Progeland basically started as a one man project. Petri “Lemmy” Lindström, who plays bass and other various instruments wanted to play progressive music with a good old classic rock foundation. Along the way, the band started to develop and new members were added and replaced, until a solid line-up was set. Besides the aforementioned Petri, Progeland nowadays consists of vocalist Tomi Murtomäki, guitarist Matias Kangasniemi, keyboard player Juha Kaski and drummer Pasi Manninen.
According to Petri's words, the bands intention was to fuse good old classic rock with progressive rock. I guess he succeeded in his intentions; Gate To Fulfilled Fantasies has neo- progressive elements with some hints of a folk rock, Jethro Tull style. But the strongest reference of Progeland is indeed the good old classic rock. As an influence it seems to be obvious a band like Uriah Heep definitely has left their mark on Progeland's music. Not in the way the compositions build, but in more the prominent use of the Hammond organ and the thin guitar sound that reminds me of the seventies super band, that still tours the world as we speak.
So, with this information, the traditional classic rock fan should be happy to have found something to his likings. But, ...Yes, there always is a “but”, Progeland also has a weak spot. Or better; two weaker spots that, to me are crucial for a positive review. First of all, the compositions are nice. And to be honest; nice sucks, the songs are mediocre and I have already forgotten them before the song has ended. Nevertheless the musical input of the guitars and keyboards are stunning, but not enough to lift up the music to an acceptable level. The other “but” regards vocalist Tomi's butt. Better, his mouth; the way he uses his voice does not really attract me. Tomi has a sort of a tremble in his singing, which annoys me and every time I restart the album for a new session it gets worse.
Gate To Fulfilled Fantasies is a concept album that could find its way to aficionados of a classic rock Uriah Heep style, but also people who like to listen to (neo) progressive rock conceptual albums. For me personal; it could have been an appropriate album, but the vocals are the ones that take away from my pleasure, every time I listen to the album.
**+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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