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TRACK LIST: 1. Autio Pelto 6:09 2. Unohtunut 8:29 3. Sukellus 7:36 4. Kahden Kuun Sirpit 22:45 LINEUP: Hannu Hiltula Ц vocals; sax, flute Kimmo Lahteenmaki Ц keyboards Mikko Uusi-Oukari Ц guitars Aapo Honkanen Ц bass Mikko Vaarala Ц drums
Prolusion. The Finnish act VIIMA was founded in 1999, at the onset using the moniker Lost Spectacles, but changed it to Viima just prior to the release of their debut album УAlatuksia Maalisman Laidalta" in 2006. In the spring of 2009 they issued their sophomore effort, "Kahden Kuun Sirpit".
Analysis. Those who bought and enjoyed the first effort by this act will probably wonder what has happened with this outfit the last few years, as only two members remain from the previous record. The band had a major line-up change indeed, but it took place back in 2005, just after the recording of their debut album but before it was issued. After this the line-up has remained stable, so although the recording roster is new this time around the band as such has remained unchanged for four years. There's no denying that there have been some changes to this outfit's overall sound due to this change of personnel. And while they were given much praise for their progressive folk oriented sound on their first venture, this follow up is firmly placed in the symphonic part of art rock in terms of stylistic expression, of the vintage-sounding variety. The opening number Autio Pelto is the one with most references to folk-tinged material, with flute soloing and acoustic guitars conveying most of this flavor. With some slight jazz-flavoring in the rhythm department as well as organ, mellotron and vintage style keyboards supplying rich symphonic textures, we end up with an overall sound closely reminding of Camel at times; where the reference points go towards that part of their discography containing elements from the Canterbury tradition rather than the one which inspired later Neo-Progressive outfits. The following tracks, Unohtunut and Sukellus, contain many of the same elements, but on these excursions heavier sounding guitars make the odd appearance and the various guises of keyboards used tend to create more grandiose, majestic sonic tapestries. While the similarities to Camel still exist, much of the material here is closer in expression to the music Genesis made in the early С70s and, while never copying any of these acts, elements referring to both of them are present on these two. The fourth and the final piece, Kahden Kuun Sirpit, loses track of these references to a great extent though. Keyboards of different categories do dominate this mammoth venture, closing in at just below 23 minutes; the flute is still very much present, and the rhythm department does have the odd jazz-tinged sheen to it in this number as well. There's no doubt that УС70s vintage symphonic, etcФ is still a truthful description of the material, but on this composition there aren't any obvious likenesses anymore. And it is a creation that should please those who really love their symphonic progressive epics, with twists and turns aplenty throughout, where the first half in particular can only be described as busy.
Conclusion. "Kahden Kuun Sirpit" explores the realms of vintage sounding, symphonic art rock almost to perfection, with strong performances and good compositions from start to finish. Still a few notches shy of being a truly great effort, it is however a very good one - and should cater to the needs of most looking for new material exploring the symphonic art rock sound of the С70s.
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