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Hypnomen - Crystal Skies CD (album) cover

CRYSTAL SKIES

Hypnomen

 

Crossover Prog

3.08 | 5 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
3 stars -- The first review for this album --

3½ stars! It comes as no surprise that this Finnish instrumental rock band is among the less noticed artists in the PA database. Their retro-sounding music isn't actually progressive rock per se, and it's always difficult for an instrumentally oriented rock band to get wider recognition, even domestically. The band's discography didn't exactly end with Dreaming of the New Dawn (2007) which I reviewed here long ago; they have released a collaborative, Finnish-language album titled Huominen On Uni (2016) with vocalist Anna Inginmaa and singer- songwriter Kauko Röyhkä. Recently Hypnomen's central figure, guitarist and main composer Pekka Laine -- who also works as a music journalist especially on radio -- released his solo album The Enchanted Guitar of Pekka Laine (2021). It's an instrumental, retro-spirited work as well.

Onto Crystal Skies that precedes the mentioned Dreaming etc. 'Reveleation' is the other of the two compositions credited to the band. The rest of the quintet are Sami Nieminen on keys (mainly organ and electric piano), Jan Gröhn on bass, Juha Litmanen on drums and Jan Pethman on percussion. The opener's groove reminds me of the classic SANTANA. 'Asleep' is a nice song featuring female pop singer Jonna Tervomaa whose fresh voice fits the music extremely well. 'Bursting Out' is even more Santana-like piece with lively percussion and tight electric guitar and organ work. Nieminen's composition 'Sergio' has a URIAH HEEP reminding, vintage heavy rock sound with an emphasis on organ.

The title track (the longest at 8:19) is enjoyably hazy and atmospheric, and a perfect example of Hypnomen's retro approach leaning towards the mellower end of psychedelic space rock. The other group composition 'Poseidon' is among the most electrified and heaviest pieces. If it had been recorded by DEEP PURPLE around 1969, it would be a classic. There are more vocal guest appearances in the end of the album. Elegantly blues-flavoured 'Love Gone Bad' features the smooth male voice of Janne Lehtinen, and 'The Morning After' is an almost HAWKWIND-like space rocker with vocals of Knipi (known from the pop-rock band Egotrippi) and Marcus Nordenstreng. There's also a slight Beatlesque element to this song.

From prog's point of view this music isn't anyhow remarkable, but it's very well crafted, instrumentally oriented retro-rock easy to enjoy if you like the artists mentioned above. A nice balance between laid-back mellowness and a heavier (but always vintage) sound. The whole album is available on YouTube.

Matti | 3/5 |

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