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CMX

Progressive Metal • Finland


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CMX biography
Finnish outfit CMX was founded in 1985 by A. W. Yrjänä (bass, vocals) and Pekka Kanniainen (drums), at first using the moniker Cloaca Maxima. Kimmo Suomalainen (guitars) soon hooked up with the forming duo, and the band started practicing their chosen form of music at the time: Hardcore punk. In 1986 the band decided to ditch English lyrics in favour of their native Finnish language, and shortened the band name to CMX.

In 1987 they started recording their forst EP Johannes Kastaja, which was released on a private label in 1988. CMX started performing live outside of their hometown the same year, and were also signed by indie label Bad Vugum. In 1989 their second EP Raivo was issued, and this year also saw them hold their first ever concert in Helsinki.

In 1990 their full length debut effort Kolmikärki appeared. Soon after Pasi Isometsä (guitars) joined the band, but when it was decided to move the band's base of operations to Helsinki in the autumn of 1990 Suomalainen and later also Isometsä decided to leave the band rather than move. Janne Halmkrona (guitars) became the new guitarist, and in early 1991 Timo Rasio (guitars) decided to join CMX as well.

In between these line-up changes the EP Tanssitauti was recorded and released, and in the fall of 1991 the band's second full length production Veljeskunta appeared, to favourable reviews.

In 1992 CMX were signed to EMI REcords, and soon after their third album Aurinko was issued. This effort saw CMX largely abandoning their hardcore exploits, venturing towards a much more mainstream rock oriented expression. This proved to be a popular choice, seeing CMX winning an Album of the Year and Band of the Year award in Finnish Rumba magazine's reader's poll.

1994's Aura continued where Aurinko finished, spawning two of the band's best know songs in the shape of the ballad Ruoste and the love song Kultanaamio. 1995's Rautakantele was pretty much a direct continuation of their mainstream-oriented style as well, with the single Pelasta Maailma getting good airplay. Finnish artist Essi Wuorela made a guest appearance at this third and last chapter in CMX history of strictly mainstream-oriented efforts.

When CMX started working on their next album, they had discovered and started to utilize the highly popular music editing software Pro Tools. With extensive use if sampling, the end result was the highly modern-sounding production Discopolis, issued in late 1996. And while the a...
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AurinkoAurinko
Import
Imports 2012
Audio CD$19.66
Kolmikarjen VeljeskuntaKolmikarjen Veljeskunta
Svart Records
Vinyl$45.99
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CMX [Cloaca Maxima] Aamutähti - 1996 Finnish CD Maxi - Hard Rock - RARE! USD $5.47 Buy It Now 15h 17m
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CMX shows & tickets


  • CMX at The Circus, Helsinki on 7 Mar 2015
  • CMX on 13 Mar 2015
  • CMX at Pakkahuone, Tampere on 14 Mar 2015
  • CMX on 20 Mar 2015
  • CMX on 21 Mar 2015

CMX discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

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

3.94 | 4 ratings
Kolmikärki
1990
3.00 | 1 ratings
Veljeskunta
1991
2.69 | 4 ratings
Aurinko
1992
3.94 | 7 ratings
Aura
1994
3.00 | 2 ratings
Rautakantele
1995
3.00 | 2 ratings
Discopolis
1996
2.95 | 3 ratings
Vainajala
1998
4.00 | 4 ratings
Dinosaurus Stereophonicus
2000
2.95 | 3 ratings
Isohaara
2002
4.00 | 5 ratings
Aion
2003
3.67 | 3 ratings
Pedot
2005
4.05 | 9 ratings
Talvikuningas
2007
3.50 | 2 ratings
Iäti
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
Seitsentahokas
2013

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

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

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

0.00 | 0 ratings
Cloaca Maxima
1997
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cloaca Maxima II
2004
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kaikki hedelmät
2008

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

2.00 | 1 ratings
Johannes Kastaja
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Raivo
1989
0.00 | 0 ratings
Tanssitauti
1990
0.00 | 0 ratings
HC EP
2008

CMX Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Johannes Kastaja by CMX album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1987
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Johannes Kastaja
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars The Finnish band CMX have actually never made music you would immediately recognize as Progressive Metal. Usually they rock hard & loud even with some Metal flavour, and some albums are more or less progressive, that's all. Hardly any other subgenre here would be more precise, if not Prog Related. As their most popular, especially in the mid-90's, they have made quite accessible rock - even pop with softer elements - emphasizing on poetic lyrics of bassist-vocalist A. W. Yrjänä. Some of the most dedicated fans are starry-eyed, female university students studying Finnish literature; this theory is backed by my personal relationship history and a TV programme on literature, in which Yrjänä, active also as a book author, was interviewed by such persons whose admiration really shone from their eyes. I wonder if those academic girls enjoy THIS music...

This is how they started as young men locating in Northern Finland: raw, fast hardcore punk with very brief and burst-like songs. Guitar, bass and drums being the only instruments. This is so over the top that it becomes sort of amusing and humorous to listen to at least once, even if you normally hate punk. You can do it yourself in YouTube. I couldn't find the three tracks with English titles. I didn't even know they have done something in English too. The biting sound could be considerd as a more hardcore follower to the earlier Finnish cult band Hassisen Kone.

The earliest CMX releases, such as this very first one, were EP's that have become very rare. The CD called Kolmikärki Gold (2002) contains the longplay Kolmikärki (1989), this EP and another EP Raivo (1989).

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 Dinosaurus Stereophonicus by CMX album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Dinosaurus Stereophonicus
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars (The First Review.) At the time of release - when prog was again gaining some respect and popularity also in Finland - this double disc was greeted as CMX's magnum opus in prog. There wasn't much competition within the genre, I think (Ageness comes to mind as strongly Genesis-influenced old- school [neo-]proggers.) Since then CMX have done even more ambitious prog album Talvikuningas (2008) which I haven't yet listened to. But what pleases me with this one is the fact that here they continue the not-so-heavy approach of their most accessible 90's albums such as the excellent Aura (1994), only with more progressive flavour. (Or maybe the heaviness was in those tracks that I didn't include to my music archives and therefor have now forgotten.) And unlike Ageness, they didn't choose to show off obvious influences of classic prog but were defining the new paths of Finnish progressive rock. Many compositions are not really proggy on their own, but the whole has a certain artistic coherense, an enjoyable balance of various moods and sonic structures.

Two hours of music include a lot of less interesting stuff (to me at least), but the best are among the very finest music by the group. There are some tasty instrumentals such as the mysterious opener 'Kreetan härkä'. My next highlight is the sixth track 'Pelon enkeli' ("Angel of Fear") in which A. W. Yrjänä's vocals are given an extra treatment: imagine the soft verses of 'Aqualung' ("sun streaking cold...") sung with continuous pressing of adam's apple and you get the point. Also the playing builds up the ghostlike atmosphere. 'Ilmestyskirjanpitäjä' is a 2-minute song with acoustic guitar. The title is a typical wordplay of Yrjänä, putting together Apocalypse and book-keeper. Before the instrumental "Negative Overture" that ends the first disc there are two long tracks. 'Baikonur' (10:08) is a great, deeply atmospheric composition that leans on delicate nuances - and anti-war lyrics - instead of power play. It's almost free of percussion.

The second disc has several succesful songs reminding of Aura's catchiness, and to me it has more to offer than the first one. The prog highlight is the 10-minute 'Olkoon täysi sinun maljasi' ("Let Thy Cup Be Full") which again builds on slowness. This may not be the best work ever by CMX but surely it is one of the most essential for a prog listener.

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 Vainajala by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.95 | 3 ratings

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Vainajala
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars This album came out at the time I was still being good friends with my ex-girlfriend, a CMX fan who had succesfully made me like the band too, and so I became familiar with this album via her. Looking back, this is not among the CMX albums that still mean something to me. It has no catchy pop-oriented songwriting of Aura, nor progressive tendencies of the next (double) album Dinosaurus Stereophonicus; this is pure rock with heavy bass and drums. It was produced by Faith No More bassist Billy Gould and recorded in a cabin in Lapland, which maybe explains its trick-free, direct approah.

I don't mean this work wouldn't sound like a more or less typical CMX album. They are basically a hard rocking band, whatever other aspects I personally prefer in them. And no, this isn't radically different from their better albums, just with heavier arrangement and less of the softer side. There are fine and memorable moments here and there, distinctively CMX and not just any rock band. For the lyrics the headman, bassist-vocalist A. W. Yrjänä keeps diving into his usual land of poetic metaphors and Kalevala-inspired mythology. Many songs I almost like but then the chorus or something gets too heavy for my taste. But if you like CMX as a hard rocking band, you'll have no trouble with this album, strong in its style. 'Sillanrakentaja' (bridgemaker) and 'Vanha talvitie' (old winter road) are the highlights.

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 Aurinko by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.69 | 4 ratings

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Aurinko
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Vompatti

4 stars The first CMX album on a major label was pretty much a final departure from the hardcore punk still strongly present on the previous album, but the spirit and the overall approach remain distinctly "punk" as opposed to "mainstream". Even the few songs that clearly borrow more from schlager and pop music than from the darkly crooked expression of hardcore and post-punk are lyrically and thematically too strange and unnerving to have been played on the radio. Arguably the most pleasant song on the album (and a long time concert favourite) Ainomieli (the title is most likely a reference to the character Aino in the Finnish national epic Kalevala) deals with the refusal to let go of a dead person and unfolds as a series of overlapping images like some surreal nightmare, while Manalainen, which was selected as a single, loads a great deal of horror and rage into a sort of a fractured mini-drama about a spirit from the netherworld (a "manalainen") unwillingly drawn back from the dead to haunt the living. This intercourse between the earth and the underworld, the temporal and the eternal, the finite and the infinite, or the reality and the dream, is one of the themes that present themselves throughout the album. While many of the lyrical ideas appear on a very general level and their exact source is left more or less unspecified, the essential content of the songs comes across directly enough thanks to the rich imagery which is vivid, tangible, and, to a remarkably high extent, crudely erotic.

As for the music, it's mostly aggressive, energetic and raw. The softer songs are fairly stripped and rely on a few simple elements to build an intense mood. The production is quite ascetic and the sound, as the recent vinyl edition well proves, intentionally open and bare. At most times the instruments remain clearly separated and many of the frequencies seem to have been cut out. As a result the individual instrument and vocal tracks get plenty of space to breathe, but, on the other hand, the overall impression is unconventionally hollow and takes multiple listens to get used to. The drums, when present, are very much in the front, while the guitar tracks seem to be ringing out somewhere in a distance.

Without repeating my opinion about the genre classification of this band I think I should nevertheless point out that this album is not particularly progressive and has very little to do with metal. I think I remember someone comparing the song Aivosähköä ("brain electricity") to System of a Down, and while the comparison is not too far off, it mainly has to do with the form of the song which could just as well be likened to Dead Kennedys. Particularly Aivosähköä but a few of the other songs as well have a "chopped" structure consisting of rhythmically unequal parts linked to each other in a rapid succession. This rhythmic variety along with the frequently shifting lyrical perspectives makes the music feel particularly tight and full, as if the contents of a novel or a play was packed into a 3-4 minute song.

Overall the material is very strong throughout the album. Nearly every song is impressive and thought-provoking, and while Timanttirumpu ("diamond drum") feels a bit unnecessary in its aimless chanting, Kaksi jokea ("two rivers") is the only song I find outright weak. Even the song order, which generally tends to confuse me on CMX albums, feels balanced and logical. I find myself very tempted to give this favourite of mine five stars, but, due to the small drop in intensity on side 2, I think I'll leave it to a high four.

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 Aura by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.94 | 7 ratings

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Aura
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Talybont

4 stars Together With Aion, one of their best albums. Not very progressive, i have to admit, but great pop-album with many styles in it. There is raw punk (Sametinpehmeä), simple pop songs (Kultanaamio), even tango (Nainen tanssii tangoa) and YES, there is one longer prog-song (Pilvien kuningas) too. It also has their biggest radio hit (Ruoste), so there is something for anyone. I bet there is no man that can't find even one great song from this album. I like the album very much, but it has few weak moments too, so i give "only" 4 stars. But you should get it if you live in Finland (I think anyone else is not interested about Cmx than Finnish People)

And in the end, Key tracks imo : Elokuun kruunu, Nainen tanssii tangoa, Pilvien Kuningas, Aura. Songs you might ignore imo: Kultanaamio, Työt ja Päivät

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 Kolmikärki by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.94 | 4 ratings

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Kolmikärki
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Eetu Pellonpää
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars This first long player album of CMX is suggested to be born "From consciousness and power" according the album cover note, and I fully agree with that statement. I think the most significant musical value in the album is implementing both intelligent musical elements to quite primitive hardcore punk sound basis, and creating something unique and original, mystical and enchanting.

The album starts with tribal evocation "Johdatus salatieteisiin", underlining the occult thematics dominating the album. This introduction is followed with the band's general sonic characteristics, constructed from contrasts of aggression and emotionally calm sequences. There are some very pleasant rhythmic details and compositional solutions realized, enrichening the listening experience of the more primitivelly atavistic raw rock basis' flow. These qualities are maybe most strongly present on song "Hiljaisuuden pelko", which though isn't my biggest personal favourites from the album tracks. The bass guitar is also very powerfully present with treble tones upfronted. Yrjänä's texts reveal his certain intelligence, shimmering with mysteriousness and blended with humor. Now later as I read his books, I think it is evident that he has matured even yet more higher levels. I however admit I felt some of his lyrics in the later albums of his career compromized. But I can't claim I could see directly to anybody's mind, and thus judge what would be totally sincere, and what made on purpose for achieving any calculated goals - A factor which I yet try always to analyze, and which means much for me due ideal of artists and audiences communication. The lyrics are neatly tied together thematically, and along with the musical solutions they create a really pleasant and solid semi-conceptual feeling. Especially as the album closer is also a shamanistic experimentation in line of the opening track, a circle of reference is conjured to this vinyl.

About the individual tracks, I would mention "Kaikki nämä kädet", containing somehow similar power and sound as the most amazing Sielun Veljet songs. "Pyörivät sähkökoneet" combines neatly rolling riffs and surrealistic lyrics, and following punk anthem "Taivas ja helvetti" is very good melodically, delivering pleasantly arranged alteration to the album's compositinal progression. "Suuri äiti" shimmers with melancholic ethereal pastoral calmness, and along with lovely lyrics it strenghtens the musical pallette of the album most perfectly. None of the compositions are displeasing, though maybe some of the humoristic and vulgar themes didn't appeal to me totally. But however I consider these ingredients as a part of these fellows honest self-expression, and the vinyl spins from start to end really painlessly, giving some kick to the ass and sharing the impressions from these lads. Also in the very fine song "Kuolemattomuuden ääni" these mentioned elements managed to amuse me seriously. The album releaser, record label Bad Vugum, is also one of my own favourite local labels, conducting good taste in their artistic line and voice out independent values. This album has also strong nostalghic values for myself, being one strong element on the soundtrack of my own youthhood.

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 Veljeskunta by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Veljeskunta
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Vompatti

— First review of this album —
3 stars The second CMX album starts off in a somewhat similar way to their debut: a cryptic spoken word line and primitive, ritualistic drumming and chanting make it clear right from the beginning that this is not your usual Finnish rock album. But where Kolmikärki was essentially hardcore punk, Veljeskunta ('Brotherhood') is more like indie rock - not far from The Pixies, actually, except for the lyrics being in Finnish and the overall feel being a bit more on the heavy side. The band's hardcore roots can still be heard throughout the album, most obviously on songs like the violently playful Vaskiperse ("Brass Arse").

The lyrical themes and the mythical contexts they're set in are quite similar to the ones on the debut, but the way they're dealt with is strikingly more concrete and tangible. Like the circle of rocks on the album cover, the songs too stand firmly on the ground. Although the lyrics are far from self-explanatory, there's an intrinsic unity in them that makes them a lot easier to try and interpret than the ones on Kolmikärki. Instead of throbbing furiously here and there the songs focus on building up a mood, in some cases even a story.

It's not just with the lyrics that the band has moved towards a more refined expression. Although most of the tracks rely on a tight rhytmic base, there are a lot of great melodies as well, and even though the band's sound is anything but commercial, most of the songs on this album are more straightforward than complex. The chorus and the clever, Johnny Marresque guitar riff of Rytmitehdas ("The Rhythm Factory") are among the band's most memorable ones, and the closing track Tulikiveä ("Of Fiery Stone") with its clean vocals and ethereal mood captures the band's sensitive side perhaps better than any other track in their whole discography.

Not all of the songs are memorable though, and side two is significantly more uneven than the consistently strong side one. I could live perfectly fine without hearing songs like "Ääni ja vimma" ("The Sound and the Fury") and "Tanssitauti" ("Dance Disease") ever again. The former has a (deliberately?) annoying chorus and the latter has not only a jarring melody but also one of the least noteworthy lyrics A. W. Yrjänä has ever written.

That said, as a whole Veljeskunta is not a weak album - and it definitely isn't an uninteresting one. There is, however, a slightly unfinished and patchy feel to it. The songs range from brilliant to mediocre, and all of the mediocre ones have been a bit awkwardly placed on side two. Finally, with the prog elements being less notable here than on some other CMX albums, Veljeskunta gets three stars from me on this site. All in all a good album, but (to most people here) not an essential one.

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 Talvikuningas by CMX album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.05 | 9 ratings

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Talvikuningas
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Vompatti

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.

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 Kolmikärki by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1990
3.94 | 4 ratings

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Kolmikärki
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Vompatti

4 stars Kolmikärki (the title translates to 'Trident') is the first and, one might argue, the most experimental CMX album - though perhaps not in the most obvious sense of the word. Basically it's a hardcore punk album, but it's the only hardcore punk album I know of whose lyrics deal mostly with mythological concepts and whose cover shows a shaman riding a snake.

The first track, "Johdatus salatieteisiin" ("Introduction to the Occult") opens with some aphoristic spoken-word lines alluding to alchemy and proceeds into shamanistic drumming and chanting accompanied by an ethereal flute melody smoothly leading to the clerical intonation in the intro of "Sika ja Perkele" ("The Pig and the Devil"), a brutally intense hardcore song with sinister biblical overtones and fragmentary lyrics apparently examining the contradiction of freedom and determinism. The tracks that follow vary from the vigorous but hardly straightforward hardcore of "Nahkaparturi" ("Skin Barber") to the deeply mournful and poignantly delicate lament of "Suuri äiti" ("The Great Mother"), and from the heavy metal pastiche of "Pyörivät sähkökoneet" ("Rotating Electric Machines") to the light waltz of "Pyydä mahdotonta" ("Ask for the Impossible"), a tongue-in-cheek piece of music whose upbeat accompaniment and almost banally simple structure would make it a perfect song for a wedding reception - if it weren't for the utterly bleak and visually quite disturbing lyrics.

Overall A. W. Yrjänä's cryptic lyrics are even more difficult to grasp here than on the latter CMX albums. The immense amount of various mythological and literary allusions goes hand in hand with the dense and uncompromising nature of the music. Yet I wouldn't say that Kolmikärki is a particularly difficult album to approach. Some of the riffs are incredibly catchy and the delightfully crooked songs are simply fun to listen to regardless of whether the lyrics mean anything to you or not. It might also be worth mentioning that of the full-length CMX albums this is the one where Pekka Kanniainen's harsh and austere drumming is at its most intense.

It's easy to hear though that the band that plays on Kolmikärki is a band still searching for their direction (as well as their first steady lineup). A. W. Yrjänä's few attempts to sing instead of shouting or grunting are not quite there yet, and most of the songs rely more on raw energy than on carefully woven atmosphere. But the vision is there, and the emotion is definitely there. Even though Kolmikärki is not really a prog album (far from it, actually), I can imagine it appealing to someone looking for a unique and fiercely captivating musical experience.

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 Isohaara by CMX album cover Studio Album, 2002
2.95 | 3 ratings

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Isohaara
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

3 stars On this album the labeling as Metal is more accurate than on any others I've heard from CMX this far. And that's why I actually skipped most of the tracks within half a minute, because heavy metal is just not for me. If some of the tracks would evolve enormously from the beginning's usual heavy banging, I'm sorry. Hopefully the next reviewer is better into this sort of rock. But still - in addition to myself being the only active CMX reviewer this far - I think even this kind of review based on incomplete listening (I can see some of you shake your heads horrified!) is useful, especially others not so keen on Metal.

Fortunately there are four tracks that are not Metal. The finest is definitely 'Revontulten repijä' ("The tearer of aurora borealis"), a very slow and very dark-mooded song, genuine CMX. The closest one to pop-rock is 'Minun sydämeni on särkynyt' ("My heart's broken"), comparable to some of Aura album's calmer tracks but not as good. Also 'Silmien takana' ("Behind eyes") and 'Tuulilukko' ("Wind lock") are very identifiable as CMX, slightly rockier but still far from heavy. To me these four tracks represent the goodness of the whole album, but to a metal fan this is maybe one of the more recommendable CMX albums.

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