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PAX ROMANA

Neo-Prog • Finland


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Pax Romana biography
PAX ROMANA - a Finnish progressive rock band, was initially formed in early 70´s in a small village Sonkajärvi in Eastern Finland. Like many of the progressive rock bands at that time they were full of idealism and musical ambitions. The band was active for a couple of years, but due to lack of opportunities, members starting their studies etc, it just died out - or that's what everybody thought.

In 2002 these same guys, now living their lives in different parts of Finland, met again with an idea of re-building the band for just a few gigs and having fun. Gigs were done and soon they realized, that much of what they stood for back in 70´s was still actual. They also realized that new songs and lyrics came out easily and the sound of PAX ROMANA - melodic, rough and relaxed rock sound - was re-vitalized, simplified and re-energized and still very much unique. So they decided to make an album. The result of that work is here - "Trace Of Light".

Much has happened to the 15 year old guys as they have grown up, become fathers - having slowly become a bit humble to the facts of life. From all of this comes the spirit of PAX ROMANA - partly sad, partly philosophic but mostly joyful. Much of it can be found in these songs.

This is what they are - PAX ROMANA - more living than ever with the rough melodic sound - proud of what they are - thankful of what they have been allowed to experience and happy to express that by their music.

So, welcome to the musical world of PAX ROMANA. We hope you'll enjoy it as much as the band does!

Pax Romana official website

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Buy PAX ROMANA Music


Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred GroundLet All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground
Presence Records
Audio CD$25.59
Trace Of LightTrace Of Light
Wolfgang Records
Audio CD$28.28
$37.66 (used)
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PAX ROMANA discography


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

3.96 | 8 ratings
Trace Of Light
2005
3.50 | 6 ratings
And The Dance Begins Again
2009
3.34 | 7 ratings
Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground
2012

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

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PAX ROMANA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground by PAX ROMANA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground
Pax Romana Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars I have similar feelings about this album as Second Life Syndrome. It's definitely true that many of the songs are not prog at all, and there are lots of predictable chord progressions and extremely simplistic drums. Also I had some associations towards 80's soft, folkish rock. For the most part this is a fairly enjoyable, peaceful album and shouldn't be criticized just for not being more progressive. Anyway I have much better memories from their two earlier albums. And The Dance Begins Again (2009) included some really great tracks with spacey Pink Floyd influence, whereas this remains more in the "nice" department.

The keyboard player Matti Kervinen's warm baritone voice is featured on most tracks, so let's start with the rest. The title track is the only instrumental, not memorable but quite beautiful. I think it's one of the tracks that get better with multiple listenings which can't be said of the whole album. 'Batman' is a simple acoustic song about a superhero tired of chasing bad guys, sung by Matti Inkinen who has a very dry, sort of out-of-breath voice (distantly related to Tom Waits or Don Henley of The Eagles but more fragile). Musically this song and the other Inkinen ballad 'Danish Lullaby' are close to Neil Young at his folkiest. Inkinen sings also on the closing and more rocking song 'Blind Eye' which is the longest at 6:15. One of the better actually. Towards the album's end I got some brief associations to Roger Waters' Amused To Death (1992), the beginnings of 'It's a Miracle' and 'Amused to Death' to be more precise. Besides, Kervinen as a vocalist is perhaps a cross between the greying R. Waters at his most intimate and David Gilmour in his later days.

The weakest track is definitely the poppy 'Soul Basement'; without it the album would be a bit better. All the others are, as I said, nice. Kalle Fält's saxophone adds very good colour to the sound. This is not PAX ROMANA at their best but a nice, modest, honest, mellow album with its little faults.

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 Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground by PAX ROMANA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground
Pax Romana Neo-Prog

Review by Second Life Syndrome
Collaborator Math Rock Team

3 stars Well, this album is a bit of a mixed bag for me. This is definitely neo-prog with some classical influence. So far, so good. The synth work here is outstanding, and there are plenty of synth solos to feed the strange synth-hunger I have. I was also impressed by the vocalist's tone. It is quite deep, smooth, and a little bassy. I was somewhat surprised at this because it seems out of character for most neo-prog. I was also impressed with the great sax throughout the album. I've been developing my love for sax over the past couple years, and this album has some of the best I've heard.

However, I feel that there are some basic issues with this album. First of all, it's cheesy. I found the lyrics to be cheesy even though the basic theme is nice. There just seem to be a lot of cliches throughout this album, and also a lot of overly predictable chord progressions and REALLY simplistic drums. In fact, some of the songs don't even seem like they are prog at all. Some of these songs sound more like soft rock from the 80s or something. I usually don't like to scrutinize music like that, but this album just seems lazy at points, especially the last half. However, at other times, this album wows the listener. So, I think this is an easy 3 stars.

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 Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground by PAX ROMANA album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.34 | 7 ratings

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Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground
Pax Romana Neo-Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions and Crossover Team

4 stars Usually I like bands like Pax Romana. When you look at the pictures of such bands you realize that they are not young guys beginning their journey in the music world and learning alongside. No! They are in fact grown up men that have a really big passion for the music. And that's why they never gave up the dream of playing.

Such bands usually play and write with passion and their albums show that. Is this the case of the Finnish band Pax Romana? I believe so!

Pax Romana was formed back in the 70's and they were around for a couple of years but life carried each member away. After 30 years, in 2002, the members of the band got together again with the idea of re-forming the band and finally, record albums. That happened 3 years later with their first album Trace Of Light (2005), then 4 years later And The Dance Begins Again (2009). And then came their latest album Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground (2012), released by the Finnish duo Presence Records and Running Moose. The album was recorded between the years of 2011 and 2012. This just confirms what I said earlier, no rushing to release albums and not doing it for commercial purposes.

First thing you can notice in the Pax Romana s music is that they're a big, mixed bag of influences. Prog Rock is certainly one of them, but folk Finnish music and Pop Rock songs are not far away from the band.

Two more things make Pax Romana s sound interesting. First of all, the fact they have in their line up Kalle Fält, a saxophone/clarinet player. This makes the sound of the band gain a new dimension and new colours. Second of all, they have two vocalists. Matti Kervinen (vocals and keyboards) and Matti Inkinen (vocals and guitars). For me bands that share vocals are always more interesting and have big canvas to paint on. Jouko Höytämö (drums), Ilpo Komulainen (bass) and Jukka Höytämö (guitars) complete the band.

Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground (2012) is a calm and beautiful album. One cannot say that Pax Romana does exclusively Prog Rock, their sound is broader than that. 3 of the tracks are more Prog: 'Screaming Heads (Vox Humana)', 'Acheron' (great track by the way) and the title track. They make the journey a bit more Symphonic and enigmatic.

'Batman' and 'Danish Blues are folk songs. The first with flavors that for me, looked like folk Finnish music, but I may be completely wrong. The second is a beautiful piece of music that has Neil Young as a big influence.

In the Pop field they have some Beatles influence in 'Second To None'. 'Soul Basement' is pure pop flavored. 'God's Fruit' begins as a serious Prog, tough it changes a lot when the singing begins. The change in the last track 'Blind Eye' shows us how nice it is for a band to have two singers. Great final track.

Let All Men Know - This Is Sacred Ground (2012) is an album full of soul of good and experienced musicians, in music and life. Guitar solos full of feeling, a good production and a nice and calm track selection is what awaits for you. If you're not a Prog Psycho that likes to lighten up a bit your day, Pax Romana is your best choice!

(Originally posted on progshine.net)

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 And The Dance Begins Again by PAX ROMANA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.50 | 6 ratings

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And The Dance Begins Again
Pax Romana Neo-Prog

Review by progrules
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I'm puzzled about this album. The reason is whether this is prog or not. Somehow it's a strange mix of pop, country and prog. And country music from Finland ? Hmmm, that's a surprise. Well, ok, it's not downright country style but somehow it comes close with tracks like High Tide and I'm in a Train. The pop comes with songs like Nobody never knows nothing and No-Show (beautiful ballad by the way). The prog aspect is mainly to be found in the longest song called Flutter, by far the best track of the album.

If they had done all their songs in the style and quality of Flutter I would have considered a four star rating but the rest will hardly appeal to most progfans. At best to those who like crossover and prog related just as much as the real prog. As it is I can't award this release with four stars and will have to settle for three. But at least it's a bit better (3,25). A typical case of good but non- essential.

PS Special mentions for the violin, always nice and interesting to hear this instrument and the sax on Maria (Kalle Fält) which resembles TFK's Ulf Wallander (guest on Unfold the Future) big time !

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 And The Dance Begins Again by PAX ROMANA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.50 | 6 ratings

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And The Dance Begins Again
Pax Romana Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars Sad to see I'm still the only one to review this band... I hope that at least my countrymen (Finnish) would find PAX ROMANA which apparently don't make much fuzz about them. Without library even I probably wouldn't know this band at all.

My review of their debut two years ago would actually fit quite well to this follower too. Again, the two Matti's share the vocal duties and leave also plenty of music unsung, which is good. Not that they are bad singers (well, maybe not very great either) but in the instrumental sections they can better show what they are able to do. The melodic, atmospheric music can be compared to Gilmour's PINK FLOYD (as I said before) and some Neo-Prog bands such as PENDRAGON. Feelings are often sort of dark or melancholic, but I'm glad to say the music doesn't get heavy or anything like that. In fact, even I almost wish they would have taken more risks and set the music soaring higher in the true Neo-Prog style. Anyway, the material is strong and pleasant all the way except for one bad egg in the basket: 'I'm In a Train' is terribly lousy rhythm'n'bluesy song that keeps repeating the stupid chorus. I wonder why they chose to include it. But it's just one song, not a big deal!

Their both albums clearly get better with further listenings. At this point it's hard to say which one will remain as the better album. It could be this one really. Though there aren't any such tracks that would immediately grab the listener, you can just lie down and let your senses flow with the music. The same in reverse: as a haphazard background listening this is not an album to make much impression. But I'm sure we all prefer the first option, right?

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 Trace Of Light by PAX ROMANA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.96 | 8 ratings

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Trace Of Light
Pax Romana Neo-Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars (1st written review on this Finnish album.)

The band info tells that these guys were playing together in the 70's but it took 3 decades to gather in the studio for an album. Better late than never! (BTW, it was recorded in Iisalmi, my former home town in Eastern Finland.) At first I didn't quite like it, but when I listened to it for the second time, I played it again immediately and realized it's great listening. One could say it reminds Gilmour-led Pink Floyd - and as there are some flutes and female background vocals (wish there were more...), one thinks of MOSTLY AUTUMN.

Matti Kervinen (keyb) sings on three tracks and Matti Inkinen (guitars) on other three if I remember right. Some are instrumentals. Kervinen has a pleasant baritone but Inkinen's slightly unusual vocals I disliked at first. He forms his voice like Tom Waits, you know, sort of spitty out-of-breath roughness. But I started to like it, except into one track it doesn't suite so well. Compositions are tasteful and intelligent without stretching very far from accessible melodic rock music into overblown prog trickery. Sometimes it soars beautifully like Camel, and the production is just perfect. Very recommendable album!

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