Review: Joviac “Here and Now” [Inverse Records]

Review: Joviac “Here and Now” [Inverse Records]

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The young Finnish band from Tampere Joviac has released its second full-length album “Here And Now” via Concorde Music Company (from parent label Inverse), and again it is solid melodic progressive metal. But this time on a more emotional and profound level, so the music of Joviac became even more sincere and comprehensible.

Progressive metal is the kind of musical style, which welcomes all kind of innovations and experimentations, and though Joviac didn’t take this advice completely, there are plenty of various musical elements, which accordingly exclude the boredom and monotonousness. Mostly the album is performed in mid-tempo, but there are two ballads (“Crossfire” and “Fade Into The Light”) and some increasing pace in the spirit of rock ’n’ roll with a slight art rock influence and a dirty grunge sound (“Black Mirror”). This release is incredibly positive and light, but with some philosophical seriousness, as well as joyous spirit of entertainment. The album is sufficiently modern and relaxed, but the typical Scandinavian melancholy makes “Here And Now” more complex and mature.

The album was recorded as trio (apart from two guest guitarists), so all the variability goes within a band, whose leader is a singer and guitar player Viljami Jupiter Wenttola. Apart from the progressive metal there is a big impact of heavy metal, providing the music with a sort of simplification. The same can be applied to the typical anthem-like rhythm (like in the song “Here And now”). The main part is given to rhythm guitar, which is responsible for the creation of melodies, level of complexity and speed. The most brilliant solo parts belong to the songs “Black Mirror” and “Here And Now” with guest guitarists. But on the song “Decay” the bass-guitar of Antti Varjanne leads the song with a perfect accompaniment of drums.

After the long instrumental passages during the songs there’s usually a change of mood with more dramatic singing, Viljami’s voice isn’t too prominent, but it harmonically fits in this peaceful and gentle music. The synthesizers (recorded also by Viljami) are almost invisible, but slightly soften the sound of classical metal instruments. The last two songs are the slowest and more thoughtful (“Crossfire” in the manner of American ballads, but “Fade Into The Light” more nostalgic and positive). The voice isn’t the main instrument here (which is quintessential for the progressive rock genre) though “Here And Now” has only one instrumental track “Intro”. So the principal goal lies on technicality of musicians and spiritual parts of melodies.

Joviac raise the issues of important social themes in the lyrics, which lack desperation or gloom, on the contrary, the lyrics show the thirst for light and overcoming of all the problems through the self-knowledge. The cover art complements the lyrical themes with a key as a symbol of mysteriousness and something irresistible. By the standards of progressive metal, Joviac is a young band, but ambitious and with its own visions and creative mind, and that’s why the music of these Finns is so open-minded and candid.

Release date: April 3, 2020

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