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CMX

Progressive Metal • Finland


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CMX biography
Founded in Tornio, Finland in 1985 - Still active as of 2018

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-...
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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 | 5 ratings
Kolmikärki
1990
3.00 | 2 ratings
Veljeskunta
1991
2.75 | 4 ratings
Aurinko
1992
3.97 | 8 ratings
Aura
1994
3.67 | 3 ratings
Rautakantele
1995
3.03 | 5 ratings
Discopolis
1996
2.97 | 4 ratings
Vainajala
1998
4.04 | 5 ratings
Dinosaurus Stereophonicus
2000
3.00 | 4 ratings
Isohaara
2002
4.00 | 6 ratings
Aion
2003
4.33 | 3 ratings
Pedot
2005
4.06 | 11 ratings
Talvikuningas
2007
3.33 | 3 ratings
Iäti
2010
4.00 | 3 ratings
Seitsentahokas
2013
3.67 | 3 ratings
Mesmeria
2015
3.05 | 3 ratings
Alkuteos
2018

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
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cloaca Maxima III
2016

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
 Discopolis by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.03 | 5 ratings

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Discopolis
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This review is based on Svart Records' recent vinyl reissue which includes a supplementary booklet with a retrospective, band interview -based essay.

Despite having been quite an active CMX listener around 1997-2000 (my girlfriend at the time was a hardcore fan), Discopolis was the album that I refused to get into. It's still easy to see why. It doesn't have the emotionally strong pop sensibility of the preceding albums Aura or Rautakantele, nor it is progressively inspired like the ambitious double album Dinosaurus Stereophonicus (2000). As the essay sums up, Discopolis is hardly anyone's favourite CMX album. Instead it was a bold stylistic change also in the way it was made. It was the first Finnish album to utilize Pro Tools, and the digital technology (in which one not only hears but "sees" the sounds too) acted a central role in constructing the songs, with the use of sampled riffs and loop libraries. Even the lyrics of vocalist-bassist A. W. Yrjänä distanced themselves from the arcaic and mythology-inspired poetry towards urbane and mundane imagery.

The album's music is influenced by the aggressive 90's rock -- an area that's always been very distant to me --, by bands such as Prodigy and Nine Inch Nails. The first three songs, as well as several others of the albun's ten tracks ('Paha' is omitted on the reissue because according to the band it shouldn't have been included in the first place) are hard-edged and noisy. Discopolis is a cold, at times downright hostile album. The noisy guitars preceded the rise of the Finnish metal scene in the new millenium.

The serene 'Aamutähti' (= Morning Star) is the easiest to enjoy by those who like the most accessible pop- flavoured CMX. The chords were borrowed rather directly from David Sylvian's song 'Let the Happiness In', and the wind instruments work very nicely in the arrangement. Another more familiar CMX song is 'Vallat ja Väet' which seasons the poppy, melodic essence with sharp metallic riffs.

The vinyl's B side starts with 'Suljettu astia' (= Closed container). For non-Finnish listeners this notion will be totally irrelevant, but the chorus strongly reminds the one of Mikko Alatalo's notoriously irritating song 'Rokkilaulaja'. Two tracks in the middle are not very interesting. The 7,5-minute closing track -- its odd title came from Sigmund Freud's The Interpretation of Dreams -- is the proggiest, or perhaps actually the only even slightly proggy song of Discopolis, giving a foretaste of the band's later Prog Metal works Talvikuningas (2007) or Seitsentahokas (2013).

If I would be more subjective with my rating, I'd give two stars only, but let's be generous for the album's revolutionary nature and for the informative and lavish gatefold vinyl reissue.

 Alkuteos by CMX album cover Studio Album, 2018
3.05 | 3 ratings

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Alkuteos
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars -- First review for this album -- Alkuteos is the 16th studio album by the Finnish rock band CMX. Since my relationship with the band is very firmly based on the relatively melodic, pop-rock oriented era of the 90's, for me it's slightly hard to see them as Prog Metal. Sure, either "prog" or "metal" is often present to a varying degree, but not necessarily simultaneosly. Have to admit I haven't much followed their later era which is perhaps more metallic in general. According to the frontman A.W. Yrjänä this latest album contains more prog nuances than the preceding ones Mesmeria or Seitsentahokas, and more machines were used. There's also a metallic edge to many of the songs, while the prog heard here isn't epic or symphonic in the least.

Yrjänä, the much respected lyricist and [a published] poet, wants to ask questions such as "What is freedom? What makes the soul sing? Is there such thing as sin?" The first track 'Elementa' sounds quite metallic. 'Paratiisin Eeva' (= Eve of Paradise; the lyrics are of the Devil's point of view) resonates nicely with the classic (I mean 90's) CMX sound. Very good production by the way. The keyboards and programming are by the co-producer Erno Laitinen. Strangely named 'Konx Om Pax' is a highlight with its sonic allutions to the band's "prog magnum opus" Dinosaurus Stereophonicus (2000). 'Verenpuna' (= Blood red) is balanced between melodic pop and hard-edged rock.

'Sulaneet muovisotilaat' (= Melted plastic soldiers) is a relatively calm and moody song with a sophisticated, synth- oriented sound. The next track alternates dynamically between metal and melancholic alt-rock, or something like that, and the likewise 6-minute title track with its Latin-language intro has both metallic angst and the more esoteric approach. This polarized dynamics could be compared to bands such as HAKEN, but don't expect the similar progness. Even though Alkuteos won't enter my list of CMX favourites, especially from the Prog Metal point of view it is a strong late-era album in their large discography.

 Talvikuningas by CMX album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.06 | 11 ratings

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Talvikuningas
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Hiram

4 stars CMX are a Finnish rock band with hardcore punk roots, nowadays balancing between mainstream and alternative with prog influences coming forth every now and then. The band started in 1985 and Talvikuningas is their 12th album, released in 2007. It's also their most progressive I think.

Talvikuningas means "Winter King" and it's a theme album with a space opera type sci-fi story, told in 12 fragments in disjointed timeline. The band told in an interview that they wanted to make "an album that King Crimson never made". It's a bold statement and of course it doesn't turn out true when you look at the end result. There is clear influence from Thrak and onwards era KC, but even more Rush, Mars Volta and Tool I think. If you like any of those three, there's a good chance you might find Talvikuningas worth checking out.

The sound is rather modern, cold and "metallic". It's guitar-lead hard rock, but keyboards are used well for atmosphere. There's plenty of odd-time yet catchy riffs and true to theme album, they revisit some riffs and musical sequences in different songs. It's always more than standard pop song structure, but they never get complex for the sake of complexity or showing off their skills.

As a Finnish rock album this gets 5 stars, as a progressive rock album aimed at international audience - 4 stars.

 Vainajala by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.97 | 4 ratings

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Vainajala
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Hiram

3 stars Vainajala is seventh CMX full-length and their most (relatively) straightforward no-frills rock album. It came out in 1998. I had been a huge fan of the band in my teens, but at this point I had started to get interested in more extreme music and this luke-warm (as I thought back then) alternative rock wasn't my thing anymore. I got interested in the band again around 10 years later and found Vainajala rather good.

It was recorded in rather short time and produced by Billy Gould (of Faith No More) and it's the most traditional sounding and simple CMX album I think. Songs are very even quality, none are bad and some are very good. Title track is massive, atmospheric and dark description of traveling to its titular "underworld" or "hades", used as a metaphor for descending into the depths of one's mind. You'll need to know Finnish of course to figure out the lyrics. "Taivaan lapset" is a quirky and catchy 7/4 time pop song and "Laulu palavasta linnusta" is a fiery love song under it's fast rock guise. Closing track "Vanha talvitie" is unfortunately not as epic and massive as they've tried, but it has worked much better live the couple of times I've seen them play it.

No prog by means, but decent late 90s alternative rock. If you really push it, I guess you can hear faint echoes of Rush and early Tool. Modest production and many average songs don't help it. Three stars, hard core proggers can deduct one.

 Discopolis by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1996
3.03 | 5 ratings

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Discopolis
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Hiram

3 stars Between their most earthy albums Rautakantele and Vainajala, CMX did this cold and mechanical oddball. Most likely influenced by Nine Inch Nails and such industrial (you can put that in quotation marks if you like) metal/rock, the sound is very processed and seems to utilize lots of looped rhythms.

Opening track "Discoinferno" is among the heaviest the band has done and has a genius main riff that ascends an octave in half steps and then descends the same way. Coming up next is "Antroposentrifugi" ("anthropocentrifuge", duh) featuring guest female vocals and being close to some kind of techno punk. Lyrics are filled with sexual metaphors. "Nimetön" ("untitled" or "nameless") continues musically in the same vein, but much darker with violently delirious "morning after" lyrics. "Aamutähti" ("morning star") is calmer and slower, a much needed atmospheric break, but not that special song. "Jerusalem" has a nice 5/4 main riff and effective use of choir. This is the most prog song on this album I think. "Vallat ja väet" (too difficult for me to translate properly) varies between aggressive punky riffing, calm verse and sing-along chorus. Very good song and a minor hit when the album came out. "Paha" ("evil") is the absolute rock bottom of both this album and the band's whole career. Infuriatingly ridiculous smooth jazz parody. "Suljettu astia" ("closed vessel" or, if you like, "Corpus Hermeticum") is another decent song, no more or less. "Epäonnisten liikemiesten helvetti" ("Hell of unfortunate businessmen", what a wonderful title!) gets close to avant prog with its complex disjointed riffs. Not bad, but maybe too difficult for the sake of being difficult? "Arcana" is completely forgettable and has a horrible chorus. Closing track "Silmien ummistamisesta Nansenin galvanointiin" (I won't even try... but there's an obscure reference to Freud's "The Interpretation of Dreams") begins with a hypnotic raga-like riff and has cool "shamanic" vocals. Unfortunately the second part ruins the trance. Disappointing end to the album, especially as the track started so great.

As a whole there's some fine stuff here, some mediocre and also some of the worst this band has done. Three stars, just barely. If you don't know the band, this is not the place to start.

 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
Prog Reviewer

— 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).

 Dinosaurus Stereophonicus by CMX album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.04 | 5 ratings

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Dinosaurus Stereophonicus
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Vainajala by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1998
2.97 | 4 ratings

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Vainajala
CMX Progressive Metal

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Aurinko by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1992
2.75 | 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.

 Aura by CMX album cover Studio Album, 1994
3.97 | 8 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

Thanks to windhawk for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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