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Symphonic Prog • Finland

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Aamunkoite biography
AAMUNKOITE is a Finnish progressive rock band playing original songs sung in Finnish. The band was initiated by keyboardist and primary songwriter Tomi KORPELA. The line-up formed in 2020 includes very experienced players who all incidentally are also current or past members of critically acclaimed URIAH HEEP tribute band The INNOCENT VICTIMS. The other members of Aamunkoite are bassist and lead vocalist Pia KORPELA, guitarist and lead vocalist Jukka SUOMINEN and drummer Juha HAMALAINEN.

AAMUNKOITE released their eponymous debut album in November 2022 consisting of four tracks with about 35 minutes of playtime. The main genre of music is quite traditional prog rock often having orientation towards heavy rock and largely utilizing Hammond organ and other keyboards. The most clear influences are probably well-known classic melodic prog bands from the 70?s like FOCUS, CAMEL and KANSAS. The debut album's songwriter also has a deep love for a bit rarer progressive gems, and the favourite bands like MUSEO ROSENBACH and SOLARIS surely affect the material, not forgetting to mention popular Finnish greats like TABULA RASA, FANTASIA and WIGWAM. Also it is very evident that heavy rock bands like URIAH HEEP and DEEP PURPLE have been influential for the band's sound. The music is pretty straightforward and melodic without very eccentric chord and time signature changes. The debut album's songs vary a lot. The first track 'Lasinen laulu' is down-to-earth blues shuffle, followed by the very sentimental mood of the 10-minute epic 'Varjot'. 'Tabernakel' is a tongue-in-cheek instrumental and 'Turhaan' is a long composition having even psychedelic phases in context of dreaming, having the album?s most clearly artistic part featuring a poem from Finnish national poet Eino Leino.

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3.11 | 9 ratings

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 Aamunkoite by AAMUNKOITE album cover Studio Album, 2022
3.11 | 9 ratings

Aamunkoite Symphonic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars The line-up of this new Finnish progressive rock group has background as a URIAH HEEP tribute band. So it's not very unexpected to hear vintage heavy rock/prog influences, in addition to symphonic prog by e.g. Focus, Kansas and the Finnish classic prog acts such as Wigwam, Tabula Rasa and Fantasia. Aamunkoite was founded in 2020 in order to perform the original compositions of keyboard player Tomi Korpela. The band name is a poetic form of "the break of dawn". Most of the vocals are sung by the female bassist Pia Korpela. Guitarist Jukka Suominen does male lead vocals here and there, and drummer Juha Hämäläinen adds some backing vocals. The 35-minute debut contains just four tracks of varied length.

'Lasinen laulu' (it could be translated as A Song Made of Glass) is a rather straightforward blues-flavoured song with lyrics about an alcoholic. The female protagonist gives hard advice for this man: either he must find a way out of his addiction or an early grave awaits him. The music is rooted to old-school heavy rock but the band's sound has a nice, slightly jazzy blues touch, finished by a delicious synth solo in the middle.

I my opinion the finest piece is the 10-minute 'Varjot' (= Shadows). The solitary organ in the beginning, joined soon by the rest of the band and Pia's vocals, gives strong associations to the aformentioned vintage Finnish prog. Also NOVA and NIMBUS could be referred to. The melancholic melody has impressive passion to it, and the instrumental middle section with a flute-reminding synth sounds really great.

Apart from German-language reciting, 'Tabernakel' is a tight instrumental rocker starring very Uriah Heepish Hammond. The dramatically deep, treated voice underlines the tongue-in-cheek nature of this composition which will amuse the listeners of vintage heavy rock dominated by organ.

And finally, the album's longest piece, roughly 13-minute 'Turhaan' (= In Vain). It is the other obvious prog highlight besides 'Varjot'. This time Pia and Jukka share vocals in a duet approach. The atmosphere shifts from heavy rock melancholia to a brief elegant section with the solitary female vocals, followed by a more esoteric and psychedelic section that sees Pia citing a Kalevala-influenced poem by Eino Leino. The final part of the piece returns to the mighty organ dominated heavy prog. I personally prefer 'Varjot' as a composition, for having a more sincere emotional impact.

This is a very promising debut album from the vintage end of the prog spectre, and I'm glad to recommend it to anyone who is deeper into the 70's Finnish prog and also fancies vintage heavy rock sounds. Hopefully it will be a benefit for the music if the group will have more variety in the composing credits in their future albums.

Pretty nice cover art by Soile Vilponen!

Thanks to rdtprog for the artist addition.

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