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Paidarion - Two Worlds Encounter (as Paidarion Finlandia Project) CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.88 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars What a nice surprise to get a new album from this Finnish band, already five years since their second album Behind the Curtains. But as the extended title suggests, this is a special project. Some background information first: in April 2015 the core members of Paidarion (drummer Kimmo Pörsti and bassist Jan-Olof Strandberg) invited several friends from various countries to join them on a small tour in southern Finland. These friends were the US vocalist Jenny Darren, British hard-rock bassist Kev Moore, Hungarian guitarist Ákos Bogáti-Bokor (leader of the bands Yesterdays and Tabula Smaragdina), Finnish electronic music -oriented musician Otso Pakarinen, and Robert Webb (best known as the frontman of the 70's band ENGLAND). I was lucky to witness one of their gigs, and it sure was a pleasure. The warm connection between the excellent musicians and the audience was truly memorable. The music of Paidarion was only one starting point, and many of the musicians had also a solo moment.

This studio release continued that collaboration. The lavish artwork is by Ed Unitsky (whose other works include albums by Kimmo's other band The Samurai Of Prog). At these times when a lot of music is distributed digitally, I really appreciate this kind of dedication to the package itself.

The opener 'Colin and Wendy', written by Webb, is a beautiful prog song full of sensitivity and dynamics. Jenny Darren has also started her career in the 70's. The liner notes tell she's been compared to Janis Joplin and she has supported AC/DC and Patti Smith on stage. Maybe not exactly my type of female vocalist, and I did have some doubts, but in the end her powerful vocal delivery gives this music a rock edge that probably will be greeted by many listeners. 'Billy Would Climb' - credited to Darren & Webb - features Robert Webb on acoustic guitar and Ákos on electric guitar. Otso's keyboards finish the rather retroish feel to this not-so-proggy song. The deeply emotional 'Fragile Bridge' originates from Paidarion's Finnish-language debut Hauras Silta (being a translation of its title track). Fusion-flavoured instrumental 'Jungle Fever' is a cover tune.

The mellow, slightly YES-like song 'Yellow' originates from England's Garden Shed (1977). 'Ode to Billie Jo' is a bluesy song initially performed by Bobbie Gentry in 1967; Jenny Darren is very much at home with this one! The next short piece is an acoustic guitar solo by Ákos. Gorgeous 'Grand Canyon of My Dreams' (Darren/Webb) is the album's last song sung by Jenny Darren. 'Horsemen to Symphinity' is a fine slice of 70's symphonic prog by the Australian band Windchase, but the vocals of Kev Moore are a bit of a let-down to me on this one and on 'Hahmo', another translated song from Paidarion's debut. Between them is a little uplifting rock song 'Why Oh Why' by Webb who also sings it.

If the 57-minute album is slightly incoherent in style, that's quite understandable due to the project's nature; the song material comes from many directions. Anyway, it is well worth purchasing if you have enjoyed e.g. The Samurai Of Prog albums.

Matti | 4/5 |


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