The Absence Of Presence
Inside Out Music
July 17th, 2020

They are among the oldest still active rock bands, founded in the early 70s. With The Absence of Presence they are about to release their 16th studio album these days. We’re talking about Kansas from that very US state. Of the founding members, only two remain with Phil Ehart and Rich Williams, and Billy Greer is another long-standing member. The remaining four band members belong to the new generation, with newcomer Tom Brislin writing most of the nine songs and even taking over the vocals from the bouncer.

Three piano chords begin the opener and title song. Then the Kansas-typical violin begins, which plays in the foreground as it progresses. A typical long track, as can be found on almost every Kansas album. Even if it can’t get to epics like “Lamplight symphony” or “Incomudro – Hymn to the atman”.

“Throwing mountains” has the same notch as the title song. Violin and guitar offer a short duel in the middle section, while the keyboard is neglected. The single release “Jets overhead” also brings nothing new, at most an overdose of violin. Of course, this instrument belongs to the classic sound of the band, but the use should be measured and not paste the entire song. There follows a short instrumental piece (in my opinion the first that Kansas wrote). This convinces with a rolling bass line and atmospheric keyboard use. Good song.

“Memories down the line” is a good ballad that scores with sensitive vocals and great instrumentation. With “Circus of illusion” follows a song that is quite hard for Kansas standards. The rhythm department in particular gives it a hard mood. “Animals on the roof” is also a faster rocker that comes up with an unusually hard guitar solo. Ronnie Platt cuts a good figure in vocals, but does not achieve the charisma of Steve Walsh. With “Never” there is a second ballad on the album. It doesn’t fall below a certain level, but it doesn’t get stuck in your head either.

And that is exactly the crux of this album. The songs are all pretty good, but there are no titles that stay in the ear. So unfortunately, it only stays with a slightly above average album. The typical band sound was captured and reproduced on record, but the ingenious moments, the certain something that distinguished the previous albums, are unfortunately missing here.


Phil Ehart – Drums
Rich Williams – Gutiar
Billy Greer – Bass
David Ragsdale – Violine
Ronnie Platt – Vocals
Zak Rizvi – Guitar
Tom Brislin – Keyboards

Track list:

  • The Absence Of Presence
  • Throwing Mountains
  • Jets Overhead
  • Propulsion 1
  • Memories Down The Line
  • Circus Of Illusion
  • Animals On The Roof
  • Never
  • The Song The River Sang
  • Album - 6/10
  • Album Art - 6/10
  • Songwriting - 6/10


Disturbingly Good


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