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Minutian – Magical Thinking Award winner

Minutian
Magical Thinking
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 29 March 2021, 10:39 PM

With no information given in their EPK, and nothing from their Facebook page or record label page, I was unable to gather much information about this Progressive Rock band from Finland. So, we are going to have to skip the formal introduction and just get down to the music. “Magical Thinking” contains eight tracks.

“Alien Reflection” opens the album. Some lead guitar notes usher in the main riff, which is both heavy and a bit dark. It has a curiously odd song like nothing I have heard before. Especially when you consider the vocal chants and the odd time meters. “Suspicious Smiles” opens with another odd time meter and a laden, staccato guitar riff. I love the bass guitar holding down the opening melody line. The chorus has some vocal harmonies, and let out little more melody. A couple of harsh vocals make their way into the song towards the end.

“Doublespeak” begins with a dirty little riff and some lead notes. One thing that is quickly becoming apparent is that the band has complete control over their timing. They play in a unison that is hard to match. This song is also on the darker side of the spectrum. The extended instrumental passage shows the band’s musicianship. “Supersymmetry” opens with a slower pace, and more of those odd time meters. Don’t even bother trying to keep count. The vocals are guarded at first, soft and clean. It picks up a bit with an additional guitar and that little background ambiance is nice as well. It culminates in a crescendo of dark and melodic sounds.

“Magical Thinking” features more of those staccato guitar strikes, over bed of silky smooth vocals. The juxtaposition just works somehow. After a brief pause at the half-way mark, the song roars back with heavy drum strikes and melodic leads. “Vacant Eyes” is a slower moving song, still with those heavy guitar strikes. One guitar builds with a hypnotic pattern, while the other is moving above it with the bass. The darkness continues its spread across the land, with more foreboding sounds around the half-way mark. Coming towards the end, the melodies return.

“Scarfire” is the album’s longest song, at just under eight-minutes in length. Opening again with some meter shifting and unconventional tones, the guitars reach in and grab you, strengthening their grip on you. The sound shifts coming close to the half-way mark, growing in resolve. Approaching the end, Mikko repeats something over and over that I just can’t make out. “The Grand Scheme” is a short, four-minute closer, with more strange chord progressions. Locked in combat are the heavy guitar strikes with the ethereal vocals. Bass guitar thuds away, while some lead notes take over towards the end.

Overall, this was a fascinating album full of surprises. If you try to guess what the next chord is going to be, you’d be wrong most of the time. This isn’t your dad’s Progressive Rock band. Indeed, they are unique, with a penchant for crafty and unusual songwriting and meter shifts that are handled seamlessly. The melodies are more subtle here…you have to peel back some layers to find them. Everything is done with just a little gloom. This Finnish quintet is very talented, and the album is more unique with each new listen. Is this the future of Progressive Rock?

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

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Alien Reflection
2. Suspicious Smiles
3. Doublespeak
4. Supersymmetry
5. Magical Thinking
6. Vacant Eyes
7. Scarefire
8. The Grand Scheme
Lineup:
Mikko Heino – Vocals
Pekka Loponen – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jesper Johnson – Guitars
Jouni Mikkola – Bass
Antti Ruokola – Drums
Record Label: Secret Entertainment
     


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Edited 18 April 2021
 

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