Sunday, 5 December 2010

CD Review: Unknown Soldier, by Warmen (2000)

On his first solo album release (released in North America in 2005), Children Of Bodom's keyboardist Antti Warman demonstrates both the potential and limits of keyboards-dominated, classical-inspired, mostly-instrumental metal.

Working with a long list of collaborators, Warman achieves great heights on well-constructed tracks like The Evil That Warmen Do, Warcry Of Salieri and Into The Oblivion. Building from simple, catchy melodies into complex arrangements with effective variations, Warmen mix dizzying speed with amped-up power to great effect.

Less effective are the tracks with guest vocalist Kimberly Goss. Devil's Mistress and Fire Within wander through painful cliche territory and are conclusive proof that Warmen need to stick with what they know best, and that excludes vocals.

There are arguments to be made about the value of mostly instrumental metal music, and parts of Unknown Soldier do present themselves as more ideal for soundtracks than centre-stage. Instrumentals also do work better as stand-alone, occasional tracks, rather than chained together onto an album.

But if there are "too many notes" on Unknown Soldier, as the album itself tells us using an extract from Monty Python's Spamalot, most of them enjoyably hit their target.


Janne Warman - Keyboards
Sami Virtanen - Guitars
Mirka Rantanen - Drums

Other Musicians:

Antti Warman - Guitars
Pekka Palmu - Guitars
Roope Laivala - Guitar
Lauri Porra - Bass
Jari Kainulainen - Bass
Kimberly Goss - Vocals

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Introduction - n/a
2. The Evil That Warmen Do - 10
3. Devil's Mistress - 6
4. Hopeless Optimism - 8
5. Unknown Soldier - 8
6. Fire Within - 6
7. Warcry Of Salieri - 9
8. Into The Oblivion - 10
9. Piano Intro To - 6
10. Treasure Within - 8
11. Soldiers Of Fortune - 7

Average: 7.80

Produced by J. Witman. Recorded by S. Virtanen and J. Witman.
Mixed by M. Karmila. Mastered by M. Jussila.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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