A lot has already been written about the Finnish musician Sami Sarhamaa (keyboards, guitars, vocals) on this website. He had been in bands such as Kataya and Kudos. But I guess many don't know that in the eighties he had already made some music. From 1982 until 1985 he was active in a band called Chapter One. They played melodic prog-tinged rock and pop in the dawn of the eighties and were second in the Finnish Rock Championship Competition in 1983. They recorded their debut in the very same year. However strangely enough, it was never released. Thanks to Sami's own label, it got a release more than thirty years later and got the title One. It seems that Two is already in the pipeline at set for a release one of these days.
When you hear the first four tracks on this release you think about one certain band right from the start: Saga! The same kind of keyboard and guitar parts can be enjoyed like this band played in those days and even nowadays from time to time. Only the vocals don't come close to the way Michael Sadler sings in this Canadian band. As the album continues, the songs start to move into a more AOR-style of music. Bands like Foreigner, Survivor, Boston and Journey certainly came to mind from time to time but also a typical eighties band like The Fixx and Mr. Mister seem to be an inspiration too. Even a band such as Man At Work could have been an influence as you can hear on Before Leaving or possibly Peter Gabriel? The last track Morning Dawn comes very close to his composition Biko.
That the musical talents of Sami Sarhamaa were already present in the eighties can be heard throughout the entire album. One by Chapter One is without a doubt a fine album. However very original were they not in any way thirty years ago. I wonder how they developed on Two music wise. If you like the bands mentioned above and don't mind hearing music which could have been made by them this is your album to enjoy!
*** Henri Strik (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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