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CMX - Talvikuningas CD (album) cover

TALVIKUNINGAS

CMX

 

Progressive Metal

4.05 | 11 ratings

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Vompatti
4 stars When the myths have lost their meaning, new ones must be written. Whether it was this that CMX set out to do on their twelfth studio album or whether they merely wanted to have some fun with some science fiction themes, Talvikuningas ('The Winter King') is a respectably daring and fresh effort from a band just having passed their twentieth anniversary. It's a full-fledged and tastefully overblown concept album telling an epic story of war, betrayal and power, spanning over centuries and taking place somewhere in distant space.

CMX have always been timeless instead of current. I remember an interview, from the early 90's I think, where the band's singer and lyricist A. W. Yrjänä told of his having pondered whether it was appropriate to use such a distinctly modern word as 'train' in a song lyric. On Talvikuningas he sings about neutron stars and killer satellites as casually as he does about winged bulls and archangels. Despite the futuristic setting the typical religious and metaphysical themes are still there. Christian, Aztec and Masonic mythology are but a few of the contexts woven amidst the stylistically quite varied songs, each of which is a fragment of the enchanting but ultimately near indecipherable story.

Musically Talvikuningas is one of the few CMX albums where the band's prog influences are undeniably obvious. Especially the lengthy opening and closing tracks, "Kaikkivaltias" ("The Omnipotent") and "Kaikkivaltiaan peili" ("The Mirror of the Omnipotent"), chain different rhythms and moods into a solid prog rock song as cleverly as Rush did on their heyday. As far as CMX albums go, the most obvious point of comparison would be the implicitly prog-inspired Dinosaurus Stereophonicus. But whereas Dinosaurus Stereophonicus was a homage to the classic prog sound of King Crimson, Pink Floyd, Yes and even Tangerine Dream, Talvikuningas has a modern, distinctly more digital than analog sound. The overall feel of the album is suitably sparse, spacelike - and extremely cold. Production-wise it's definitely amongst CMX's most impressive albums. The individual tracks flow smoothly into one another and the captivating atmosphere is maintained to the very end where the hour-long journey concludes with what must be one of the most moving finales ever.

In the history of Finnish music Talvikuningas is an exceptional work. I'm a bit uncertain, however, how unreservedly I'd dare to recommend it to a non-Finnish-speaking listener. Although lyrics play an important part on every CMX album, on Talvikuningas it's mainly the narrative that keeps the whole thing together. Still, if you're into space rock or atmospheric prog metal, you might want to give Talvikuningas a try.

Vompatti | 4/5 |

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