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Paidarion Finlandia Project: Two Worlds Encounter

You may have heard the name Kimmo Pörsti as he is involved in the outstanding progressive rock band The Samurai Of Prog. Another of his endeavours is the Paidarion Finlandia Project led by Pörsti (drums and percussion) and fellow Finnish musician Jan-Olaf Strandberg (fretted and fretless basses). In 2015 the duo contacted a few friends from different areas of Europe (Greece, Romania, UK, Spain and Finland) to get together for a small tour in southern Finland. The band gelled so well together they decided to make an album. Thus Two Worlds Encounter came to be, their third effort overall and their first since Behind the Curtains released in 2011.

Joining the duo are:
Jenny Darren (vocals)
Robert Webb (keyboards, acoustic guitars, vocals)
Kev Moore (vocals)
Otso Pakarinen (keyboards and synthesizers)
Bogáti-Bokor Ákos (electric and acoustic guitars, backing vocals)

Two Worlds Encounter is a delightfully crafted progressive rock album defined by the myriad of influences that each player brings to the mix. That said, the cohesiveness of this album cannot be understated as this sounds like a true band effort. The guitar and keyboard work is of a very high quality throughout and the lead vocals of Jenny Darren are a revelation. She has such a great voice; soulful, full bodied and delicate when the mood requires.

The folk/progressive rock tune "Colin and Wendy" leads off the album in grand fashion. Delicate guitar, keyboards and piano have a subtle and melodic sensibility and the fantastic vocals of Darren help to solidify the sound. The soaring guitar solo offers an early spine tingling moment. The classy "Billy Would Climb" begins with acoustic arpeggios and Denny's poignant vocals. The band's charming mix of acoustic and electric guitar is both catchy and substantive. On "Fragile Bridge" the flute-like keyboards remind me of something Ayreon might come up with and lead to some fantastic synth/guitar interaction. The instrumental "Jungle Fever" has an uplifting vibe and hints of progressive fusion as a tasty synth and guitar solo flexes its prog muscles. The gentle "Yellow" is highlighted by ethereal sounding guitar, some of the most riveting work on the disc. The heavy retro flavour in the classic "Ode To Billy Joe" is another highlight, particularly suited to Denny's bluesy vocal delivery.

The artwork and packaging is also excellent done by the legendary Ed Unitsky. In my opinion this is one instance where purchasing the physical product is essential.

This is an outstanding performance by all musicians involved, a very talented group to say the least. I highly recommend this to anyone interested in melodic progressive music including those appreciative of The Samurai Of Prog.

Track Listing:
1. Colin and Wendy (5:31)
2. Billy Would Climb (4:26)
3. Fragile Bridge (5:00)
4. Jungle Fever (5:36)
5. Yellow (5:31)
6. Ode to Billy Joe (6:12)
7. Cloudberry Sky (1:36)
8. Grand Canyon of My Dreams (5:08)
9. Horsemen to Symphinity (8:28)
10. Why Oh Why (2:57)
11. Hahmo (6:21)

Added: February 17th 2017
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Related Link: Band's Official Site
Hits: 1984
Language: english

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