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Design By Humans
Published On: Fri, Jul 24th, 2020

Kansas: The Absence of Presence

Kansas
The Absence of Presence
(Century Media)

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Kansas certainly mines their classic sound on their 16th studio album The Absence of Presence. With original keyboardist/vocalist Steve Walsh retired and the addition of ‘newer’ members, lead vocalist and keyboardist Ronnie Platt, guitarist Zak Rizvi, and keyboardist Tom Brislin, this is a 7-piece band banging out their unique prog American rock with some new twists.

From the anthemic title-track opener, to heavy riffing on “Throwing Mountains” we get the usual swirling riffs, solid harmonies (there are presently five singers in this band) and locked-in-time staccato breaks Kansas has always been known for, pretty much led by band co-producer, manager, and drummer since the beginning Phil Ehart.

I really dig the instrumental, “Propulsion 1”, that comes in just about at the halfway mark here, Billy Greer’s bass is wonderfully low down and metallic grumbly. A ‘shout out’ needs to be given to David Ragsdale, long-time violinist, as well as second original member, guitarist Rich Williams. Their contributions throughout are both excellent, as always, and lots of what they manage does make this album feel like a 70’s-era Kansas album. But there are signature turns where it feels a lot like Rizvi and Brislin leading the charge…which they do, having written almost all the songs here.

An ‘updated’ Kansas, a band trying too hard to stick to its past, a reinvention, I leave it to you to ‘Carry On,’ and make up your own mind. But The Absence of Presence will not lead you to a point of no return, it’s good solid pro stuff indeed.

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Kansas: The Absence of Presence