Kenziner - Timescape


Year of Release: 1998
Label: Leviathan Records
Catalog Number: 199832
Format: CD
Total Time: 62:15:00

Out of nowhere comes this superb melodic / neo-classical gem from Finland. Led by a 24-year old guitar virtuoso named Jarno Keskinen, who plays most of the instruments on the disc, it's 62 minutes of some great melodic metal that sounds like it was maybe written in the late 80s, but given a nice boost of the 90's sound, making it a very interesting disc rather than a dated one. It's tough to write something fresh in metal in 1998 because it's all been done before, but when it comes to neo-classical metal, I believe that a band has to have a special ingredient to produce a disc that fans of this genre will enjoy a great deal rather than pass the band off as a Yngwie clone that failed. In the case of Kenziner, it appears that Keskinen had this in mind when he set out to write his music. He took ideas from some of the better bands of the genre, such as Impelliterri, Stratovarius, and maybe a touch of Treasure Land, and then added his own touch to the style and produced this enjoyable disc. Couple this with the fact that one, David T. Chastain wrote the lyrics and produced the disc, and you have a serious melodic / neo-classical disc contender on your hands.

THE STYLE:

As mentioned, this is a blend of melodic metal with a neo-classical base. Don't worry about having to sit through another Yngwie clone band that can't pull it off, because this band has other ideas. Taking their cues from bands like Stratovarius, Impelliterri, and some Treasure Land, this band injects their own style of melody into an already established genre. Being led by a guitar virtuoso, you'd think that the disc would be full of boring, shredding and blazing guitar runs. Sorry, Jarno Keskinen is more concerned with writing a good song rather than show off his talents. Each song seems to have it's roots firm into the neo-classical realm, but you can forget about speedy, long, double bass runs and get ready for some interesting, catchy, melodic tunes. Progressive in it's own right, the songs change within themselves often, starting with fist raising intros, and then running on into catchy choruses, and then on into some mellow passges. The music never seems to want to stand still, yet it's very easy to follow the lines. If you think back to the impact that Magnitude-9 had on fans in a very short time, and the type of music that they play, you know what the impact will be from Kenziner; it's a superbly played disc filled with metal that we all love to listen to all of the time because of the catchiness of the tunes, and the fact that the music is played so WELL.

THE BAND:

There are 3 members of this band: Dennis Lesh / Drums, Stephen Frederick / Vocals, and Jarno Keskinen / Guitars, Bass, and Keyboards. Keskinen wrote all of the music for the disc, and it's easy to see why he is the up and coming talent of today's metal. He plays all of the musical instruments on the disc, which not only shows his virtuosity on guitar, but his overall talent in handling all of the other chores in the band. There isn't much to say about the band because of the small lineup, but suffice it to say that Keskinen is an earful, and it's amazing to hear music played this well coming from basically one person. The drummer is certainly talented, and to me, most drummers are who play in a neo-classical atmosphere. Lesh doesn't have too many soaring double bass runs, but what he does, he does superbly. The singer is a treat as well, as you'll see in the next line, and Keskinen is the guiding light here, handling guitars and bass, which he does superbly. The keyboards are used primarily for accenting the guitar lines, and he can keep up with himself when doing this. There aren't too many times when the keys are used alone, but most of the time the keys are following the guitar lines, making this sound a bit on the symphonic side. The keys aren't as prominent as say, a Jans Johansson style in Stratovarius, but Keskinen has to play some keyboard lines to match his quick guitar lines and he has no problem doing so.

THE SINGER:

This is going to be a real treat for Graham Bonnet fans. Stephen Fredrick sounds just like Bonnet, with a dash of Joe Lynn Turner thrown in on the more subtle parts of the music. Overall, if you can imagine Graham Bonnet singing some Impelliterri, or some old Rainbow, you have a pretty good idea of what Frederick sounds like. For some reason, I've always seemed to think that Bonnet's voice was one of the few voices that actually made neo-classical sound even better, as his voice was the perfect match for the style. When Frederick opened his mouth and the music started, I was instamtly brought back to the old Impelliterri / Rainbow days. This guys does not disappoint in any way, as long as you like some Bonnet in your music. The nice thing about Frederick's voice is that you can hear just about every word he is singing, which is always a plus in my book.

THE PRODUCTION:

Excellent. The sound is punchy, deep and clean. David Chastain made sure that everything was heard in the mix, and that crispness was a must for the final recording. Each instrument is ewually mixed, with no one instrument standing out, except maybe for the guitar sound, but that's because you can't help but focus on that sound. The drums are well up in the mix, and have a nice punch to the sound as does the bass. The keys are put exactly where they need to be in the mix, right along side the guitar so that it sounds like every note Keskinen plays sounds like he is playing the guitar and keyboard at the very same time. The vocals are right where they should be too, helping us to hear every word that the singer is saying. This is how metal discs should be recorded.

THE COMMENTS:

I bought this blindly, after hearing a clip of a song over the telephone. It's 62:00 of great , melodic metal in a neo-classical base. Never overbearing, never boring, I am quite excited and pleased over what I am hearing on this disc. Add a nice progressive approach to all of that, and this disc should please just about any fan of some type of melodic, neo-classical and progressive metal. I have the feeling that an up and coming star is on the rise in Finland, and having to come up with something different than Stratovarius in their own home land must be a feat in itself for a 24-year old. This disc wreaks of confidence, and never tries to copy or outdo any of the aforementioned bands. It can hold it's own, and certainly has my both thumbs pointing upward in approval. I can safely recommend this disc to anyone who wants to hear some metal played extremely well, and again, if you want to hear what a mixture of Impelliterri / Treasure Land and Stratovarius sounds like with just a bit of a different approach, then you will be pleasantly surprised and excited when you hear this one. Definitely recommended.


Tracklisting:
Future Signs (5:42) / Into The Light (4:13) / Images Of The Past (5:47) / Dreamer (6:18) / Thru The End (4:50) / Timescape (7:52) / Walking In The Rain (7:08) / Seasons (7:29) / In The Silence (5:18) / Land Of Shadows (7:36)

Musicians:
Jarno Keskinen - guitars, bass and keyboards
Stephen Fredrik - vocals
Dennis Lesh - drums

Discography:
Timescape (1998)
The Prophecies (1999)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin FI

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Hits: 762
Language: english

  

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