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Liquid Wolf - First Light CD (album) cover


Liquid Wolf


Heavy Prog

3.95 | 24 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Being the one who introduced this Finnish artist I'm glad to write the first review too. Well, especially on the first listening attempt (disturbed by family life) I didn't guess it would be placed in Heavy Prog, but I'm not arguing the choice either. The opening instrumental 'Two Wheels' is a good example of the eclectic style of this album. It has spaceyness not very far from mid-seventies Pink Floyd (the same way as KATAYA and COREY & MAPLE, with more or less the same core of musicians), melodic structures and soloing that relate to symphonic Neo Prog and slightly also to Jazz-Rock/Fusion, plus the "modern low distorted (metal) guitar" as the original artist introduction puts it. In the opener that heaviness enters only in the final minutes.

'Lost', the longest track at 9:26, starts calmly featuring vocals, but later on the playing gets much heavier and reminds of bands such as Opeth and Porcupine Tree. The project actually started as Opeth-inspired, "but have expanded from that". To my pleasure the metal / heavy aspect is not constantly present, it is woven together with more ambient and melodic approach. The mood is rather melancholic. The vocals are like a bit warmer version of PT's Steven Wilson. 'Share This Dream' continues in the same vein with sparse vocals. It has cool keyboards here and there. The dynamics and the emotional strength are something to really appreciate, and the addition of moody sax is gorgeous.

This is first class instrumentally oriented, dark progressive rock, perfectly balanced between retro and modernity. The production is very fine, you can hear many delicate nuances. The leader Sami Sarhamaa is a real multi-instrumentalist, handling guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. Teijo Tikkanen also plays all of those except drums. The main drummer is Sami Kuoppamäki. Delicious keyboard playing is also on the hands of Matti Kervinen (who forms together with Sarhamaa and Tikkanen the aforementioned Kataya). To some degree the album is graced with the feel of continuity too. Often I get frustrated and tired of such prog where the calm and more aggressive elements dominate in turns, but here I don't have that problem.

The last three tracks are all between 8 and 9 minutes. There are lots of changes in dynamics, soaring solos for guitar and keyboards, both heaviness and airiness, but in a coherent form where everything serves the whole. Perhaps the best reference is Porcupine Tree (which I like also). This album is warmly recommended!

Matti | 4/5 |


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