Kansas' original lineup's classic swan song for some 20 year
Terrence J. Reardon | Lake Worth (a west Palm Beach suburb), FL | 10/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Kansas' seventh studio album (eighth overall) entitled Audio-Visions was released in September of 1980.
During the band's Monolith tour, guitarist/keyboard player Kerry Livgren and bass player Dave Hope were "spritually awoken" and became born-again Christians. As a result, Livgren's songwriting went more spiritual and Christian oriented whilst singer/keyboard player Steve Walsh was still writing straight-ahead rock and roll and living the rock star life.
The opening rocker "Relentless" is a great rocker with superb lyrics and awesome performances all around (especially from Livgren and guitarist Rich Williams trading leads in the middle). The pop rocker "Anything for You" follows and is a great pop number. Next is the album's first single which was "Hold On". The track is a great ballad that's a unique love song: a plea from Livgren to his wife to listen to the call of Christ. Walsh's vocal here is superb as is violinist/vocalist Robby Steinhardt's violin work. Next is the rocker "Loner" which is a blazing little rocker with Walsh singing his heart out and drummer Phil Ehart's playing almost punkish but great. "Curtain of Iron" (the first half ender) kicks the album into high gear.
The album's second half begins with Walsh's rocker "Got to Rock On" which was the other rock radio hit from the album. Next is the almost complete band composed "Don't Open Your Eyes" which is a great piece. Next is arguably Livgren's greatest contribution to the album which is the classic "No One Together" which proved prog wasn't dead (much to critics' chagrin). The Williams/Walsh collaboration "No Room for a Stranger" is a rocker which is a great piece. The closing track is "Back Door" which was Walsh's last contribution on a Kansas album until he returned in 1986 as he would leave the band in late 1981 for creative and personal reasons.
Audio Visions was another winner and another Gold seller for the band but the album didn't sell as well as previous efforts and was the first studio album since 1975's Masque to miss the US Top 20 but nevertheless is a great album (especially the remastered CD released in early 1996).
Tnahpellee | Australia | 01/01/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Audio-Visions is the last album to feature Steve Walsh until 1986's Power. It is not as highly regarded as earlier efforts such as 'Leftoverture' and 'Point of know return'.
In fact the band is very tight here and they are playing beautifully. Also this is actually a very progressive album for 1980 and features a few inspiring long players. The opening 'Relentless' is a wonderfully up-tempo prog song, 'Curtain of Iron', 'Don't open your eyes' and 'No one together' are strong prog pieces. There area a few stabs at hard rock but the pop tunes 'Hold On' and 'Back Door' work better, where 'Loner' and 'Got to rock on' test the listeners patience a bit. 'No room for a stranger' is a bit better.
Tensions in the band show with the album having a double personality, with the Livgren songs sounding very much different to the Walsh songs. They would soon split but in spite of this the album still remains a fine one, it is possibly one of Kansas' best recordings, and definitely worthy of addition to your Kansas collection. Actually this could have been possibly the best Kansas album had Steve Walsh written a better set of songs (sorry Steve). The Livgren songs are some of the best in the Kansas catalogue and the band is playing even better than they were in the mid to late seventies.
BTW great futuristic cover, a bit ahead of it's time."
No Filler, Mostly Killer
Michael Costa | Chicago,, IL USA | 10/26/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Even a hardcore Kansas fan will admit there are some throwaway tracks on the band's two milestones--"Leftoverture" and "Point of Know Return." So it's surprising that the lesser-known "Audio-Visions" is so incredibly solid from start to finish, and might be their hardest-rocking album overall along with "Song for America."
There isn't a musical monument on here like "Carry On My Wayward Son" or "Dust in the Wind", but "Hold On" is pretty close, and if you like that Kansas signature "sound"--biting guitar, tight drumming, violin and keyboards in unison, and soaring vocal harmonies, then "Audio-Visions" is a must own. The artwork will mess with your head too if you stare at it long enough!
Ironically, this is the last LP from the original lineup, just as they seemed to perfect their craft together, they parted ways, and the band was never the same again. A perfect swan song for a unique collection of musical visionaries."