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Review: Kotipelto & Liimatainen – Blackoustic (Album)

Two founding fathers of Finnish metal unite to bring you this acoustic masterpiece, check out the details inside…

Artist: Kotipelto & Liimatainen
Release: Blackoustic (Album)
Release Date: Out Now

The two founding fathers of Finnish metal as we know it have united to release this singularly beautiful acoustic cover collection with a few original hits thrown in there for good measure.

Timo Kotipelto (StratovariusCain’s Offering) and Jani Liimatainen (Formerly of Sonata Arctica) are two prestige members of the Finnish music scene, and their unification here can only result in something of total excellence. If this album had been disappointing, there would be riots in the streets of Helsinki. Okay, that may be exaggerating a tiny bit. The point is, there were a lot of expectations for this pairing, and they’ve somehow been outdone.

‘Sleep Well’, a cover from Kotipelto‘s solo album ‘Serenity’ translates effortlessly into the acoustic format, but the really stunning opener is the following ‘Out In The Fields’ previously by Gary Moore and later covered by Sonata Arctica. It becomes a rousing sing-along, and the lyrics really punch at the futility of war. Other covers like ‘Behind Blue Eyes’ and ‘Perfect Strangers’ go on to prove that the duo have really made these songs their own whilst paying a loving homage to the original artists.

The bulk of the album is made up out of Stratovarius covers, which are obviously handled well – ‘Hunting High And Low’ in particular feels like it was written to be performed acoustically. A single original song accompanies the covers, ‘Where My Rainbow Ends’ and it fits seamlessly with the other offerings, just as soft and powerful. Concluding the thirteen assorted covers is an incredible interpretation of the Finnish traditional folk song ‘Karjalan Kunnailla’ (On The Hills of Karjala), feeling appropriate and mournful all at once. For such a simple concept it’s an incredible, raw set of recordings with songs to sing along to, songs to cry to, and songs to laugh to, encapsulating the careers and talents of two visionary musicians. Never has an album felt so complete or been so undoubtedly worth your time.

10/10

Reviewer: Laurence Stark

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