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Warmen - 'Japanese Hospitality' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/79/6b/80/659_warmenjapanesehospitality_1285786999.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 29, 2010    
 
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If breathtaking musicianship and galloping rock tracks are your thing, then this is another leap forward in Finland's bid for world domination.

If you didn’t know, Warmen is actually Children Of Bodom keyboard player Janne Warman and his Finnish band, and ‘Japanese Hospitality’ is their fourth album this decade. The Warman/Warmen contradiction is easily explained by the fact that his brother Antti Warman is the guitarist in the band, thus “men” rather than “man”, even though their real name is Wirman! Confused? I am!

Children Of Bodom are absolutely awesome musicians, of that there can be no doubt, and to a certain extent I’ve enjoyed every one of their albums – but that’s despite Alexi Laiho’s voice not because of it, so it stands to reason that I enjoy the melodic Warmen more. This is probably Warmen’s most aggressive album but it’s still quite a distance away from COB territory, so what you get is ten tracks including two instrumentals, with the other eight songs split between five different vocalists.

With a rhythm section of Thunderstone’s drummer Mirka Rantanen and For The Imperium bassist Jyri Helko providing the foundations, some of Warmen’s music is quite frantic, but no less musical for that. The title track is a neo-classical romp where everyone gets their chance to shine and ‘Switcharoo’ is even busier, being highly skilled ensemble playing at speeds from fast to blur, but the widdle is laced with melody that just makes you burst out into a broad smile. The guitar and keyboard solos are like those old Shrapnel Records instrumental albums played at the wrong speed, but it’s all so fluid and melodic that the speed becomes unimportant. Well, that’s tracks one and seven wrapped up, what else do we have?

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Song-wise it runs the gamut from European power metal with Stratovarius’ Timo Kotipelto on vocals (‘Eye Of The Storm’) to female fronted melodic metal with big pop hooks (‘Don’t Bring Her Here’) to a virtual COB track with Alexi Laiho’s strangled screech (‘High Heels On Cobble Stone’). The female singer is COB alumni Jonna Kosonen, and although she sounds great on ‘Don’t Bring Her Here’ she doesn’t sound quite as good on ‘Goodbye’, but the song is saved by the superb solos and dynamic riffs. Thunderstone’s Pasi Rantanen lends his lungs to one of the best examples of melodic metal, ‘My Fallen Angel’, whilst Marko Vaara – a new name to me –is quite impressive on ‘Unconditional Confession’, which adds a necessary change of pace with it’s slow and moody sections but still speeds up every now and then.

The other two tracks are cover versions, and as it’s not unusual to hear COB cover some pretty melodic stuff (‘The Final Countdown’ for instance!), it’s therefore no surprise to hear Warmen do an excellent version of Journey’s ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)’, which keeps the interest due to some subtle changes to the guitar and keyboard parts and Pasi Rantanen’s vocals. What is surprising is the version of Janet Jackson’s ‘Black Cat’ with Jonna Kosonen on vocals – this version totally kicks ass and Jonna’s multi-tracked vocals are a great idea.

I’m not usually a fan of albums with multiple vocalists because you always prefer one of them and wish they’d sung the whole album, but the Warman brothers are smart cookies and the different tones on ‘Japanese Hospitality’ make for an interesting mix. If breathtaking musicianship and galloping rock tracks are your thing, then this is another leap forward in Finland’s bid for world domination.

Phil Ashcroft

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