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Jens Johansson - Sonic Winter CD (album) cover

SONIC WINTER

Jens Johansson

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.05 | 2 ratings

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SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Heavy Prog!

This album is the second one that the two brothers, keyboardist Jens and drummer Anders Johansson, made together. For those of you who don't know the history of these guys, they both used to play in Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force in the 80's. Malmsteen also plays on this album as a guest, which is very interesting since this is a very different kind of music compared to that of Rising Force. The Johansson brothers have a much wider set of influences that stretches far beyond the narrow boundaries of metal music. This can be seen on their (especially Jens') extremely diverse output. The influences on this particular album are Jazz and Classical music as well as classic bluesy hard rock. I would probably put this album in the Heavy Prog category.

The Johansson brothers are obviously very skilled on their respective instruments and the guitar shredding of Malmsteen is clearly recognizable, but quite sparse ? he appears only in a couple of the songs. The overall sound is strongly dominated by keyboards, drums, bass and vocals with some guitar solos (not all played by Malmsteen). The keyboards are mainly organ, synthesisers, some piano and (something that sounds like) a harpsichord (even if I'm pretty sure that it is produced with electronic keyboards).

The vocals are very bluesy and almost soulful and would fit in any classic bluesy hard rock band. Deep Purple might come to mind, but the music on Sonic Winter is more melodic during the vocal parts and more progressive and jazzy in the instrumental parts. The longer tracks are instrumentals and consist mainly of some very good instrumental workout. Still, this is not an album concerned just with showing off chops. The shorter songs are based on melody and not on instrumental workout. Most of the many keyboard solos are appropriate within the context of the songs and never too excessive.

There is here a nice balance between bluesy hard rock songs with some quirks, and more experimental instrumentals. The various influences are perhaps not as well integrated as they might have been, but this is a worthwhile album.

Good, but non-essential!

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |

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