2022 (Butler Records)
“D-Day II: The Final Chapter” is the sequel to 2019 “D-Day”. The album contains 18 songs. Well, 9 actually, but they hit you twice as hard. A year after the release of the impressive “D-Day”, Knight Area felt the urge to elaborate on the topic. The new album is not so much about a specific event, it’s about a soldier’s feelings and especially about the inner struggle he feels after the war has been over for years. Knight Area knows better than anyone how to turn these feelings into music with the utmost power and splendor. It’s absolutely striking what the band has to say here and that’s coming from someone who has zero experience on this topic.
Knight Area does its thing on this album in just 40 minutes and 33 seconds. That seems short, it’s the perfect length that hits the nail on the head in just about every second. There are nine tracks, seven regular ones, an acoustic version of Freedom For Everyone and a bonus track with a compilation of the orchestral arrangements that can be heard on both this and the previous “D-Day” album.
Knight Area does not take half-measures and opens strongly with the fantastic The Enemy Within. This mid-tempo progmetal song is a composition by Gerben Klazinga, which is clearly audible. Regularly sections pop up that refer to the old Knight Area sound, especially the prominent keyboard escapades. Furthermore, there is a lot of shredding guitar work from Mark Bogert, occasionally he comes up with heavenly moves.
Bogert’s playing leaves his mark on the music, regardless of the type of song. For example, Peace Of Mind is a piano-driven power ballad that erupts time and time again. As a result, some sort of industrial wrath is released. A canned reverb voice serves as an alter ego, a smart move. On the other hand, I Believe is entitled to being called ‘heaviest track on the album’, in spite of the lovely orchestral intro. An absolute starring role is reserved for singer Jan Willem Ketelaers. It’s all great: what he sings, how he sings it, the lyrics, his timbre, just about everything.
For Those Who Fell is a passionate instrumental track featuring melodic lead guitar. The underlying drumrolls by Pieter van Hoorn are stunning, they enhance the mood. In my humble opinion, it’s a song that every prog band should be proud of.
Then Knight Area presents three songs that are all right on the dot. The Dream is a compact piece of robust heavy metal with some stirring chords, leaning towards gothic. For five minutes, it makes you feel the loss of a soldier. The solemn The Journey Home has elegant moments and once again there’s this brilliant guitar solo. And then Crossroads presents itself, the beautiful closing section with new material. It has a great melody and the intensity is sky-high throughout the entire piece. The theatrical moments are wonderfully infused with a gospel-tinged atmosphere. Magnificent.
Knight Area has made a fantastic follow-up to the impressive first “D-Day” album with this second part. With this diptych, the band has embarked on a triumphant march of victory in which they have expressed all their emotions regarding the subject. Feelings of heroism, pain, suffering, euphoria and traumatic flashbacks pass by. This diptych, could this be more dignified?
© Dick van der Heijde 2022