KENZINER – PHOENIX (Pure Steel Records / Soulfood)

Review by Stefan: On the 26th. June 2020 the Finnish quintet Kenziner (formed in 1994) released their fourth studio album “Phoenix”, a 10-track masterpiece to be proud of. Progressive Power Metal made its appearance in the 90s, at one point we were literally inundated with new bands, of which many of them came from Italy. Since their classic albums “Timescape” (1998) and The Prophecies (1999) these guys has been guaranteeing Neo-Classical/Melodic/Progressive Power Metal, presented at a very high level. Each formation did its utmost to conquer a place in this busy and much discussed gem, but as always, only the most talented survived the scene. Masterbrain Jarno Keskinen (guitars) had to involve a new vocalist named Peter ‘Zinny’ Zalesky for the records of their third effort “The Last Horizon”, launched back in 2014, that’s 15 years after their previous album ! In any case, I am very pleased with the fact that this fine band is still among us for serving up high quality Metal music.

We still remain under the spell of the annoying Virus Covid-19, which also affects our favorite style of music, Metal ! 2020 will forever remain in our memories as the most annoying year with so many uncertainties, almost unbearable and hopefully a vaccine will come soon so that we can resume normal life. Despite bizarre times, I am very happy to share my thoughts with you about one of the best bands from Finland, Kenziner !

This new album brings 10 songs spread over a time span of 42 minutes. The way the compositions were created is superb and the recording quality does not speak in riddles, the production is phenomenally good ! To get straight to the point, “Phoenix” is a worldly record that will not only appeal to European Metal lovers, also fans of the US ProgMetal type of music will enjoy this album. The singer delivers a top performance with his well-understood, solid and crystal clear voice. Band leader and top notch guitarist Jarno Keskinen is for me one of the best guitarists in Europe and far beyond, technically and very melodic he conjures up magical sounds from his guitar… heavenly beautiful ! The keyboards are also dominantly present, the question if they fit in the whole I find superfluous, be sure that the key-man sacrifices us a top achievement. Then we also get the good cooperation between the bass player and drummer who showcase their profession in a well-balanced way. Every musician mapped out, this is without any doubt a top level formation !

‘Curse of the Pharaoh’ leaves its mark as a first class Hard Rock/Metal song with influences from Rainbow, Queensrÿche among others. Also worth to check out are the somewhat mid-tempo, solid Power Metal songs ‘Tears Of Destiny’ and ‘Phoenix Rising’. Hell no I won’t forget to mention the opener ‘Eye Of Horus’ also, one of the highlights to me ! Actually each song has its own ‘strong’ character with similarities of Adagio, Symphony X, Balance Of Power, Lanfear, Darkology, Conception to name but a few. ‘The Mirror’ strikes me down with its genius guitar riffing and melodic shred soloing parts surrounded by killer bass and drums lines, striking keyboard actions and a phenomenal vocals… another standout to my point. Last one entitled ‘The Miracle’ is a celestial Metal ballad, a tender song where especially the singer and the incredibly good guitar sounds of Jarne are the main prize.

So this remarkably good album is concluded in a quiet and easy way, something I have absolutely no problems with. It feels good and all the guys in Kenziner know how to convince me by their credibility. The passion with which every member of the band plays reaches high standards. I think when you start working on an album with such an attitude, a real good result is not far away.

If you are looking for a band that only has first class musicians on board and then delivers a genius album where both Euro Power Metal fans and US ProgMetal maniacs can have an enjoyable time, in that case I have the latest album from Kenziner on offer right now. Order “Phoenix” as you like, if you do I’m sure you won’t regret it. Kenziner online: / Jarno Keskinen Facebook

My rating: 92/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)