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Finnforest - Lähtö Matkalle CD (album) cover




Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.96 | 43 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
4 stars With a revamped line-up after Rissanen's departure, the band becomes a (standard prog) quartet y adding keyboardist Linkola and reacquainting with bassist Hiekkala. Well the new arrivals definitely changed the band's sound and one can only notice a shift away from the symphonic prog (mainly due to Rissanen's classical training) to slide towards a much fierier still-instrumental jazz-rock ala Mahavishnu Orchestra, even if they will never reach the speed of light execution and the 200 notes/second sound-barrier of McL's crew. Released on the inevitable Love Record label in 76, the album sports a superb lonely tree on an otherwise-barren land. Too bad it will get lost in the album's sole CD reissue.

Where their debut album featured eight tracks, the LM successor featured only five, for a longer overall duration, including a two-part sidelong title track. Right from the first notes of the opening Alpha track, one can hear MO inspirations, but Finnforest cannot be reduced to that lone influence either. Indeed, Elvin is a quite slower tune, but shifting constantly of time and key changes. One of the main sonic changes is that Linkola makes a greater use of his ARP synth (a bit at the expense of the organ), but it fits the band's new directions to a tee. The album-shortest Den track presents an ultra-funky ARP-and-Rhodes dominated fusion, which also indulges in a (unneeded) drum solo, but it presents a different facet of their new line-up.

The sidelong title track is a much more complex piece that includes some extended string arrangements and orchestrations. It is indeed the orchestra that opens the first movement, and plays "solo", before dying down and allowing the group to take over. In the slow but implacable crescendo that will follow, the strings come back regularly for dramatics- induced interventions. When the group is in its full twin-barrel turbo speed, it is reminiscent to Mahavishnu mixing body fluids with a horn-less Zao/Magma. Sounds intriguing??? You bet your arse, it is! The second half opens on Linkola's slow melancholic piano, but the group slowly inserts its excellent grain of salt, and Linkola shifts to the organ and plenty of that ARP synth, with Hiekkala's bass romping all over its fretboard. Excellent stuff. The band would go on for a while after the album's release, but it was unstable and it folded apart, to rise from its ashes two years later and record their final album under the same line-up, but with a main composer shift to drummer Jussi. This second album is my personal fave over the debut, but it is rather difficult to dissociate them apart since the only possible CD reissue is the Laser's Edge 2on1, which I used to review Finnforest's albums I've heard. Much recommended.

Sean Trane | 4/5 |


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