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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.68 | 69 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars It took a long time to listen this 3CD package through - partly due to my annoyance of the 1st disc's malfunctioning (skip-button stops the too long disc). First something about how this project was made. Each band from e.g. Finland, Sweden, Italy, UK and US (Italy being the most numerous) were given a section of Kalevala, the Finnish folklore epic, with a request to use old prog instruments rather than modern digital technics, and to sing in their native language. Well, since most of the bands I'm hearing here for the first time, I don't know if those wishes really changed anything. English is the main language (lyrics are in English only, no matter what is the sung language) with some nice exceptions - and a large part is instrumentals.

It's quite clear that hardly anyone likes all the 29 bands/tracks but as sure is that any prog fan gets a lot of highly enjoyable music and will be given many interesting band names to find more their music. Funnily there were some fine Finnish groups too that I didn't know. I think that's the good point of this album: not including more popular Neo-Prog bands (who probably wouldn't fit to the folklore context) but finding excellent less-known musicians who make music from their heart. For me the best moments are played with 'classic' acoustic instruments with a folk touch. And the least favourites are with the heavy prog style.

As so many track is rather long (round 10 minutes), it's for me a worksome task to listen and to get familiar with so many previously unheard names. I remember hearing for example many gorgeous keyboard solos and exciting epic compositions - but not yet able to give much names. Here are some bands I enjoyed: Simon Says (S), Orchard (N), Greenwall (I), Leviathan (I), Aardvark (Fi) and Groovector (Fi). Eastern Europe is not represented at all, a pity. On a narrative epic level (Kalevala) one can choose whether to follow closely the synopsis or just listen the music. My emphasis was on the latter. I guess there could be enough enjoyment for 4 stars too, but I can't help thinking there's SOMETHING phony to have 29 separate contributions by different bands trying to form a coherent entity. But the result could have been much worse.

Matti | 3/5 |


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