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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) - Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations)


Various Genres

3.65 | 65 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars This is quite an undertaking. The Finnish national epic, Kalevala, set to music. Well, it had been done before in various forms, but here we have 30 prog bands doing a track a piece in a 70's prog rock style. Each band gets a chapter (or more). Now, as the other reviews allude to, this could be a disaster. On the whole, I think it avoided that problem. The first CD is excellent. Not a single bad track in my opinion, with Castello, Magenta, Sinkadus, and Overhead providing the best songs on the CD. The only problem here, as another reviewer pointed out, is that the CD is 82 minutes long. This seems to cause it to skip sometimes on my home CD, and my car CD player refuses to play it some of the time. Annoying, but not a huge problem. The sound quality is the only other real issue for me, sounding somewhat over saturated and possibly recorded too "hot" (though this may have happened in the final mixing and/or mastering, as all the tracks sound this way even though they were all recorded in different studios for the most part). Not a major issue, but does seem to create some distortion and higher volumes (at least on my cheap audio equipment.........and I don't have this problem with most CD's I own).

CD2 is somewhat less impressive, but still generally very good. Malibran is the only real disappointment, though their music has never done all that much for me anyway. There are still standouts here, by Museo, Orchard, and Mad Crayon. For some reason, the listing above does not include the final track of CD2, by Elegant Simplicity, which is actually a very nice instrumental. So the quality slips a bit here, but it's still a CD worth listening to.

CD3, and fatigue can start to set in, if you try to play all the CD's in sequence (as I did on at least one occasion). Not only that, the quality begins to slip more here. The first track, by a band that as far as I can tell has no albums, Qadesh, is very good. One of the most interesting things I've heard in a while, featuring a vocalist (who also plays everything but drums) with a quite broad range and unique singing style. However, from here until track 9 we have a fairly nondescript series of instrumentals and a couple of vocal songs that really don't seem to go anywhere or serve much purpose. Only a couple are not good (Germinal, with their incredibly annoying spoken work dialog delivered by 2 slightly out of sync speakers, all in Italian), and the rest are just okay. Thankfully, the CD ends strongly with very good compositions and performances by Randone & Tempore and Caffeine.

All in all, a pretty heavy collection, that demands quite a bit from the listener. For what I paid, $30 US, not a bad deal. As with all Colossus releases, the booklet is very informative and well done and gives a great overview of a very lengthy poetic narrative. This was the first of the Colossus project albums, and probably the most ambitious of them all (well, maybe not any more than The Odyssey, but that was far less bands). Considering all that, it comes off rather well. I really want to give it 4 stars, but it's probably closer to 3.5, and I hesitate to call it essential considering the investment in time and money it requires. So I'll say 3.5 and round down. But it is a good buy to get to hear a number of bands you might not otherwise be familiar with. Also, if you like the other Colossus projects, consider this essential.

infandous | 3/5 |


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