis. It’s got that hard rock edge that pervades much of the album, too, though. It’s a killer track that’s soaring and powerful. 
Summer's Fall
A brief and moody piece, the primary influence on this track is Genesis. 
Path of the Warrior
This is an epic type piece. Parts are like Genesis, but at other points it’s closer to Yes. There is a smoking hot keyboard solo and the bass is impressive, too. It’s arguably the strongest cut on show here and a great way to end things in style.
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