In September 2014 I rewarded First Light (see review) by Liquid Wolf with my first five stars rating ever. Liquid Wolf is a heavy prog rock project from Finland making music in the vein of Opeth. The genius behind the band is multi-instrumentalist Sami Sarhamaa, who plays guitar, bass, drums and keyboards. You may know Sarhamaa from a couple of other band projects like Kataya, PS and Flipside.
Kudos, originally called K4, later on K9 and KuDoS but finally Kudos are a spin-off from Kataya, a band in which Matti Kervinen and Sarhamaa formed the nucleus. In order to perform their songs live on stage they were supported by Samu Wuori (guitar, keyboards), Tomi Laaksonen (drums), and Juha Aronen (bass). After their second album Voyager (2010), the live band was completed with Pauli Päiviö (keyboards). After Kataya disbanded, the live group − minus Kervinen and Aronen − felt that there were still reasons to continue. So, guitarist Jaakko Kiikeri and bassist Samu Wuori joined the group. They started rehearsals in January 2011 by taking the Kataya song Mindfrost apart.
Their first aim was just to rearrange this piece, but in the end there was nothing left of the original. They renamed the final version to From The Ground Up which became the opening song of this live album Live At Rekolan Kino. The rest of the set consists of new written songs except for Putkivaara, a composition by Sarhamaa recorded for Kataya's debut Canto Obscura (2008) and Kindest Fool, a leftover from Scapes & Tracks (2009), a solo album by Sarhamaa which he recorded under the moniker of Sam Marsala.
This live album, recorded on the 27th of august 2011 and released in November 2013, appeared to be the swansong of the band, but luckily it was an amazing good gig. It resulted in a first class melodic, mid-tempo, guitar oriented and instrumental prog album with touches from Pink Floyd, Genesis, Camel and Neil Schon. Within a couple of months Sami Sarhamaa surprised me twice with a high class prog rock album!
**** Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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