Review by Woody
Kens Dojo is basically Norwegian guitarist Ken Ingwersen, the band takes its name from Ken’s other pastime as a black belt kung fu devotee. So he’s accompanied here by a few guest musicians like Glenn Hughes, Nils K Rue, Ken Hensley, Morty Black, Eric Hawk, Michael Eriksen & the one and only Chesney Hawkes (yeah you did read that right!) . This is Ken’s first solo album but he has been kicking about for quite a while in various bands, but he’s probably better known for his work behind the scenes as a producer. He produced TNT’s “Transistor” album and has produced albums and songs that have gone on to be big pop hits across the globe in more recent times. Ken also mix’s and produces this album too.
An album that at times is very dark, moody and beautifully atmospheric which I would say is in the guitar orientated melodic hard rock vein. To be honest not an album that really set me on fire, not a bad album, just a little bit average. This album is a grower mind, so it may be worth bearing with to appreciate fully; it’s definitely not an instant album. The songs lack the hooks and commercial vibe I crave in my music so it tends to fly over my head. I think given some aspects of the album, in its song structure and performances this may be a musician’s album and may be better liked by fellow musicians who can appreciate the art of the piece.
“Forever” is a moody rocker that has a powerful driving hard rock riff, It open’s the album with a bang. “Keeping The Flame Alive” features Nils K Rue it’s a dark and brooding rocker with a decent riff but the song failed to impress me. Power ballad “I Surrender” features Black Country legend Glenn Hughes on vocals. This was on first spin one of the songs that stood out to me, Hughes voices shines here and is impressive on the chorus.
“Reincarnation” features Chesney Hawkes on vocals, I have to admit I think Hawkes is a decent singer and his voice here is very strong. A very dark song with an atmospheric feel, not really a song I liked but I would have liked to have heard him sing on a more commercial song. “Momentos A Solas” is an instrumental, a laid back mood piece - why does it make me think of old Scottish TV program Take The High Road? Answers on a postcard. “Demon In Diamonds” features Tommy La Verdi, it’s a swaggering rocker, with a cool guitar riff a huge memorable chorus.
Moody rocker “Come Alive” has a bluesy riff, it’s a decent song but it just didn’t stick in my head. Instrumental “El Recreo” is another mood piece which show’s Ken’s guitar playing well, it’s not overly widdly and concentrates on melody and atmosphere. “Set This Angel Free” is an album stand out and is by far my favourite song on the album, I love this song. It’s a ballad which is a fantastic song with a killer chorus and an unshakeable melody. There is a great build up in the verses which only intensify the power of the chorus; it also has some strong and impressive vocals!
“Rain” is another ballad, more stripped back and bare than its predecessor but lacks its power. Very dark and moody with some great acoustic guitar playing. “Soundcheck Bonanza” is another instrumental and this time Ken goes widdly! Not as atmospheric as the other two instrumentals on offer here and the piece loses my interest very quickly.
An average album to my ears, but people who like their guitar lead melodic rock it may be worth giving a spin. It’s not an instant album so those who like albums to grow on them or like to find hidden hooks in their music this could be for you. Can’t say I’m blown away by Reincarnation, but there is some obvious musical talent involved, it just lacks enough good songs to really make an impression on people.
Track Listing: Forever / Keeping The Flame Alive / I Surrender / Reincarnation / Momentos A Solas / Demon In Diamonds / Come Alive / El Recreo / Set This Angel Free / Rain / Soundcheck Bonanza