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Grönholm - Relativity Code For Love

Relativity Code For Love
by Yngwieviking at 06 September 2015, 6:23 PM

The Finnish guitarist Mika Grönholm’s career takes a real exciting turn on a worldwide scale with the release of the two first albums under his own name, "Eyewitness Of Life" in 2010, and the darkest, "Silent Out Loud" (2011). Both were released by LION Music, and both highly decorated with raving reviews and acclaimed comments full of welldeserved superlatives, made by flattering comparisons, backed with only positive reviews and strong encouragements by the whole Melodic/Progressive/Classic rock scene & Medias!

Naming a band after yourself mostly means that you need to impose upon a strong focus on some important things; it means that you’ are ready to assume the whole sound of the band by being the driving force, both technically & artistically, firstly by writing the songs, then taking the duty of crafting carefully the arrangements and lyrics and eventually recorded and produced the album, and yes, Mika Grönholm is a real leader with a clear mental picture on his music focused in mind!

If with this third album, "Relativity Code For Love", we can say that things have changed a lot, maybe less Proggy than before perhaps more tagged on the AORish melodic simplicity with songs thematic about love and relationships. Also, Mika Grönholm has a new voice to work with and a new partnership within the marvellous ex-SHY vocalist, Lee Small.

This is the new asset beside the skills of Mika Grönholm, indeed the new member, none other than the Tony Mills substitute in SHY, the gifted singer Lee Small (exNATIVE CAIN / exCLOVEN HOOF / exSURVEILLANCE / OMEGA /PHENOMENA ) who's singing his heart out (“Like An Angel”/“Reasons”), and reveals once again here his soulful voice in the great Glenn Hughes (CALIFORNIA BREED / ex-TRAPEZE / ex-DEEP PURPLE / HUGHES & THRALL / HTP / ex-B.C.C. ) tradition.

The vocal similarities are manifest and a blessing, his singing only, is in my opinion worth enough to justify the buying of the album with closed eyes (“Strangers”) and an opened wallet, but the real vertue of this new line-up is the superb coherency of this duo built under a fine combination that blends creativity with skills and a true savoir faire!

If I can argue that the Glenn Hughes’ vocal style similarities are not so obvious, the legacy is still there, but less than expected this, except maybe for the "Mystery" track, but the comparison is still valid …all along the recording length.

A typical contemporary AOR album but with a Classic Rock elegancy and a sheer and obvious Progressive class provided by the supplementary british flair courtesy of Mr Lee Small.

The involvement of reputed singer Lee Small (lately performing with SKYSCRAPER/ SHY / ICONIC EYE) was, for me, a major encouragement to purchase this album months ago with eagerness; I wasn’t disappointed, as expected the music is crafted indeed on a very traditionalist and un-risky British AOR axis, but the recipe is perfectly executed..In fact, pretty close to the legendary Tom Galley's PHENOMENA unique identity!

This album is clearly a step back to the early melodic hard rock sound of "Eyewitness Of Life", with some additional Classic Rock tendencies. Of course, the Mika Grönholm's guitar skills are still impressive but the songwriting, and most of all, his great science of arrangements, always take the main focus.

Yet, it isn't easy to pigeonhole this sublime piece of Music, HEAVY AOR or Metalized AOR could be used by yours truly, as an easy Journalistic shortcut to qualify the style description, yet it could fit with “Like An Angel” perfectly, and if it’s also indicative of some of Gronholm's best guitar work. With lots of groove and big Heavy riffage with stunning fret-board fireworks, updated by the ultra driving drums patterns, but it could be taking as a misunderstanding words. Call it AOR metalized if you want or Modern Melodic Hard Rock like in “Gravity”, which is based almost entirely on a subtle Grönholm 's guitar line and on Tom Rask's drums parts, finally as a summary of their sound, like a perfect mixture of power and groove in the last century's fashion!

4 Star Rating

1. Reasons
2. Home In Our Hearts
3. Like An Angel
4. Mystery
5. Strangers
6. Once
7. Serenity
8. Gravity
Lee Small - Vocals
Mika Grönholm - Guitars, Keyboards
Tom Rask - Drums
Time Schleifer - Bass
Annica Wiklund - Backing Vocals (on "Strangers")
Record Label: Power Prog Records


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Edited 17 October 2021

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