As the follow-up to his solo album Wayfarer (2020, see review), the drummer from The Samurai of Prog takes centre stage again presenting a collection of old songs, some from other Finnish band collaborations such as the Colossus project and Mist Season plus six new songs.
He has also assembled a formidable line-up of musicians, such as Marek Arnold on saxophone, to help him accomplish a polished and absorbing variety of compositions.
It's an eclectic collection of songs of varying lengths, which embrace several musical genres and showcases different lead instruments.
The brief opener Awakening uses guitar for the flowing melody line anchored by Pörsti's solid drumming.
Coming in at over eight minutes, the longest track At Lombardy Convent hints at Tubular Bells, featuring several instruments such as flute, cello, acoustic guitar and violin during a light and airy section before changing its groove into a tighter keyboards-led passage, returning later to a more flowing lyrical style.
Changewinds opens with guitar and flute, vocalist Carlos Espejo adding a rockier feel while retaining a Celtic edge rather like Horslips. There's a complete change of tempo on the jazz funk instrumental Fused, Pörsti really hitting the spot with some solid drum sequences.
Sorrow And Recovery has a gentle loveliness, the flute being played by Hanna Pörsti, then the tempo starts increasing to bring in guitar and synthesisers. That Celtic vibe is back in force on Dance Of The Miststress , another revamped track from Mist Season that again takes us into Horslips' territory.
In Darker Places, Marc Papeghin's trumpet brings an extra texture to a fabulous funky tune on which singer Dan Chambers and Pörsti both excel. Lighter and more laid-back, Kati's lilting melody is a sheer delight, lifted higher by Thomas Berglund's fluid guitar solo.
Second Arrival offers a brief interlude while the title track is full of funky goodness, searing guitars and a full-on saxophone solo from Risto Salmi. Finally, Nucleo Antirapina has the same kind of feel as the old rock classic Peter Gunn, once recorded by ELP.
It's an interesting collection and like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates, you never know quite what you are going to get from track to track!
***+ Alison Reijman
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