My good friend and audio engineering mentor Christer Karjalainen, owner and operator of the KC Sound Studio in Turku, Finland, was kind enough to send me a copy of their latest production. Following is my review of this exceptional album.
As far as Rock music in general goes, Finland has quite the reputation when it comes to the Heavy Metal genre. As of 2018, there were reportedly more than 53 Metal bands for every 100,000 inhabitants. That’s more than any other nation in the world!
However, the Progressive Rock group RUN should be a refreshing break from that trend for Finns. Those who know me personally also know this genre to be my favorite, and that includes Christer.
First, an introduction to the musicians in this new band, along with all of the other talented folks who participated in its production:
And, here’s the album cover itself… If this isn’t Prog influenced, I don’t know what is. All of this very cool artwork was created by quite the talented artist, Jukka Siikala.
The 8-page jewel case insert includes the lyrics to every song, something I’m always pleased to see. They’re accompanied by some interesting line drawings (also by Jukka) which are a wonderful touch in visually setting the general theme of each song.
In fact, this band’s songs each seem to tell a complete story, and given this, the words themselves are especially important.
Founding member Kimmo Viitaharju wrote both the music and lyrics for every track. His vocals are pleasantly reminiscent to those of James LaBrie (for those unfamiliar, lead vocalist for Dream Theater). In addition, he lays down some fine performances on guitar, bass, and also plays solo piano on the track, “Mercy”.
The entire album is excellent, each song fresh with many interesting themes and time signature changes, as is typical in Prog. Thumbs up all the way, those are just some of the things that make it such a great genre.
For the purposes of this review, I’ll just be covering a few of my favorite songs from this album, in order to prevent it from becoming the Magna Carta and boring you to death with too much of my writing!
Of course, these are my subjective interpretations of the tracks, the overall feelings I came away with after hearing them. I was also inclined to make a few comparisons to other Prog bands where appropriate, all of which are intended to be nothing short of complimentary to RUN.
Note: With Christer’s permission, samples from these three songs are included here, to keep things in context…
The entire album is available at the following online services:
KC Sound Studio Shop
Free samples/CD purchase
Free samples/CD purchase/Digital download purchases
Streaming/Digital download for Premium members
Okay Craig, on to the song reviews already!
It’s All Over
The introduction of this tune is what immediately grabbed me, with some very catchy acoustic guitar work.
It’s a story about a man escaping the drudgeries of everyday life. In finally doing so, he arrives at the realization of the loneliness that can sometimes bring, which ironically becomes inescapable all in itself.
Five Minutes to Nine
A great combination of power trio sound, complimented by some nice, mellow bridges. The theme of the song itself seems to be along the lines of “Time” by Pink Floyd. It serves to remind me of something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately, that being there are many more years behind me, than lie ahead.
One particularly poignant passage:
“Well the time just flew, I couldn’t catch it, I was always too late”
Soaring melodies, which bring to mind my favorite band for over 40 years, Rush, as is the case with many of the other songs on this album. That’s a pretty bold statement, especially coming from me. This is especially true of the guitars… It sounds to me like Kimmo has surely been influenced by the arpeggios and general style of Alex Lifeson.
As I’m sure you’ve already gleaned from the title, it’s an inspiring anthem for anyone going through a rough time in their lives. I’ve certainly been through a lot in the past few years, with both health and family issues, so I instantly related to this song. It conveys a simple but important message: When faced with deep troubles, never give up, no matter how large the obstacles that lie in the way of your happiness might be.
The KC and SLY Sound Studios, Turku, Finland
Finally, it goes without saying that the mixing and mastering of this album, performed by Christer and Sasa Opacic, approach perfection.
These two Gents are without a doubt masters in the art of audio engineering. The job they did with this production is nothing short of amazing, as usual!
Other KC and SLY Sound Studio productions covering a wide variety of music genres are currently available here.
I especially recommend the solo albums by Christer’s son, Elmo Karjalainen, as well as his soaring performances in the band Seagrave. Elmo is an absolute prodigy on lead guitar, and most definitely one of the finest I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.
Still reading? What are you waiting for… Head on over to the links above to check out some awesome music!