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Arild, Finn: Testament

Finn Arild is a multi-instrumentalist who was born in New Zealand but grew up in Norway. He learned to play the guitar at the age of six and has not looked back since. His first album Serendipity was released in 2005. After a five year wait and three years in the making his new album Testament is an excellent start to 2011.

While Finn's music is influenced by classic '70s progressive bands like Pink Floyd and Genesis, as well as more recent groups like IQ and Pendragon, he does manage to inject a style of his own into these twelve songs. The music on Testament is in the vein of pop flavoured art rock with elements of neo, classic prog and symphonic rock. It is a pretty laid back listen and never gets very heavy and that is okay. This is not music to rock out to and some of the melodies found along the way are absolutely gorgeous. Arild is an accomplished musician as well as a fine vocalist. He has a pleasing, melodic voice that suits this style of music to a tee. His guitar playing is also very good; very tasteful and inspired with more than a touch of class. That said, Arild does have a little help from his friends and is joined by Mikael Wikman (drums), Reider Wiik (piano) and Elin Aasheim (background vocals).

The album begins with the sixteen minute epic "Genesis". Soft and heavier instrumental sections with lovely guitar relate to a classic Genesis sound. Parts also reminded me of The Flower Kings and IQ and the superb melodies are always present.

With the dreamy "Water", acoustic and electric guitar create pretty textures and the wistful keyboards adds to the gently flowing nature of the song. The pop flavoured art rock of "All Right" has a 10cc/Beatles vibe whereas the synthesized rhythms and cool synth lines in "Ride" have a distinctive Alan Parson's Project feel.

Arild's folky side becomes apparent in the short acoustically driven "Intermission" as well as in "Carnival", where soaring vocals and tasteful acoustic guitar interludes reminded me of the medieval offerings of Blackmore's Night.

The album ends with "Nemesis", a Genesis inspired slice of melodic progressive rock.

Finn Arild has come out with a real gem in Testament. It is a finely crafted album filled with great melodies and fine musicianship. If melodic art rock/pop is what you seek you can do no wrong with Testament. It is an excellent album and one that I highly recommend. Enjoy…

Track Listing:
1. Genesis (16:43)
2. Water (3:57)
3. All Right (3:40)
4. Inside (3:54)
5. Alive (3:45)
6. Intermission (1:51)
7. Ride (4:35)
8. Carnival (5:06)
9. Excess (4:56)
10. Robin (5:19)
11. Liasons (3:04)
12. Nemesis (8:06)

Added: April 18th 2011
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Artist's Official Site
Hits: 3427
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Arild, Finn: Testament
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-12-26 09:33:41
My Score:

The opening track on Finn Arild's second album Testament carries the title Genesis, which is actually a good starting point for where this excellent, restrained progressive rock album is coming from. Genesis, Transatlantic, touches of Yes and the odd hint of Pallas covers most of what is going on here, but if that all sounds a little too obvious and done before, then fear not. The clever arrangements, and bright production, which are all courtesy of Arild, ensure that this is an album that immediately whisks you into its spacious, but densely packed songs. Arild not only handles production, he also provides vocals (think somewhere between Neal Morse, Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) and John Mitchell (It Bites)), guitars, keyboards, synths and e-bow and he is not found to be wanting in any department. The songs are clever, interesting and most importantly they stand up to repeated listens and in fact as the twists, turns, time changes and mood swings become more familiar, so they reveal further little treats and nuances. Often the keyboards and piano (the latter provided by Arild's life-long friend Reider Wilk) create the real framework for the less obvious guitar flourishes, but what that really means is that when a stinging guitar solo, or a raging riff glowers into view, the effect is even more startling. Picking out highlights is a futile task, as in truth the standard never drops below impressive and captivating and the biggest compliment I can pay this excellent album is that even clocking in around the hour mark, I have often found myself reaching for the play button as soon it the last track finishes. If classy seventies inspired prog is your thing then this is an album that needs your attention.

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