Here's Finnish guitarist Jarno Keskinen, another fellow who's been hiding under a rock, away from the music business, for a number years. Though he appears on demos from 2007 and 2009, the last studio album Keskinen appears on is Virtuosity's 2004 Northern Twilight Symphony. As for his own band, Kenziner, it hasn't been heard from since 1999.
Now the accomplished guitarist ressurects Kenziner, for the new album The Last Horizon, with a new line up including Markku Kuikka (Status Minor, The Ragged Saints, etc) on vocals, Jukka Karinen (Thunderstone, Status Minor, etc.) on the keyboards, Make Lievonen (Embassy of Silence) on the drums, and Jupi Hjelt on the bass. It's a return to form for Keskinen whose guitar technique shows a fondness for the neo-classical style. If you check out his bio, on the band website, you'll discover, also, his fondness for classical music, where he lists his all time favorite pieces of music.
But The Last Horizon is a metal album and, while these are vocal songs, mostly a platform for Keskinen's guitar work. He has all the flash, flair, and creativity of his influences and peers like Yngwie Malmsteem or Alex Rudi Pell. The classical references are unmistakable and influential, with notable leads within Devour the World, End of an Era and, often in tandem with the keyboards, as within No Turning Back.
While his guitar is the focal point, it's wrapped in vocal song arrangements which sometimes hint at prog nuances like within I Am Eternal or the title track. The effect is not overly technical, but I image Keskinen and company could explore this route much deeper in the future. As for the vocals, Kuikka definitely has a metal voice which can be screaming to the point of straining. I'll admit there was many times in many songs where I was happy when he stopped singing. Nevertheless, when he dials it back a little, which is not often, he's better as within the bonus track Perfect Moment. Ultimately, fans of Keskinen and his neo-classical guitar style should welcome him back and enjoy this album.
The Last Horizon marks the ressurection of Kenziner and the the return of founder and guitarist Jarno Keskinen, with his neo-classical style as the focal point.
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