Lähtö Matkalle (Green Vinyl)
Finnforest was (in my opinion) the best progressive band from Finland. The band consisted of the Tegelman Brothers - Pekka (guitar/bass) and Jussi (drums), and Jukka Rissanen (keyboards). All instrumental - they went through subtle stylistic changes over thei course of their three albums. The first album is the rockiest although there is a strong fusion bent as well. Think Camel crossed with Mahavishnu Orchestra. Serious hi-speed exchanges of soloing but also some beautiful laid back serenity. Lahto Matkalle finds the band becoming a quartet with the addition of bassist Jarmo Hiekkala and also the great Jukka Linkola is now the keyboardist. The music still has that incredible fire and chops from hell soloing but there is more of a refinement to the overall sound. It moves a bit into ECM territory - more fusion less rock - more Mahavishnu and less Camel - but it still slams hard. Pekka Tegelman wrote the material for the first two albums so you can hear the continuity between the two. For Demonnights there was a changeover in sound. Jussi Tegelman took over most of the writing and the lineup changed quite a bit with other musicians being brought into the mix. The result is still quite excellent but different than the first two. Its clearly the most jazz oriented. Lots of similarities to Weather Report. It gets knocked because it isn't fire and brimstone like the others but its good in its own right. While we reissued the first two Finnforest album on CD many years ago, this is the first time Demonnights gets any kind of a reissue. Monumental albums all worthy of your collection.
"Luckily Finnforest wasn’t one of those Finnish progressive rock acts that only recorded one album and vanished. They became a household name for the Love Records label instead – and just one year after the release of their self-titled debut continued with Lähtö Matkalle. Pekka Tegelman has always been an enthusiastic reader and the album title was inspired by Toivo Pekkanen’s poem book by the same name. Tegelman read the book when he was a teenager and the title got stuck in his head.
The lineup had expanded from the more stripped-down debut’s trio into a quintet. Jukka Rissanen wasn’t in the group anymore as he was studying in Hungary, but he was replaced by two members: Pertti Pokki and Jukka Linkola. One of the founding members, Jarmo Hiekkala, returned to the band to play the bass. Linkola lived in Helsinki at the time so he wasn’t a regular member of the group – more like a guest star. “Linkola was a great addition to the lineup and helped a lot in making of the album”, says Jussi Tegelman.
The full lineup looked like this: Pekka Tegelman (electric guitars), Jussi Tegelman (drums, congas, timpani, synthesizer), Pertti Pokki (synthesizer), Jarmo Hiekkala (electric bass, fuzz bass), Jukka Linkola (electric piano, grand piano, synthesizer, organ) plus a Swedish string section conducted by the late (and one of the founding members of Love Records) Otto Donner.
The Svart reissue of this Finnish prog rock classic comes with unseen photos and new liner notes by Arttu Seppänen."