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3 stars WOLMARI is a Finnish one-off project of three prog-oriented musicians. Keyboardist and vocalist Matti Kervinen's numerous bands include Kataya, Pax Romana and Sunhillow. Keyboardist Pasi Koivu and bassist Petri "Lemmy" Lindström have collaborated in the multi-national Corvus Stone in addition to their own projects stylistically varying from heavy rock to electronic music. The threesome have also invited several guests of which guitarist Samu Wuori and drummer Anssi Nykänen appear on most tracks.

The opener 'Wolmari I' is a moody and deeply atmospheric instrumental in which all three members play keyboards only. 'Sarastus' (=The Dawning) is the longest at 11½ minutes and it's sung -- in Finnish, like each of the four vocal songs of the album -- by Timo Rautiainen, a well known figure in the Finnish melodic metal scene, with female backing vocals. This slow-paced song has notable Pink Floyd influences especially on Wuori's electric guitar wailing while the melancholic atmosphere reminds me of Scandinavian prog (Änglagård, Landberk, etc). 'Jään tähän' (= I stay here) is a Kervinen song in the minor, melodic style familiar of his other bands. The following instrumental is flavoured by Lindström's heavier approach and cool guest appearances for Sonja Tiiro's alto saxophone and Esa Kotilainen's accordion.

Rather heavy sounding 'Syksy' (=Autumn) features the raspy vocals of Hannu Leiden. Well, subjectively speaking this is my least favourite, but its strong spirit is to be appreciated. 'Onkapannu' is a gorgeous instrumental for layered synth sounds, full of almost cathedral-like atmosphere. The other song sung by Timo Rautiainen (the title is translated as 'If you let the Morning come) is by far the most accessible to a non-prog listener, and actually the repeated chorus really sticks to one's mind, whether it's a good or a bad thing. However, the song also features a nice synth solo. The closing instrumental is pretty in its serenity.

The whole feels, especially on the first listenings, almost confusingly two-faced: there's the synth-oriented instrumental side to it (at times not so far from Vangelis and such), and the songs bring some nuances of both pop and heavy rock. Despite resembling here and there of Pink Floyd among others, Wolmari certainly has a character of its own. If you enjoy introspective synth music and deep atmospheres, and if you don't mind hearing some Finnish vocals too, you may find this unique album pretty charming.

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Posted Tuesday, May 12, 2020 | Review Permalink

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