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Kenziner - Phoenix Award winner

Kenziner
Phoenix
by Neil Cook at 13 July 2020, 6:27 PM

KENZINER come from the Finland, and personally, when I think of bands from the Scandinavian region I’m thinking Viking Metal, Melo-Death or full on Death Metal.  Or perhaps something like the Folky, Symphonic OTT stylings of NIGHTWISH. These guys are none of these.

They describe their sound as “Neoclassical”, Progressive Power Metal. And whilst I agree with the latter, their sound is much more melodic than a lot of Euro Power Metal purveyors.  The heavy use of Keyboards give them a distinctly different tone.  This album has a perfectly balanced production, no surprising from a band who have the history they have. With an original run between 1994 to 99, Jarno Kestinen put together a new version of KENZINER in 2012, producing 2 long players first time around, and this is their 2nd album since returning.

As mentioned above their music is a very keyboard heavy version of European Power Metal, the drum and bass delivery is very Power Metal, but this is peppered with influences such as RAINBOW, QUEESRYCHE and even a bit of URIAH HEEP, all of which can be heard in “Curse Of The Pharaoh”, which is the song which sums up their sound neatly, and is one of the best tracks on this very Egyptian inspired album, concept album? Very nearly.  The cover art certainly points us in that direction with its pyramid and bird-headed warriors.

There isn’t a truly bad song on the album.  Some songs are more Progressive than others, some are more Power Metal than some, and then there is a song like “To Hell And Back” which has a  Melodic Rock vibe not dissimilar to H.E.A.T.

The Egyptian trope is writ large from opener “Eye Of Horus” (great opener), “Osiris Rising” (pomp rocker) and the aforementioned “Curse Of The Pharaoh”, and there are others which fit this theme without being implicitly titled.  However none of this detracts or takes away from the quality of the album.

Which brings us to the last song, which is a beautiful ballad of a song.  “The Miracle” is a virtuoso performance of sublime understated vocals, and some stunning guitar work. When you consider their sound is really quite bombastic (“Shadow Of The Moon” is a fair example of how OTT they can get), lesser bands would have played the histrionics to the max., but no the delivery is restrained and so much for the better, creating the powerful, emotional and perfect end to a brilliant album.

KENZINER deliver a powerful, OTT, yet melodic slab of Metal.  Perhaps if your tastes are more extreme, or prefer your Rock a it darker, this isn’t for you, but if you like tuneful Rock music delivered in a bombastic fashion. Hold on! I think I finally get the Neoclassical reference! This isn’t symphonic metal, nor is it operatic in delivery, but some songs have a bit of a classical structure, feel. Take “Curse Of The Pharaoh” as good example of exactly this.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Eye Of Horus
2. Listen To The Devil
3. Shadow Of The Moon
4. Tears OF Destiny
5. The Mirror
6. Osiris Rising
7. Curse Of The Pharaoh
8. To Hell and Back
9. Phoenix Rising
10. The Miracle
Lineup:
Jarno Kestinen – Guitar
Peter “Zinny” Zalesky – Vocals
Jupi Hjelt – Bass
Ariel Perchuk - Keyboards
Mike Lievonen – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records
     


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