Montage is a band hailing from Helsinki in Finland. Their history starts somewhere in 2000, when guitarist Roni Seppänen, keyboard player Jukka Virtanen and drummer Kim Etelävuori played together at their high school. Later on vocalist Mikko Heino, who has been playing as a duo with Roni, joined Montage. Finally bass player Taneli Tulkki joined to see the present line-up of the band.
The music these musicians play can be described as traditional hard rock, mixed with progressive rock elements. In vocalist Mikko the band has an astonishing voice in their ranks, at one point; like in the song Trapeze, he sounds like a little brother of Andre Matos during his Angra days. During the higher pitched parts of Mammoth Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson comes to mind. All in all I can say Mikko has a distinguished voice perfectly suitable to the genre, mastering the smoother parts as well as the powerful higher spots. Just to make sure, don't compare Montage's music to the two bands I mentioned earlier, this music is completely different. The musical instruments are keeping each other in perfect balance; bass, drum and guitars creating a sound that feels totally natural, no element has been pushed forward in the mix. Therefore the over all sound of this album, due to the length some might call it an EP, is flawless. A strong point is the way delicate hunches of jazz have found their way into Montage's music, like you can witness during Reborn Identity and the afore mentioned Mammoth, also bits of blues can be heard in Misty High. An acoustic interlude; Devil's Whip shows another side of Roni's guitar escapades.
If you listen to the over all sound of Montage's debut album, you might wonder if you have stepped back in time a few decades. The whole album has a sort of psychedelic touch of the seventies, but brought with a modern touch. Retro meets the future as you might call it. One of the highlights of this album is the closing Strawberry Skies, filled with nice guitar solos, a keyboard that soars and impressive vocals, all brought to you with a retrospective touch.
So, is this a perfect album? I guess you have to listen yourself to find out, but for me it is a very positive acquaintance with a band we need to keep in mind as a promise for the future. Are there negative points I need to mention? Sure, the album is too short, with just over thirty minutes of music, I wished the band had extended their opening song to a full composition, instead of a short intro for the album . To finish, Montage has brought us a pretty impressing album, that makes you beg for more. I rest my case.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Astrid de Ronde)
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