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Montage: Montage

Montage is a relatively new progressive hard rock group that hails from Finland's capital city, Helsinki. Their music is described as a mixture of traditional hard rock and the hazy sounds of folk, early prog rock and the band's main influences are The Doors, Rush, Caravan, Mastodon and Black Mountain. Almost all of the instrumental parts are written by guitarist Roni Seppänen and then arranged by the whole group. The 60s vibe is present throughout and songs such as "Misty High" show a fair degree of commercial acumen whilst "Mammoth" has a smooth guitar solo which Carlos Santana would have been proud of before becoming something heavier altogether. Personally I find the vocals a tad whiny and high pitched but beyond that this is a highly listenable album.

Track Listing:
  1. Other Voices (Introduction)
  2. Trapeze
  3. Misty High
  4. Mammoth
  5. Reborn Identity
  6. Shine
  7. Devil's Whip
  8. Strawberry Skies

Added: July 3rd 2014
Reviewer: Simon Bray
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1699
Language: english

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Montage: Montage
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-07-03 22:33:54
My Score:

Finnish hard rock band Montage formed in 2011 but their roots go back to the early 2000s. On their self-titled debut the players are Mikko Heino (vocals), Roni Seppänen (guitar, backing vocals), Jukka Virtanen (keyboards, backing vocals), Taneli Tulkki (bass) and Kim Etelävuori (drums, backing vocals).

The press release cites influences like The Doors, Rush, Black Mountain and Mastodon and I do hear bits that remind me of those bands. There is a fuzzy guitar tone at times that takes me back to the '70s so there is a definite retro vibe coursing through this music.

There are eight tracks on offer but I have to say this is a short album, especially by today's standards with a running time of only thirty-one minutes. The album opens with the short instrumental "Other Voices", a nice enough song with repeated arpeggio guitar carrying a somber tone. The up-tempo "Trapeze" is next with razor sharp guitar riffs that give the tune an edgier sound. I really like the background vocals but the lead vocals are somewhat hard to hear. Heino has a higher pitched voice that seems to get lost in the guitar riffs. "Misty High" has more heavy riffs, this time with a fuzzier tone and the background vocals make this one quite catchy. "Mammoth" has an interesting chord progression and lighter jazzier sections to lighten up the heaviness in the main riff. The clean jazz flavoured guitar solo is pretty cool. The retro vibe continues with "Reborn Identity". This one starts with a jazzy feel before heavier riffs unfold. The jazzy keys have a Doors influence, that dreamy quality the late Ray Manzarek was famous for. Another short instrumental is "Devil's Whip", this time with an acoustic bent as the guitar here is very skillfully played. The last song "Strawberry Skies" is the longest tune and also the most progressive. Varying tempos, dreamy atmospheric keyboards, crunchy riffs and some soaring guitar work is what you'll hear with the occasional nod to Rush and Pink Floyd.

Montage has made a solid debut album filled with proggy hard rock and solid musicianship. Hopefully next time the band will record a full album's worth of material as they do show plenty of promise.

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