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19 March, 2013

Joel Smith Project - Kahless

Joel Smith Project - Kahless |single, self-released, 2013| 5/5

It's often enough to have good guitar arrangements and perform them skillfully in order to make a song sound interesting. Still, the entire composition needs a few more instruments involved, to cooperate with the guitars and get the most from the track. It’s clear that Joel Smith doesn't need an entire band to achieve this goal. This Californian musician writes, arranges and performs his music alone, and yet all the songs he’s released sound so right.

"Kahless" is the most recent production from Joel Smith Project, released in 2013. The song begins with innocent sounding acoustic guitar. However when the drum beat enters, you could suspect that layers of something heavier may be coming next. As a matter of fact, predatory riffs replace the acoustic part easily and so the song’s atmosphere changes instantly.

The core structure is based on a repetitive drum beat and the rhythm guitar sounds solid. On the contrary, the arrangement stays bright and so the heavier parts underline the most dynamic moments. "Kahless" is a subtle vibration that feels pleasant to the ears. Moreover, nimble and well arranged guitar and drums drive an even better groove. You may spot numerous influences from 90’s grunge and 70’s rock genres, with Hendrix-esque solos and guitar effects which also include a classic Wah-Pedal.
The track sounds hooky but not intrusive. The composition is multi-layered, yet enriched with many matching add-ons. They gently touch the structure and change the song’s mood to make it sound positive and intriguing. As a result, your mind will constantly ponder but yet won't be distracted.
Finally, an acoustic section ending the composition creates a nice connection to the beginning of the song.

The song title is referring to a character from Star Trek but portrayed as a mythical god. The voice speaking in the lyrics is telling Kahless that he should not grasp onto religious monopoly. There is and must always be a place for other belief systems. The person is also requesting that Kahless prove why his ideology should be considered the best in the Universe.

A touch of fantasy is added by using this fictional character as a reference point and is found very adequate. In many countries dominant religions have been pushed on the population without considering whether they wanted to be a part of these beliefs and all it’s consequences. Yet there are citizens who refuse to join the show. In fact they created a system and trust their own morals, suiting them better than any imposed religious systems, which frequently stir up bloody wars.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Music Magazine, March 18th, 2013. Proofreading: SanDeE)

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Reviewed by Fabryka Music Magazine