Djam Karet - The Heavy Soul Sessions - 2010



“The (sexy) beast is roaring again - Djam Karet returns to active service”


The beast is back ... Djam Karet the instrumental band that plays progressive rock without compromises is back. The band has just released their 15th CD entitled “The Heavy Soul Sessions”. This 65-minute CD features wailing guitar solos, beautiful analog synth melodies, and a hard-driving rhythm section that showcases the band at it's fiery best. All music is played by head & hand, and recorded live-in-studio, without any overdubs or computer manipulation. In order to re-create a more lively and dynamic sound, no compression or limiting was used during the making of the CD. This gives the CD a sound that is very dynamic, vital, punchy and powerful, where the drums and bass are aggressive, and the guitars and keyboards are warm and inviting.


Gayle Ellett - organ, analog synth, mellotron, digital synths; Mike Henderson - electric guitars, ebow and effects; Aaron Kenyon - electric 5-string bass and effects; Mike Murray - electric guitars, ebow and effects; Chuck Oken Jr. - drums, altered voices


The album opens with “Hungry Ghost”, a very intense piece of music with twin lead guitars, grooving bass lines, mini-moog and analog synth solos ... and even Mellotron. What a burning passion has this band. The music is rolling over you with the fierce power of a tsunami. This band rocks! The next piece is entitled “The Red Threaded Sexy Beast”. The band is not slowing down yet, this is a monster track of almost thirteen minutes. A melting pot of aggressive guitar solos and melodic keyboard parts. After six minutes the band is slowing down and some great bass parts can be heard that are lying on a bed of Mellotron. The music is dark ... then slowly the tension of the music is building up again towards a climax with screaming guitar solos. I love the underlying bed of Mellotron sounds in this track. Next is the composition “Consider Figure Three” that can be found on their album “Suspension & Displacement” from 1991. Here you can hear the electronic/ambient side of the band. Dark and melancholic soundscapes. They are very welcome at this point after all that brute power that the band was showing. The band uses altered voices here that gives the track a more surrealistic atmosphere. “The Packing House” starts in a relaxed way with a bass line on top of ambient piano and a guitar solo in Fripp style. The next part of the song is more symphonic with organ and synth solos. But the atmosphere stays mellow, spacy and relaxed. At this point you notice also that there is an important role for bassist Aaron Kenyon on the album. In the end some great melodies can be heard in this beautiful track. Almost thirteen minutes of progressive bliss. “Dedicated to K.C.”, a composition of Richard Pinhas, is the only cover-song the group has ever recorded. Aggressive and powerful but also melodic at the same time. There is a beautiful synth solo in the middle of the composition which is taken over by the guitar. The track fits in perfectly with the vibe of the album. In the last track of the album, entitled “The Gypsy and the Hegemon”, with the slow opening with Mellotron flutes and a soaring guitar solo the band first sounds like a symphonic rock band. But later on the more progressive and experimental side of the band returns. The band plays a kind of fusion ... a melting pot of rock, jazz, progressive and experimental music. But always with a lot of power and passion.


“The Heavy Soul Sessions” the 15th album of the instrumental progressive rock band Djam Karet has it all. You can find powerful and intense music played with a lot of passion on this album. Beside that dynamic, vital and punchy rock side of the band you can also hear the ambient and electronic side. The later is maybe a foretaste of the album “The Waiting Room” of Ukab Meard, a side project of Chuck Oken Jr. and Gayle Ellett (stay tuned on progVisions). “The Heavy Soul Sessions” is a very strong album that has a lively and dynamic sound. The beast is back ... and it's roaring!

author - date - rating - label

Douwe Fledderus - November 2010 -   - Djam Karet / HC Productions