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TALVIKUNINGAS

CMX

Progressive Metal


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Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars At first, I thought that the lyrics are in Italian (it sounded to me quite like it), however, I knew that they're Finnish. It's probably that when I think about Finnish metal, I always think about all these endless English-singing ones. They started as punk band - clear to hear on second track. Not classic punk, as it's more complex (which is accomplished by changing pace of song and layering), while first song, Kaikkivaltias is more prog. It's strange, but it's something between Prog Metal and RPI, but mostly, sound here is quite heavy and you have this dense feeling that this music "IS" here, you can feel its presence. Variety of album is so big that one thing here is for sure - you won't be bored. Needed to say that calm parts are more like sparsely present. Langennut Valo ending is very crazy, expect something sinister and dreadful, but when you're ready to face it, do it and await the results. Nah, it's not that bad. Following track, Quanta is more "rock" with furiously calm drums (yes, it's possible, no mindless bashing, but clever and complex line instead).

4(+), let's be sober for this time. Ranging from almost ambient (almost, because it's never ambient) to extreme metal, this album is very unique.

Report this review (#264220)
Posted Thursday, February 4, 2010 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#284452)
Posted Tuesday, June 1, 2010 | Review Permalink

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