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Warmen: Japanese Hospitality

Warmen: Japanese Hospitality

Melodic Heavy Metal
Rating: 4.0/5.0

We haven't heard from Warmen, the solo project of Children of Bodom keyboardist Janne Warman, since 2005's Accept The Fact. With this year's Japanese Hospitality Warman's approach is not wholly different than the past but definitely more strange. With a broad strokes of numerous musical brushes, Warman and company have created an eclectic sonic canvas of heavy metal ranging the melodic to power to progressive to modern , all with a suspicious pop feel.

Japanese Hospitality contains some usual characteristics including a boatload of guest stars, especially on vocals, and Janne Warman's clever keyboard work (which is often dueling with the lead guitar). The disc begins unconventionally with the title track, a quite dynamic and entertaining instrumental of power and prog metal. (The later Switcharoo expresses the same vision.) This is followed by several pieces that blur distinctions between melodic hard rock and metal including Eye of the Storm, Goodbye, My Fallen Angel, and Don't Bring Her Here. All these numbers have an inherently catchy pop feel which may only be noticeable with repeated listenings. Another genre blurring piece is High Heels on Cobblestone which dovetails modern melodic death metal with a touch of power metal and pop. Different, but enjoyable.

Additionally, Warmen do several covers: Janet Jackson's Black Cat, Journey's Separate Ways, and, for the Japanese bonus track, Roxette's Fading Like a Flower. Here's where things get a little weird, but expected on this unusual album. Knowing little of Black Cat and caring less about anything that any Jackson does, Warmen's interpretation delivers a unexpected punch of (danceable! ouch!) metal pop that will sure to be hit for this work. Except for the heavier touch and Pasi Rantanen's (Thunderstone) raspier vocals, Separate Ways is indistinguishable from the original and retains the breathless passion.

Warmen's Japanese Hospitality is a truly eclectic bundle of music from COB keyboardist Janne Warman and company. Diverse and genre crossing, Japanese Hospitality mixes an assortment of melodic, prog, and modern metal with Janet Jackson, Journey, and Roxette for an eccentric collection of tunes. Strangely recommended!

In Short

Warmen's Japanese Hospitality is a truly eclectic bundle of music from COB keyboardist Janne Warman and company. Diverse and genre crossing, Japanese Hospitality mixes an assortment of melodic, prog, and modern metal with Janet Jackson, Journey, and Roxette for an eccentric collection of tunes.

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