Frontiers [Release date: 06.05.22]
“Solo” album from Sonata Arctica/ Insomnium/ Dark Element guitar man/ composer, Jani Liimateinen.
Considering that he’s put this album together with a host of guest vocalists, the finished article is a strongly cohesive whole, with barely perceptible joins.
As you would guess from the man’s back pages then, the music on My Fathers Son is epic, symphonic and focuses a lot on his majestic guitarwork. He’s composed a bunch of decent melodies too.
Strong as the songs are, Liimateinen’s imaginative arrangements and densely packed, but uncluttered productions are often what make the most impact. Standout track, ‘Breathing Divinity’ (w/Bjorn Strid on vocals) is the guiding light. It’s a 5 minute, mini metal concerto, leading us breathlessly into ‘All Dreams Are Born To Die’ (Tony Kakko), a mix of WOA’s artless AOR, and Sonata Arctica’s sense of the grand gesture.
Classy songs, typical of the album as a whole.
As we move through the music, we see that Liimateinen’s close fitting but far from flamboyant guitarwork leads, conducts and sometimes sits atop an orchestra of melodic metal sounds, always coalescing to form some wonderfully climactic bridge and chorus.
‘Who Are We’ (Timo Kotipelto), takes us on an extraordinary musical journey, one minute delicate and restrained, the next blazing with passionate vocals and loud, spine tingling chorale accompaniment.
If Arcade Fire were a metal band, they would sound like ‘Side By Side’ (Pekka Heino). The track is a euro metal rock romp with vigorously strong pop sensibilities, and a hooky, maddingly memorable keyboard motif. It dares to throw in a sexy, smoky, slow motion saxophone middle eight. There’s confidence for you. Bro Firetribe eat your heart out.
Elsewhere, ‘I Could Stop Now’s (Anette Olzon) smooth, sophisticated Abba like pop, punctuated by flamenco claps and rhythms and the moving, romantic tale of love and loss, ‘Haunted House’ provide the album with the transitions it needs to hold our attention.
The magnificent closing track ‘My Fathers Son’, (vocals by Celesty/Voice Of Finland winner, Antti Railio) for whom the album is named, takes us back to the stomping, sweeping, cinematic, symphonic metal that we started with.
It’s clearly Liimateinen’s love song to his father.
And together with Railio, he avoids the kind of sentimentality that often weighs down heavy metal, choosing instead to take us with him on an epic, 11 minute journey of self discovery, looking back on his life. ****1/2
Review by Brian McGowan
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Power Plays w/c 8 August 2022 (Mon-Fri)
BORN LOST Take Time (Mouthpiece) (Revolver Records)
JAIME KYLE Driving With The Brakes On (Conquest Music)
SCARLET DORN Born To Suffer (SPV Recordings)
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09:00-12:00 LESSMAN VOSS Rock Is Our Religion (Atomic Fire Records)
12:00-13:00 H.E.A.T. Force Majeure (earMUSIC)
14:00-16:00 THE SLAMBOVIAN CIRCUS OF DREAMS A Very Unusual Head (indie)
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