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FINNFOREST

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Finland


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Finnforest biography
FINNFOREST were formed in the mid-70's by Finnish brothers Pekka (guitar, bass) and Jussi Tegelman (drums) with synthesizer and keyboard player Jukka Rissanen. Mostly influenced by the MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA, their style also evokes early CAMEL, FINCH and CARAVAN. Their music is characterized by energetic and spirited guitar/organ interplay, interesting compositions and very good vintage 70's jamming overall. Unlike many fusion bands of that era, their (3) albums have a very under-produced, spontaneous feel.

Their eponymous album, released in 1975, is perhaps their most MAHAVISHNU influenced, with Rissanen sticking largely to his Hammond organ and using his synths sparingly, to mostly good effect. "Läthö Matkalle" (76), considered their best effort, boasts the contribution of two extra keyboard players, an additional bassist and a string quartet. You'll sense both a MAHAVISHNU and WEATHER REPORT influence on this one, which contains some mighty fine guitar work as well as some very good compositions. "Demon Nights" (79), with its two saxophonists and additional guitarist, has an even more fusion feel, with the WEATHER REPORT influence looming larger than ever, perhaps even a bit too much (some cuts come dangerously close to plagiarism).

Fusion afficionados in general as well as fans of FOCUS and ARTI E MESTIERI should definitely check these guys out, particularly the album "Läthö Matkalle".

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

Finnforest official website

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Finnforest / Lahto MatkalleFinnforest / Lahto Matkalle
Laser's Edge 1998
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FINNFOREST discography


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FINNFOREST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.74 | 30 ratings
Finnforest
1975
3.97 | 21 ratings
Lähtö Matkalle
1976
2.77 | 7 ratings
Demon Nights
1979

FINNFOREST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

FINNFOREST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

FINNFOREST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 20 ratings
Finnforest / Lähtó Matkalle
1996

FINNFOREST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.95 | 2 ratings
Tyhjyyteen, Syvyyteen
1973
2.00 | 2 ratings
Ketto
1976

FINNFOREST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Ketto by FINNFOREST album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1976
2.00 | 2 ratings

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Ketto
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

2 stars This single from the vaults of Love Records followed the debut album, and unlike the first single from 1973, this is instrumental and more or less in the album's Fusion style. At this point the group was actually just a duo of the very gifted Tegelman brothers. They also played in another Kuopio-based band, PETRI & PETTERSSON BRASS (which was no prog, more like entertainment vocal music, oriented to Finnish-language covers of American & British pop songs).

'Ketto' is a serene track featuring basically just synths and piano, rather similar as some minor, instrumental CAMEL tracks on albums such as Nude and Single Factor. Beautifully airy, but it lacks the recognizingly Finnish (and forestial, ha ha) Fusion spirit of the eponymous album.

'Tekee meisseliä' (that's an outdated idiom meaning "to feel good [e.g. sexually]") is a funky, airy and lighthearted jazz-rock piece. Nice but quite forgettable. Also these tracks are featured on "Love Proge 2". 2½ stars rounded down for rather mimimal originality.

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 Tyhjyyteen, Syvyyteen by FINNFOREST album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1973
2.95 | 2 ratings

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Tyhjyyteen, Syvyyteen
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars Two years before the eponymous debut album released by Love Records, FINNFOREST from Kuopio, Finland made a single via small Dynamiitti label. The unspectacular vocals - in Finnish, naturally - are by Aaro Mustonen. He soon left the band, which, under the firm guidance of guitarist Pekka Tegelman, continued with instrumental, atmospheric and airy Fusion on their albums.

'Tyhjyyteen syvyyteen' (= Into the void, into the depth) is a fast-tempo rocker with lots of vintage organ work by Jukka Rissanen. Listening to this [proto-]proggy but very brief song one can hardly avoid thinking of WIGWAM as the central pioneers of Finnish prog, but I'm not saying the composition would sound very much like Wigwam - no Pembroke nor Gustavson. In a way it sounds like it was done few years earlier; there's also a little scent of psychedelia. A pretty good track even if not a priceless classic.

'Sanomaton kirkkaus' (= Unspeakable brightness) is a mellow and relaxed mid-tempo song with quite romantic and esoteric lyrics. The comfortable sound resembles PROCOL HARUM with its organ and piano and simple electric guitar notes. If this was a Wigwam song, it surely would be by Jim Pembroke instead of Jukka Gustavson. Both songs can be heard on the "Love Proge 2" two-disc Various Artists compilation.

Finnforest found their own style later on, to the great pleasure of many Fusion-minded prog listeners in and out of Finland, but it's interesting to wonder how they would have succeeded (in the artistic sense, hardly in the commercial sense) with this vocal oriented style. Most certainly they wouldn' have been as unique anyhow.

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 Demon Nights  by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1979
2.77 | 7 ratings

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Demon Nights
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Anon-E-Mouse

2 stars Whatever happened to Lise (HIBOU) who contributed many Biographies (this band included) with extreme precision and a lexical knowledge of artists and their material?

Thanks to my Finnish friends I had the first two albums on LP for decades. Both of them are excellent and are treasured possessions.

"Demon Nights" was released much, much later and is very different, practically bears no semblance to their earlier works. The band here falls into the common trap of trying to imitate WEATHER REPORT, a band that I am rather fond of. Many leading artists have attempted to do the same and those imitations were generally rather poor efforts. Efforts that didn't enhance the artists' profile, but resulted in rather the opposite. "Demon Nights" did just that for FINNFOREST, resulting in one of the most forgettable WR imitations. This work is rather pointless and should never have been made public. You have been warned!

Still, I would wholeheartedly recommend their first two albums which have been released on one CD, sporting one of the finest presentations I know of.

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 Finnforest / Lähtó Matkalle by FINNFOREST album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1996
3.86 | 20 ratings

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Finnforest / Lähtó Matkalle
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

4 stars In the mid-90's, the excellent Ken Golden, founder of the Laser's Edge label, found time and money to reissue some of Finland's best (but then-sadly forgotten) group, Finnforest, by releasing their first two albums on a single disc. According to a few Scandic prog experts, the sound was dramatically improved.

The only two possible critics that I could have against this release, is that it ignores the band's third album, released after the band's reformation in 78, and that has yet to find a CD reissue (at least to my knowledge), while the second objection is that it doesn't feature one of the album's respective original artwork (parachute and lonely trees), but replaces it with typically Finnish taiga picture. Outside these minor recriminations, this is a splendid indispensable release that every Scandinavian JR/F lovers must own.

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 Lähtö Matkalle by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.97 | 21 ratings

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Lähtö Matkalle
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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.

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 Finnforest by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.74 | 30 ratings

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Finnforest
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by 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.

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 Finnforest by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.74 | 30 ratings

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Finnforest
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Finnforest is a great guy who's contributed a lot to the site, particularly through his work with the RPI team, and his avatar is like a Star Trek person who...

Oh, wait, this is for reviewing the *album* Finnforest, not the reviewer. Sorry.

Finnforest play in a light airy jazz-rock fusion style reminiscent of Canterbury scene bands such as Gilgamesh, late-period Soft Machine, or Egg as they appeared on The Civil Surface. Pekka Tegelman's guitar work is the main attraction of the album, though Jukka Rissanen's contributions on keyboards and synths are also worth a mention. Whilst I wouldn't say they were a particularly groundbreaking act, they do a more than competent job of producing an enjoyable album in this particular style, one which will probably give pleasure to anyone keen on second-tier late-period Canterbury groups.

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 Lähtö Matkalle by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1976
3.97 | 21 ratings

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Lähtö Matkalle
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars They have a new keyboardist for this their second album.They also added a full time bass player, and have a guest playing synths on a couple of tracks. Oh, there is also a string section for one song. This album isn't as dynamic as the debut, much more laid back with the guitar being toned down quite a bit.

"Alpha" is mellow with plenty of atmosphere early before the drums come in. Tasteful guitar 2 1/2 minutes in goes on and on until the piano takes over before 5 minutes. Keys and bass are prominant as well. "Elvin" is a melancholic and slow moving track until a breakout 2 minutes in but it's brief. Another outburst after 4 minutes but this time it continues. Great sound with the keys and bass. Guitar comes in after 6 minutes.

"Don" is a very jazzy tune. The guitar is enjoyable after a minute. Drum solo after 2 1/2 minutes. "Lahto Matkalli I" opens with that guest string section for over 1 1/2 minutes. The tempo picks up 4 minutes in with some nice keyboard work. Guitar comes to the fore 6 1/2 minutes in as bass throbs. Strings are back before 8 minutes. "Lahto Matkalle II" opens with gentle piano. Pretty slow going actually. Guitar eventually joins in. Drums after 3 minutes and synths. A change before 6 minutes. Organ after 8 1/2 minutes. The song fades out to end it.

A nice relaxing album with some excellent playing on it. I much prefer their debut though. Still this is a solid 4 stars.

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 Finnforest by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.74 | 30 ratings

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Finnforest
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars.This is a short record at just over 32 minutes, but man what an album ! The star of this recording is lead guitarist Pekka Tegelman, and his brother Jussi does a fantastic job on the drums, while Jukka Rissanen rounds out the trio on the organ.

"Mika Yo" opens with organ and gentle guitar, quite pastoral. Drums and a full sound arrive 1 1/2 minutes in and it really sounds great. It's actually a little dark with the guitar crying out. The background organ sounds just right. A calm 4 minutes in before it kicks back in to end it. What a start ! "Sanaton Laulu" opens again with organ with a full sound arriving a minute in. The organ and drums create the base while the guitar comes in playing over top. Beautiful sounding music. The tempo picks up 2 minutes in. More great guitar after 3 minutes as it settles back down to original melody. "Happea" shines after a minute when it kicks in with pounding drums and ripping guitar. It lightens up after 2 minutes with organ leading the way. Guitar is back to end it.

"Koin Siipesi" is a pastoral song, my least favourite but it's the shortest. "Paikalliset Tuulet" features some energetic guitar playing with drums, then the organ comes in. A drum solo 2 1/2 minutes in. The guitar returns with organ a minute later. "Aallon Vaihto" opens with a nice jazzy sound. Organ comes in and is more prominant before 1 1/2 minutes. Piano follows then the tempo picks up 2 1/2 minutes in. Guitar solo a minute later is restrained. "Kunnes" is fairly laid back for the first 2 minutes. Then the guitar comes in and the rest of the song is outstanding. The piano is beautiful after 3 minutes. "P.S." features outbusts of sound in this the final instrumental display on the album. The keys, drums and aggressive guitar recall MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA for me.

I just really like the mood that is set by these Finns, and the lead guitar and Hammond organ doesn't hurt either.

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 Finnforest by FINNFOREST album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.74 | 30 ratings

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Finnforest
Finnforest Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Tremendeously high skilled finnish band that explored the sound of prog rock by mid 70's...Their eponymous fully instrumental debut album lasts just over half an hour but it's quite enough to leave you a satisfying taste...Despite the presence of legendary jazz-rock bands such as WIGWAM and TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTI in Finland,FINNFOREST don't drow their influences from the finnish scene.They seem heavily insired by the US fusion style of MAHAVISHNU ORCHESTRA,RETURN TO FOREVER and WEATHER REPORT,especially in the guitar and keyboard work...Where the sounds gets slightly symphonic FOCUS come in mind and in the most complex intrerplay parts GENTLE GIANT's progressive rock is what hits me the most...Excellent non-stopping musicianship!...This album was really a pleasant surprise for me,for all the above reasons I highly recommended this one for all the fans of progressive rock without exception...Sorry,but I need to give this piece of music another careful spin!...4 full stars!

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