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Finnforest - Finnforest CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.76 | 42 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

A band that found its origins in Kuopio (in the centre of Finland) among the taiga lakes and forests that abound in the region (hence the group's name), the group's origins are made from the Jussi and Pekka Tegelman twin brothers (drums and guitars respectively) who then met classically-trained keyboardist Rissanen and bass player Hiekkala and a vocalist. But by the time of their debut album's recording, they were down to an instrumental trio, with the guitarist handling the bass. Graced with a parachute artwork, recorded in Stockholm in just four days and released on Finland's main label, Love Records, the debut album fluctuates between some organ-led symphonic prog and some fiery jazz-rock in a mix that can recall Focus' style.

Opening on the soft and slow Mika Yo, the album finds a typically Scandinavian melancholic organ-drenched mood, one that follows on Sanaton Lolou, although it slowly picks up speed and energy. Generally you can say that the album's A-side is rather symphonically-gentle and smooth, while the flipside is much more fiery and energetic. Tegelman's guitar takes on fiery edges of a master like McLaughlin, and it is rather obvious that the band had heard of the fusion of Mahavishnu Orchestra before. Indeed if one can hear some of the Lizst influences (due to Rissanen's Hungarian studies), one can also detect some Mahavishnuian-deformed Stravinsky ambiances as well. The closing fusionesque PS (post-scriptum) is a good indication of what to come in the near future

Apparently well-received by the critics, the band only played a few gigs as keyboardist Rissanen returned to his musical studies (yup, in Hungary!!), so this relatively short album is the only testimony of that line-up, but it's a very interesting one, and probably the easiest for symphonic-minded progheads. Note that I've reviewed this first album through the excellent Laser's Edge 2on1 CD release, though.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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