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Various Artists (Concept albums & Themed compilations) Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic album cover
3.67 | 71 ratings | 10 reviews | 34% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2003

Songs / Tracks Listing

CD 1 (82:39)
1. HAIKARA (Finland) - The Creation / The Sowing (11:31)
2. OVERHEAD (Finland) - Wainamoinen and Youkahainen / The Fate of Aino (8:05)
3. SIMON SAYS (Sweden) - Som Floden Flyter (As the River Runs) (7:07)
4. SINKADUS (Sweden) - Trubadurens kval (The Minstrel's Cry) (5:44)
5. MOONGARDEN (Italy) - Maiden of the Bow (10:22)
6. IL CASTELLO DI ATLANTE (Italy) - Ilmarinen Forges the Sampo (7:06)
7. MAGENTA (UK) - Lemminkainen's Lament (6:58)
8. SUBMARINE SILENCE (Italy) - The Three Battles (7:34)
9. METAPHOR (USA) - Raking the Bones (7:44)
10. CLEARLIGHT (USA-France) - The Boat Builder / Searching for the Lost Word (10:28)

CD 2 (78:47)
1. ORCHARD (Norway) - 3 (7:34)
2. GREENWALL (Italy) - The Wedding (14:27)
3. REVELATION (Italy) - Uninvited Guest (10:07)
4. SCARLET THREAD (Finland) - Pimeństa Pohjolasta (5:03)
5. MAD CRAYON (Italy) - Il Suono Dei Ricordi (The Sound of Memories) (6:22)
6. MUSEO ROSENBACH (Italy) - Fiore di Vendetta (The Flower of Revenge) (6:42)
7. LEVIATHAN (Italy) - Filo di Lama (Edge of a Blade) (10:35)
8. MALIBRAN (Italy)- Strani Colori (Strange Colors) (7:31)
9. SOFIA BACCINI (Italy) - Malvagio Per Le Stelle (Mean Because of the stars) (5:25)
10. ELEGANT SIMPLICITY (UK) - Ilmarinen's Bride of Gold (5:01)

CD 3 (76:43)
1. QADESH (UK) - Ilmarinen's Fruitless Wooing (11:34)
2. CANTINA SOCIALE (Italy) - Kantele (5:47)
3. GRAND STAND (Sweden) - Stormen (Tempest) (7:01)
4. GERMINALE (Italy) - La Battaglia per il Sampo (The Battle for the Sampo) (8:12)
5. AARDVARK (Finland) - Uusi Kantele (New Kantele) (5:53)
6. THONK (Switzerland) - Kapittu 45/46 (Chapter 45/46) (6:39)
7. GROOVECTOR (Finland) - Tuletta (Fireless) (5:19)
8. WHOBODIES (Finland) - Pine (5:37)
9. RANDONE & TEMPORE (Italy) - Runo 49 (8:58)
10. CAFE¤NE (France) - Way Is Open (11:43)

Total Time 238:09

Releases information

Artwork: Marco Bernard

3CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4463.AR (2003, France)
3CD Musea ‎- FGBG 4755 (2008, France) Remastered, new cover

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic ratings distribution

(71 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(34%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(46%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

VARIOUS ARTISTS (CONCEPT ALBUMS & THEMED COMPILATIONS) Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Marcelo
4 stars Almost four very good progressive hours with a lot of first line bands. Of course, when we've got several groups and many songs, is -at least- very difficult to preserve a masterpiece feeling at all moment but, generally, the quality standards are in a high place. The first cd is, IMO, the best and the more homogeneous, standing out OVERHEAD (very fine), SIMON SAYS, SINKADUS (both mellotronic numbers) and CLEARLIGHT (this one maybe the whole opus pinnacle). At second disc, quality decays a little bit, but there are some wonderful moments trought MUSEO ROSENBACH and LEVIATHAN numbers, closing with an operatic song by SOFIA BACCINI. In the last cd we'll find the weakest points. QADESH (lots of vocal games, sometimes dissonant) and GERMINALE (speaking and not really singing) participation makes a "hole" in the general context. Overall, THONK, RANDONE & TEMPORE and CAFEINE are highlights, recovering the whole spirit. Despite the brief poor points above mentioned, "Kalevala-A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic" is a really very good stuff, plenty of very interesting prog moments and an excellent way to know lots of today's prog bands sound.
Review by hdfisch
2 stars Well, this compilation contains some very nice tracks by good Progrock bands but as well some one can easily ignore (especially on CD 3). The weakest point I found with this album is in fact that the title implies some concept or coherence within the songs, but finally I had to realise that the songs were rather compiled in a more arbitrary way. Might be useful to have samples from bands one did not hear so far. But I'm really afraid to give it more than 2 stars!
Review by Matti
3 stars It took a long time to listen this 3CD package through - partly due to my annoyance of the 1st disc's malfunctioning (skip-button stops the too long disc). First something about how this project was made. Each band from e.g. Finland, Sweden, Italy, UK and US (Italy being the most numerous) were given a section of Kalevala, the Finnish folklore epic, with a request to use old prog instruments rather than modern digital technics, and to sing in their native language. Well, since most of the bands I'm hearing here for the first time, I don't know if those wishes really changed anything. English is the main language (lyrics are in English only, no matter what is the sung language) with some nice exceptions - and a large part is instrumentals.

It's quite clear that hardly anyone likes all the 29 bands/tracks but as sure is that any prog fan gets a lot of highly enjoyable music and will be given many interesting band names to find more their music. Funnily there were some fine Finnish groups too that I didn't know. I think that's the good point of this album: not including more popular Neo-Prog bands (who probably wouldn't fit to the folklore context) but finding excellent less-known musicians who make music from their heart. For me the best moments are played with 'classic' acoustic instruments with a folk touch. And the least favourites are with the heavy prog style.

As so many track is rather long (round 10 minutes), it's for me a worksome task to listen and to get familiar with so many previously unheard names. I remember hearing for example many gorgeous keyboard solos and exciting epic compositions - but not yet able to give much names. Here are some bands I enjoyed: Simon Says (S), Orchard (N), Greenwall (I), Leviathan (I), Aardvark (Fi) and Groovector (Fi). Eastern Europe is not represented at all, a pity. On a narrative epic level (Kalevala) one can choose whether to follow closely the synopsis or just listen the music. My emphasis was on the latter. I guess there could be enough enjoyment for 4 stars too, but I can't help thinking there's SOMETHING phony to have 29 separate contributions by different bands trying to form a coherent entity. But the result could have been much worse.

Review by erik neuteboom
4 stars


- How wonderful to notice that in our current commercial Western society the Finnish progrock magazine Colossus and the French progrock label Musea joined in order to release in 2003 an ambitous 3-CD progrock project featuring many lesser known and unknown new progrock bands from all over the world. Meanwhile the first pressing sold out, other Colossus/Musea projects like The Spaghetti Epic and Odyssey also have very decent sales and soon we can expect a now project entitled Tuonen Tytar II featuring band members from Tillion, Ars Nova, The Watch en Glass Hammer, I am looking forward to it!

- But back to the 3-CD Kalevala - A Finnish Progressive Rock Epic (based upon an era in the Finnish history in 50 poems), this year (2008) Colossus and Musea decided to re-release the Kalevala project in a digitally remastered version with one bonustrack (on CD-3). It was a musical marathon to listen to all the 31 bands on the 3 CD's but I am delighted about the quality of all bands (some even surpassed their own level), I cannot trace a weak composition although some tracks are not really my cup of tea.

- DISC 1 (81:32) : all bands were asked to join the Kalevala 3-CD with a new composition, to use Seventies equipment and to sing in their native language. Apart from some bands that preferred to sing in English and some bands that couldn't purchase Seventies instruments, the lion's share succeeded in these musical goals. Especially on CD-1 we can enjoy a genuine vintage sound with cascades of Mellotron waves, Hammond runs and Minimoog flights, this is 'Vintage Keyboard Heaven'! The level of the 10 bands on CD-1 is high, I was blown away by the sound of Overhead (spectacular synthesizer work, strong interplay and lots of fine musical ideas), Simon Says (varied and exciting with some majestic choir-Mellotron, Sinkadus (24-carat symphonic prog with floods of vintage keyboards), Il Castello Di Atlante (warm Italian vocals and intense work on violin and guitar) and Magenta (from twanging acoustic 12-string guitar to sumptuous Hammond, Mellotron and Moog, topped by the beautiful Annie Haslam-like vocals). A very pleasant surprise was Haikara their sound: alternating and powerful with great tension between the classical and progrock parts. The Italian formation Moongarden is now a known band, in 2003 they already impressed with their unique blend of several styles, I loved the bombastis eruptions. Another strong contribution is by the American-French band Clearlight with a great build-up and sparkling Grand piano.

- DISC 2 (71:00) : This CD is less obviously drenched into the Seventies Classic Prog tradition. I was delighted about the instrumental compositions of the unknown Norwegian formation Orchard (very dynamic with propulsive guitar riffs and flute similar to Jethro Tull along excellent choir-Mellotron waves, warm classical guitar and a flashy synthesizer solo) and the English duo Elegant Simplicity (the intense guitar turns to fiery, then a compelling climate with solos on the Prophet 5 synthesizer and Fender Rhodes electric piano). The Italian progrock legend Museo Rosenbach was willing to cooperate and delivered a strongly build-up compositions featuring passionate Italian vocals, delicate classical guitar and lots of Hammond organ (unfortunately no Mellotron like on Zarathustra). Another good Italian band is Revalation delivering wonderful violin - and choir-Mellotron waves, exciting Minimoog and sensitive electric guitar, great! And more from Italy: Leviathan their neo-prog (varied and dynamic with swirling play on synthesizer and flute along warm Italian vocals) and Malibran (fluent and swinging with powerful guitar solos from the 2 guitarists and pleasant work on the flute traverse).

- DISC 3 (76:19) : Although this CD is the least interesting, the level remains decent, especially the English Qadesh (dynamic and varied, from Fender to mandolin), the Italian Cantina Sociale (wonderful flute-Mellotron, the strong work on saxophone and guitar along inspired vocals), the Finnish Aardvark (from folky to Heavy Prog with Floydian guitar and wonderful keyboards), the totally unknown keyboard-driven Swiss band Thonk (lush Hammond sound and some piano and Mellotron), the Italian Randone & Tempore (varied vintage keyboard souns and a bit theatrical vocals) and Cafeine from France (lost of shifting moods and howling guitar runs). The short bonustrack is by the promising Finnish band Viima, it contains a dreamy atmosphere with mellow saxophone and fine Mellotron waves.

- My conclusion: for at about 23 euros/30 dollars you get a huge pile of interesting, captivating and exciting (mainly) new lesser known and unknown progrock bands from all over the world, the cascades of Hammond, Minimoog and Mellotron will caress the ears of the symphomaniacs and progheads, highly recommended!

Review by progrules
4 stars If the counting of reviewed albums is ok, this is to be my 500th one. Time for a special one I would say. And I picked a pretty famous one for that, the very interesting Kalevala 3 CD project played by various artists. This is an incredible total time of somewhere between 200 and 250 minutes, so somewhere between 3,5 and 4 hours !! Can you believe that ? That's pretty much worth the money I feel. I decided to review this one song by song because the songs are extremely different where impact on my personal taste is concerned. And also to make up my mind for the definitive rating because that will end up right in between the 3 and 4 stars I'm pretty sure. So it will probably result in my longest review ever. Nice timing, uh ?

Disc one:

1. Haikara-The Creation/The Sowing. This track starts strangely and darkish then continues with more melody but remains a typical Scandinavian song in the vein of Anglagard and Wobbler. 3*.

2. Overhead- Wainomonen and Youkahainen/The Fate of Aino. Overhead is the second Finnish band which is only logical since Kalevala is from Finland. But this sounds totally different than the opening track. This rocks and swings all along, sounds cheerful really. Nice for the variation ! 3,5*

3. Simon Says-Som Floden Flyter (As the River Runs). This is a track that's also features on Tardigrade, Simon Says' latest album. I always loved this one because of the compositional strength and intriguing atmosphere. 4,5*

4. Sinkadus-Trubadurens Kval (The Minstrel's Cry). With this one we return to darker spheres again, in fact that's how I know Sinkadus as they play in the same style on the Colossus of Rhodes track (a latter release than this one but earlier discovered by me). Short but interesting song. 3,25*.

5. Moongarden-Maiden of the Bow. Moongarden is one of the bands I discovered thanks to Kalevala. One of the 12 (!) Italian bands on this project making it an Italian/Scandinavian feast mainly. This one is sung in English though but it's hard to figure out the lyrics. Good song but not exceptional. 3,5*.

6. Il Castello di Atlante-Ilmarinen forges the Sampo. Another Italian band but more in the RPI style contrary to Moongarden playing the more general symphonic genre. Great track if you like the style, but personally less my cup of tea. 3,25*.

7. Magenta-Lemminkainen's Lament. This is more like it for my personal preference. Nice effort by Rob Reed where the composition is concerned and one of the better song by Magenta ever to me. Fantastic instrumental part in the middle, first featuring great guitar followed by superb keys. 4,5*.

8. Submarine Silence-The Three Battles. Submarine Silence is another prolific RPI band. By a small research I discovered they made one album (tribute to Genesis) but it appeared a real fine one. And so is this track with some good guitar in this instrumental track. 3,75*.

9. Metaphor-Raking the Bones. Metaphor blew me away not too long ago with their Starfooted debut and also here the performance is really good. Surprising twists and a mystical voice are the main features of this amazing band. This particular track is not as great as most songs on their debut though. Eclectic stuff this ! 3,5*.

10. Clearlight-The Boat Builder/Searching for the lost Boat. Same as Simon Says also Clearlight plays a song on this project that's also a part of one of their albums (Infinite Symphony, part III). Nice semi-classical song but not the best track from that album. 3,5*.

Good disk this, on average just above 3,6 stars.

Disc two:

1. Orchard-3. This Norwegian band was completely unknown for me and I just checked, they are not on our site so that will have to do with it. Guitar and flute are the dominant instruments on this pretty heavy track. Very nice melody and good variation. 3,75*.

2. Greenwall-The Wedding. I had one encounter with this RPI outfit and that was on the Colossus of Rhodes Project. I can't say I liked that one and this track is at least less annoying. Still nothing here that really rocks my boat I have to say. Same as the Clearlight track also this one has semi-classical hints thanks to lots of violin and the piano part around the 10 minute mark. Michela Botti's voice reminds me much of Margriet Boomsma from Flamborough Head. Longest track of the entire release, I'll give them that. 3*.

3. Revelation-Uninvited Guest. And here we have another band that likes to contribute to these kinds of projects. In fact these are the only things they did: Colossus of Rhodes and Kalevala, I can't find an album of their own. Never mind, they do these things nicely and also this track is worthwhile, style in between symphonic prog and RPI. 3,25*.

4. Scarlet Thread-Pimeństa Pohjolasta. This band is known as Finnish prog folk according to our site. Unknown to me since I hardly check out prog folk. Nice flute here, friendly music all along on this relatively short track. Very pleasant though not excellent instrumental performance. 3,5*.

5. Mad Crayon-Il Suono Dei Ricordi (The Sound of Memories). Ok, this is getting monotonous now. Also Mad Crayon is known for their contribution on Colossus of Rhodes. Coincidence ? Don't know, apparently some bands really like this kind of exposure. This track starts with enchanting flute followed by typical RPI though pretty restrained here where RPI is often quite dramatic and theatrical. Some wonderful instrumental bits win me over on this one. 3,75*.

6. Museo Rosenbach-Fiore di Vendetta (The Flower of Revenge). This is what I meant by my statement at previous track. Museo Rosenbach is the kind of RPI that makes me stay away from the subgenre most of the time. I must admit they are not showing off too much on this track and then I mean vocally in particular. This is an almost gentle song for their usual style. Pretty good actually I have to admit. 3,5*.

7. Leviathan-Filo di Lama (Edge of a Blade). Ok, just found out that 5 out of 6 bands that featured on Colossus of Rhodes are actually also present on this Kalevala project so here's no.5: Leviathan. This time no RPI even though the band is from Italy. They are categorized as neo and I believe quite rightly. Sung in Italian but obviously not RPI, somehow the keys sound very neo. Very good track. 3,75*.

8. Malibran-Strani Colori (Strange Colors). My remark at the Museo Rosenbach track is actually much more relevant for this RPI band. Especially the vocals here tend to put me off. Instrumentally there's not much wrong here. Good track once again but I will have to limit the score because of mentioned. 3,25*.

9. Sofia Baccini-Malvagio per le Stelle (Mean because of the Stars). Vocals are much better on this track by Sofia. Initially going towards opera style but later on getting back to prog. The composition is disappointing though and so is the instrumental aspect. 3* because of this.

10. Elegant Simplicity-Ilmarinen's Bride of Gold. Now here's another jewel of a band ! Elegant Simplicity plays the guitar how I like it. Crystal clear and extremely melodic. Nice jazzy part near the end. But also here the song itself isn't exactly great. The execution is better to be honest. 3,5* because of that.

Almost exactly 3,5 for this second disc. Looks like my prediction is going to be the right one and this total release is heading for the 3,5*. Depends on disc 3 ...

Disc three:

1. Qadesh-Ilmarinen's Fruitless Wooing. As far as I can tell British Qadesh's only ever performance is this contribution on Kalevala. Jazzy stuff with somewhat peculiar vocals. Not 100% bad but at least a bit weird and that's usually not my thing. Bit of a mix between Zeuhl and RIO Avant prog but then slightly more mainstream. 2,5* for me but I wouldn't be surprised if many proggers really loved this one.

2. Cantina Sociale-Kantele. One of the lesser Italian contributions in my opinion. Extravagant vocals where intensity is concerned. The song is below par as well. 2,5*. 3. Grand Stand-Stormen (Tempest). Now we're talking !!! This is the very best of the entire release for me. Grand Stand already made their masterpiece Tricks of Time at this point and with this Stormen they confirm their ultimate class as far as I'm concerned. First minute should prove enough thanks to a mindblowing guitar solo. The rest is absolutely great as well. 5*.

4. Germinale-La Battaglia Per Il Sampo (The Battle for the Sampo). Typical RPI once again with vocals that remind me of Osanna, more talking than singing. I'm not sure if this is the right way to impress, not for me this. Instrumental bits are very mediocre too. 2,5*.

5. Aardvark-Uusi Kantele (New Kantele). This one doesn't seem very interesting at first but second half of the song is much better with great guitar. 3,75* in the end.

6. Thonk-Kapittu 45/46 (Chapter 45/46). Swiss Thonk plays an organ dominated instrumental, quite melodic at first than suddenly collapsing halfway. The track starts again after that. Interesting. 3,5*.

7. Groovector-Tuletta (Fireless). Another Finnish contribution starting with nice piano in jazzy style. Not really surprising, this band is in this subgenre on PA. Nice atmosphere on this track. 3,75*.

8. Whobodies-Pine. Last one from Finland and same as Qadesh this is their only recorded musical effort (probably) so another occasional band apparently. Same as previous also this track is very jazzy but slightly more in a progressive way. Another very nice one. 3,75*.

9. Randone & Tempore-Runo 49. Collaboration between these two RPI bands especially for this project. Both play the typical RPI style with theatrical vocals. Pretty heavy track this with quite a bit of variation within the song. Ok song but not quite for me. 3*.

10. Cafeine-Way is Open. French Cafeine plays an extended track to round things off. It starts fairly quiet then getting heavier, instrumental for first 4 minutes then various vocals set in, not sounding too impressive to me. Fortunately they quit after a few minutes to return towards the end. I'm pretty ambivalent about this one. Some pretty strong but also weak aspects about this track. 3,25*.

That results in an average of 3,35 for disk three making it the least (equable) of the three. One outstanding track, a few very good ones and a few way below par.

After the usual maths I come to an average of 3,5 so that makes 4 stars for this (almost) essential release. That is if you like these kind of epical various artists products. I do and consider it one of the jewels of my collection. At least it made me discover several very interesting progbands some years ago. Funny thing is that both the average on PA and on Rateyourmusic are just below 3,5 and that's exactly where my average ends up. Still I give it 4 stars because of the effort it must have cost to create a project like this and of course because of the importance for prog rock. Let's not forget it's the chosen picture on the various artists page on PA ! But if I could have given 3,5 stars it would be without hesitation.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A collection of 31 songs from 31 bands all asked to contribute songs toward the theme of the Finnish folk tale, "Kalevala." The Colossus Magazine-Musea Records collaborative effort asked the bands to try composing and playing their contributions on 1970s period instruments. The results are formidable. Of the 31 songs, I rate no less than 13 of them with 5 stars, proclaiming them as masterpieces of progressive rock, another 15 earn 4 stars, with the remaining three still deserving of 3 stars as "good" contributions to progressive rock music.




An excellent addition to any prog lovers music collection! Highly recommended.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars Some may have noticed that i'm wading through some triple albums of late. I say wading because many of these include three discs with well over 70 minutes of music on each disc.This one is closer to eighty minutes per disc including the first one which is over 82 1/2 minutes long ! So yeah were approaching 4 hours of music here. Again this is a concept album but this time we get 30 bands (10 per disc) doing a track each. I was thinking of giving this a 4 star rating after the first two discs but the third disc was a huge letdown. I'll comment on the songs that I feel were worth 4 stars or at least were close enough for me to bump them up to that rating.

Disc One starts off great with HAIKARA giving us an 11 1/2 minute track. Keyboards and cymbals to start then it turns dark with violin. It kicks in before 2 minutes. Nice bass with piano 4 minutes in then the tempo picks up. Great sound here. Organ before 6 1/2 minutes as the drums pound. It settles with female vocal melodies before 8 minutes.The tempo continues to change. SINKADUS does me proud with their usual prominant bass / mellotron combo. One of my favourite tracks right here. MOONGARDEN's track isn't as strong in fact it's closer to 3.5 stars but I get drawn in by those vocals. MAGENTA's is a low 4 stars. Gotta love Christina's vocals. I like the instrumental section before 4 minutes to 6 1/2 minutes.It's fairly heavy. CLEARLIGHT finishes Disc One in a surprising way as the singer reminds me of Peter Gabriel. I like this track a lot and in fact half of Disc One is well done.

Disc Two starts off well with a band I hadn't heard of in ORCHARD.These Norwegians use mellotron, flute and picked guitar in contrast to heavier sections very well. MUSEO ROSENBACH's tune might be the best on here.Those classic Italian vocals and powerful sound just blow me away here. Incredible ! LEVIATHAN was a surprise for me.Very enjoyable and the sound late is gorgeous. MALIBRAN also impresses. Nice chunky bass and flue too. Killer guitar late as well. Sofia Baccini I hadn't heard of but she impressed me alot. Mellotron and atmosphere with those vocal melodies are both moving and powerful. So like the first disc I really enjoyed half of the songs.

Unfortunately the Disc Three falls flat. What did they leave the worst for last on purpose ? RANDONE and a Jazz band called WHOBODIES were the closest tracks to 4 stars but both are closer to 3.5.

So 3 stars it is with some real gems scattered around.

Latest members reviews

5 stars I feel sorry for all people who never will come across this, to say the least, well-fed triple Cd. Most probably I hadn't myself, but fate laid it in front of my eyes in a second-hand shop. For the modest price of 125 kr(19 dollars), mint quality, this is almost half of a brand new. Synphonic tak ... (read more)

Report this review (#1078434) | Posted by Per Kohler | Monday, November 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This is a decent compilation with some good bands, some great bands, some mediocre bands, and some downright crappy bands. When you compile a group of 29 differant bands, it's just not possible for someone to enjoy all of them. Although the bands are working together on a concept album, ther ... (read more)

Report this review (#126173) | Posted by weaverinhisweb | Sunday, June 17, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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 ... (read more)

Report this review (#121372) | Posted by infandous | Wednesday, May 9, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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