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Joviac - Here and Now Award winner

Here and Now
by Mark Machlay at 05 May 2020, 5:04 AM

In late 2016 frontman Viljami Jupiter Wenttola started Finnish progressive metal/rock project JOVIAC simply as a creative outlet for himself to project his strong vision and unending quest to express himself. His first effort – a 2017 self-titled debut – was simply himself with Antti Varjanne joining him on bass. By the time the album was released, the duo added Rudy Fabritius as a full-time drummer and Janne Korpela to fill in as a second guitarist when playing live. They gained notoriety as they played around their native Finland. As a full band, they recorded single “State of Mind” in 2018 and it acted as bit of a mission statement as to where the band was to go when they were able to form a full release.

Now fully formed, sophomore effort “Here and Now” signifies the fruits of their four years of labor. Determined to push the boundaries of what it means to be progressive, this release is an amazing work filled with passion, creativity and absolutely wicked music worthy of the progressive pantheons. The most similar in sound that I can think would be HAKEN – ever one to fill out soundscapes but the music is ever evolving, moving, never quite settling. Guitar leads are so slick, fast, and polished, cutting through the mix like butter. But the “Intro” track lays some of the most jaw-dropping clean guitar work and prepares you for what is to come later on. There compositions are nice, tight and short – averaging around 6 minutes per track - if you lean towards that side too. The longest cut on the album, center of the album, title track “Here and Now” sees them evolve through the genres the most. It starts out with a smooth soaring synth but soon settles in a building of tension, subtle dissonance and amazing guitar lines. The chorus reminds me a lot of “Right Here, Right Now” by VAN HALEN if its urgency and majesty were turned up to 11. It even features a special guitar solo from fellow Fin Matias Kupiainen of well-known power-metallers, STRATOVARIUS.

We are thankfully treated to the single, “State of Mind”, recorded in 2018 as the album’s closer. Starting out with a guitar compositional structure very similar to DREAM THEATER’s “Goodnight´Kiss”. It stays in this light rock, almost poppy aesthetic, bathing in the beautiful, glassy guitar tone and understated vocal work soon gives way to total progressive metal madness. The band has grown so much in the short four years since their formation. Finland has long been a haven for metal enthusiasts though few of the progressive variety have they produced, however, this new progressive group is a release I plan to revisit over and over again in 2020 and I think it can only get better like a fine wine.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

1. Intro
2. Straws
3. Black Mirror
4. Here and Now
5. Decay
6. Crossfire
7. Fade Into the Light
Viljami Jupiter Wenttola - Vocals, Guitar, Keys
Antti Varjanne - Bass
Rudy Fabritius - Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records


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