|Review: Kenziner - Timescape|
Label: Leviathan Records
Year released: 1998
Genre: Progressive Power Metal
Review online: April 4, 2007
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 3.4/5 (68%) (5 Votes)
I have a rather large problem with pretension – although if you knew me you might be inclined to disagree – and unless justified within the realms of artistic experimentation, it can truly devastate the integrity of an artist or a piece of their work. And in that respect, the Finnish technical metallers' debut reminds me of a leak waiting to be repaired; so frustratingly annoying as you know how much better it would be without it.
"Timescape" and KenZiner respectively, is Jarno Keskinen's baby – although power metal aficionados will know he goes under the moniker of Jaron Sebastian Raven for his latest project, Virtuocity. Hailing from the icy plains of Riihimaki, he brings his freezing domestic standpoint with him and not only did he compose all of the material on this debut record, he is also responsible for all the instrumentation aside from the drums - played by Dennis Lesh - and lead vocals which are performed by former Chastain frontman Stephen Fredrick. Chastain of course lent a helping hand and produced the album, as well as composing most of the lyrics. This is quite beneficial, as most of the album sounds relatively Finnish; the injection of American blood certainly decreases the likelihood of amateur pronunciation and poor English lost in translation. The lyrical aspect however is not exactly startling, but at least wavers towards spiritual and mysterious matter like We've seen a thousand winters, and we've never felt the cold as apposed to Dragons we ride, to a castle up high! Or whatever.
Keskinen is a very, very talented musician who could give Malmsteen a shredding match any day and probably come away with very little finger burn; and even his skill on the keyboard could rival Janne Wirman note for note. But unless you're a muso who just can't eat enough Shreddies for breakfast you won't find much to revel in here. I mean you have the lot; hyper-fast neo-classical scale jumping, fret hammering prog metal riffs, rough, Michael Bolton-esque AOR vocals, and so many time changes that you'd suffer jetlag. Aside from that, there no real hooks to capture your attention – apart from the bridge section of the title track - and most seasoned power metallers will be put off by Fredrick's thick vocals, which I have to say, are much more defined on here than on the follow up. The songs left me feeling very cold, particularly the frosty chorus of "Images of the Past" – it almost had me running around looking for my gloves. Like I always say, if you can't get enough of this kind of thing – like myself, even though I'm chastened to admit it at times like this – you'll find everything you'd want here, in the exact place you'd expect to find it, and it may not be the most original thing you've ever heard, but at least it sports one amazing song in the shape of the furious At Vance-like double bass rattling "Into The Light", which is fast, catchy, melodic, and face-meltingly intense. If your neck refuses to snap, you'd better book yourself in for a check up. And even if it does, you probably should anyway…
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