The Wait Of Glory


Inside Out Music, 2005

REVIEW BY: Bruce Rusk


Proto-Kaw's second studio release follows closely on the success of the brilliant Before Became After. Kerry Livgren's songs are still full of passion and fire. As always, the musicianship is incredible throughout, from the familiar dense orchestral walls of sounds to the spunky interplay between the members as they trade chops.

This album is a slightly more somber affair than its predecessor. Before Became After was full of bright, upbeat melodies, but Wait has a darker feel. That may be in part because of the heavy subject matter. Livgren waxes on his evangelical views, often through a dark pane. He doesn't simply raise and praise, he holds his beliefs up to the light to peer through them finding as many questions as answers. I’ve listened to plenty of popular CCM artists, and let me tell you, most of the people involved have run out of anything new to say about their beliefs. Livgren, on the other hand, presents a much more intelligent view of Christian spirituality. A trio of songs -- “Relics Of The Tempest,” “When The Rains Come,” and  “On The Eve of the Great Decline” -- explore his fascination with my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Eschatology, or the end times. He easily expresses questions of faith and belief alongside lessons on faith and belief. There are more ways to express those beliefs other than saying “Jesus saves” over and over. Livgren’s intelligent and introspective musings are far more inspiring than simple repetition of religious catchphrases. And he does it without ramming anything down your throat.

The music is deeper and more melancholy at times, but there is still plenty of  heady, groove inspired  rock. “Melicus Gladitor” is a heavy rocker with a razor-sharp vocal by Jake Livgren. “Old Number 63” features jazzy horns over a funked-up bass line. “Physic” is another funky number with some incredible organ work by Dan Wright.

One trend I perceived on this album, and on Before Became After in hindsight, was a full circle effect of Livgren’s progressive leanings. Livgren was a pioneer of progressive rock, and he still expresses those early roots in his music. His early work inspired many modern progressive bands. In turn, Livgren’s current work expresses flavors of the work of his followers. The rich, saturated washes of sound employed so effectively by keyboard heavy bands like Spock’s Beard and IQ color his later material. The effect I feel is that of the father inspiring the sons, who in turn inspire the father. I love the dynamic of that reverse inspiration. Whether by osmosis or by design, or my own imagination, it’s all over this disc.

The Wait Of Glory is a masterpiece of uniquely melded musical styles and top-notch playing. I consider this band as vital as their oft praised prog-rock ancestors. So fans out there of the classic prog bands, you're cheating yourself by not taking a little trip to the outskirts of Topeka where Livgren and the band have woven an amazing tapestry of sound.

Rating: A-

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© 2008 Bruce Rusk and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Inside Out Music, and is used for informational purposes only.