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Time Traveller: Time Traveller-Chapters V & VI

Time Traveller was launched back in 2008 by Finnish guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Juhani Nisula. The aim was to put together an instrumental trilogy of albums that would focus primarily on exploring time and space by blending his distinct classic/ progressive and psychedelic rock influences all into one big melting pot. While there was roughly a three-year period between the first two albums, the latest and final instalment in the trilogy Chapters V & VI has finally landed after a ten year wait!

Recorded in sessions between 2015-2020 this album pretty much picks up right where the last one left off. The first track “The First Five Steps” blows hot out of the gate and for the next forty minutes it’s time to just sit back and revel in the journey. This song which shifts rhythmically throughout is highlighted by Juhani’s fat sounding bass playing as he lays down a solid foundation along with drummer Mika Lilja. Searing guitar solos trade off with Timo Ristila’s vibrant keyboard work, which completes what is an extraordinarily strong opening composition. From there things segue perfectly into “Sunday Morning Walk” a track that features light percussion underneath Juhani’s precise and melodic soloing early on before eventually shifting gears into some distinctly funkier pastoral passages. No time to catch one’s breath and it’s straight into what I think is arguably the strongest song on this album “The Lord, The Emperor”. Massive sounding Hammond organ swells kick off this epic composition and from there it’s a wild eight minute ride into the psychedelic cosmos. There is an excellent breakdown section almost half way in that sounds reminiscent of the opening to Deep Purple’s “Highway Star”. Then the listener gets a brief surprise when out of nowhere an all too familiar voice from the past (or is it the future?) recites a few lines of spoken word before slipping back into the shadows and allows the musical mayhem that has been gradually building to continue. I won’t give away who this mystery man is, only to say that he was someone who was quite proficient on the guitar and at the same time pretty well versed in the subject of astral travel.

Chapter VIkicks off with that is probably the most straight forward and dare I say even commercial track in “Digging Deep Down”. It also marks the first time Juhani has taken a stab at lead vocals on this Time Traveller project and I have to say he does a damn fine job. Who knew? From there it’s straight into “Following The Light” with it’s rollicking programmed grand piano overtop the funky backbeat. This tack has a distinct jazz feel to it as the intensity gradually builds to a boiling point and Juahani unleashes a series of face melting guitar solos. “Space Gravity” is a brief and trippy little interlude that perfectly sets up the listener for the forthcoming fire that is “No Gravity”. Juani really gets to stretch out here on the guitar and I really like the Jeff Beck / Mahavishnu Orchestra feel in his playing as his fluid and frenetic leads mesh perfectly with some pretty cool keyboard and synth solos. Then before you know it we’ve segued straight into the final track “Earth Above”, a gorgeous and slightly plaintive composition that is highlighted by some really tasty and bluesy sounding guitar work. The mood is dreamy and languid to start but gradually the intensity builds before climaxing with a superb incendiary guitar solo. All in all it’s a perfect way to close the book on the final chapter of the Time Traveller.

Chapters V & VI is a captivating listen from beginning to end and proof that Juhani was saving the best for last. Once again he’s managed to subtly introduce new sounds (pretty much all analog mind you) into the mix much like he’s done on the previous albums and yet managed to do so without messing with what has been a winning formula now for three Time Traveller releases. It’s not like he’s trying to reinvent the wheel sonically, but he’s stayed true to his roots and has been able to come up with something fresh and exciting every time as in my opinion each release has topped the previous one . My only complaint is that at thirty eight minutes, it’s just over too quickly and I didn’t want it to end, but that’s not a bad thing now is it? If this is indeed the end of Time Traveller then I can’t think of a better way to bring the curtain down on what has been nothing less than one hell of a ride.

Track Listing
Chapter V
1) The First Five Steps
2) Sunday Morning Walk
3) The Lord, The Emperor
Chapter VI
4) Diving Deep Down
5) Following The Light
6) Space Radiation
7) No Gravity
8) Earth Above

Added: May 14th 2021
Reviewer: Ryan Sparks
Related Link: Running Moose Productions
Hits: 707
Language: english

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