It starts from the best way you can imagine, with a twirling key / guitar riff that is intricate but effective, and immediately the references start flowing in numbers like VANDEN PLAS / ELEGY but also AT VANCE or PAGAN’S MIND… With slight Neo-Classical twists of SYMPHONY X / FREQUENCY from time to time… Yes, it's that good. This young band from Finland seemed to be one of the main priorities of Lion Music and if you listen to this concept album named "Ouroboros" soon enough you would understand why.
The first three tracks will leave you emotionally exhausted but with the feeling to have discovered something exceptional… And maybe it’s not just a sensation. The magical element here is Markku Kuikka (ex-THAUROROD). His voice is powerful with a little something in the low mid, comparable to crackles in his awesome range that differentiates him with others bearing the approach as his artistic talent and sensibility was already hugely noticeable and acclaimed in last year’s recommended GRÖNHOLM’s “Silent Out Loud”… This vocalist is very impressive and surely one of the most underrated in the Progressive Metal. However, the rest of the players are also each one in a world class category and very active / involved in some other projects as THE MAGNIFICENT / SOLUTION 45.
“Like a Dream” & “Confidence and Trust” are more atmospheric and filled with some female vocals provided by Anna Murphy from ELUVEITIE… Not my favorite part of the album but still quite well crafted and finally very important in the clever balanced running order of the album and also for the credibility of the concept based on the whirlwind of love & life itself. Like a never ending circle as the Ouroboros – the snake who eats its own tail. With the “Stain” track STATUS MINOR are back to the strong Scandinavian Progressive Metallic delivery that has already been shown at the beginning of the album. This song also features the miss from Switzerland but in a more discreet slot. Another notable guest is Mr. Rick Altzi from AT VANCE / THUNDERSTORM / FREQUENCY that gave a helping hand in support of the backing vocals.
Next number “Smile” is one of the more massive cuts yet still finely executed and it tops the whole record. Truly very well written with an obvious PAGAN’S MIND feel… The 8th track could have been recorded by a Neo-Progressive band as RIVERSIDE or may even be ARENA mostly thanks to their darkest moments as featured in their last album, “The Seventh Degree of Separation”. The more Prog fans within the readers would probably take notice of that…
“Sail Away” is more than awesome with a smart composition, which gives you the will to push the play button once more! The progression of the band is mind-blowing and vertiginous, their debut work of 2009, “Dialog”, was good but that one is by far better. I believe it to be “The album of the month for May 2012” (in my very humble opinion of course).
1. The Wind 2. Hollow 3. Glass Wall 4. Like a Dream 5. Confidence and Trust 6. Stain 7. Smile 8. Flowers Die 9. Sail Away
Jukka Karinen- Keyboards Sami Saarinen - Lead Guitar Markku Kuikka - Lead Vocals Eero Pakkanen- Bass Rolf Pilve - Drums