Released by: Power Prog
Release Date: May 23rd, 2014
Genre: Neoclassical/Prog Metal
Jarno Keskinen (Guitars)
Markku Kuikka (Vocals)
Jukka Karinen (Keyboards)
Make Lievonen (Drums)
Jupi Hjelt (Bass)
1. Run For Your Life
4.Devour the World
5.End of an Era
6.Keep the Flame Alive
7.I Am Eternal
8.No Turning Back
9.The Last Horizon
The follower of Yngwie Malmsteen and Timo Tolkki, Finnish guitarist Jarno Keskinen in the mid 90-s was thinking about starting his own band where he could realize all his ideas. He sent his demos to the famous musician and producer David T. Chastain who was so impressed by Jarno’s demo-types that he offered Jarno a record deal . David did not only help to record Kenziner’s debut work “Timesacape” but composed melody lines and lyrics and even asked his old good friends and colleagues to contribute this records. So singer Stephen Fredrick (who played with Chastain in Spike in early 80-s) and drummer Dennis Lesh (the member of band Chastain at this time) became the members of Kenziner. Bass and keys parts was also performed in Kiskenen.
Released in 1998, “Timescape” was Neoclassical Metal album with strong Progressive Metal influences and some nodes to Power Metal. It received good acclaims and a year ago the second work “The Prophecies” has been a good follower performing more driven and bright material. However Jarno suddenly hibernated Kenziner for many years. He founded a new band Virtuocity but that was short lived and the band broke up after 2 albums. Kiskenen decided to withdraw from active work on music for almost ten years.
In 2012, Keskinen decided to revive Kenziner and begun gathering a band around himself. He started by hiring Markku Kuikka (Status Minor, The Ragged Saints, etc.) as the singer, and through Markku, found also the rest of the members: the new line-up features Jukka Karinen (Thunderstone, Status Minor, etc.) on the keyboards, Make Lievonen (Embassy of Silence) on the drums and Jupi Hjelt on the bass.
While the new line-up was being built, Jarno and Markku arranged Jarno’s new compositions for the upcoming album. Finally the album “The Last Horizon” was done and will be released in May 23rd, 2014 by Power Prog Records.
The new album goes on traditions of Malmsteen-inspired Neoclassical shreddy Metal. However there are some differences. The music is more variable and not only classical passages are used. I was pleased to hear active use of oriental melodies in solos and arrangements. They do not dominate here but add fresh and spicy elements to the music. The singer Markku Kuikka has some similarities with Fredrick, his voice is also reminds me Graham Bonnet but it is slightly higher and cleaner. Jarno has not lost his skills and performed fast and technical guitar passages in the best tradition of Yngwie and Vinnie Moore.
The album opens “Run For Your Life”, it is a bit up-tempo track with some mid-eastern touches. More interesting that neoclassical elements are almost absent here and it is straightforward Heavy/Power Metal song. I like it though it is different from usual Kenziner’s songs. The next “Our Times” presents more traditional Kenziner sound with strong Symphonic and Neoclassical Metal elements. Some moments remind me of Royal Hunt. This song is more varied and Progressive, it has some faster parts, some Eastern motives and typical shred solo. It is more interesting, impressive and better than the first track.
Despite really fast beginning the song “Heroes Ride” is not so blistering. Containing Neoclassical and oriental elements it is the good but ordinary song.“Devour the World” is closer to the early Kenziner works with traditional Neoclassical theme in the middle. Good dark piano themes throughout the song add points to it. “End of an Era” is driven half-oriental neoclassical number. Progressive middle part with rhythmical changes and main keyboard theme is really interesting. More Hard Rock elements could be heard in “Keep the Flame Alive” which is slow melodic track with a nice chorus and essential shred solo. It has something common in approach with the band Last Tribe. However this track is more boring than previous and I couldn’t digest the Hard Rock influences.
“I Am Eternal” has Heavier riffings, but it is not fast. Once again I hear some Royal Hunt elements especially in driven pre-chorus parts. Some prog riffs before powerful chorus are inventive. It is not a bad but slightly tedious song. I miss the real fast song here but “No Turning Back” gave me what I need: a harpsichord-driven fast Power Metal in Malmsteen/Stratovarius manner. It is impressive and awesome; I could highlight bright pre-chorus and outstanding Neoclassical guitar/harpsichord part which turning into guitar-keyboard shred duel. This is a fantastic song and exactly what I want. And it doesn’t matter that it is not very original, I always like those fast tracks. The title track “The Last Horizon” has some Symphony X influences. It is the most Progressive song here but despite some cool moments it is too long and became dull at the end. This is a bonus track “Perfect Moments”- a traditional slow ballad, sad and dreary. It is nice but boring to me.
The album has the same problem that their debut work – it severely lacks fast songs. The music is ok but I expect more driven and fast-paced material. The perfect balance was in “The Prophecies”. Nevertheless “The Last Horizon” is a solid comeback, I generally enjoy this work, the fans of Neoclassical Metal and old Kenziner works should not be disappointed, but Power Metal addicts should take into consideration that the general tempo is not very high.
Written by Egor “EG Power”