We start off with a “Warm Welcome”. Gentle. Easy. Peaceful.
Finnish guitar extraordinaire Elmo Karjalainen is going to take you on a journey simply with the tips of his fingers and the feelings that come out of them.
For instrumental albums, it’s pretty much essential that you be diverse and that you take the listener on an adventure because when there’s no vocals to distract you from the actual music… something has to pigue your interest. Thankfully, Elmo does just that.
You get your headbanging guitar hero anthems in “How Can Less Be More”, “The Colour of Greed”, “A Fertile Discussion”, “The Grassy Gnoll”, “Age of Heroes”, “A Meeting of the Gods (And This Guy)”, “Falling for Falafels”, and “Lost in a Foreign Scale”. The title track is probably the heaviest of the bunch. A mid-tempo jam with a dirty slow riff over it. The kinda riff to make your brutal face to. You know what I’m talking about. While there’s plenty of tasty shred to go around… truthfully, I enjoy the otherside of things on here more. Elmo shines the most when he’s letting his inner David Gilmour/Mikael Akerfeldt out at.
“Chikken Noodul”, “Blue Eyes”, “Sunset”, “Three Days of Peace”, “Limiting Rationality”, and “Breathe”, plus the album opener mentioned at the start are all among my favorites. “Limiting Rationality” is a little bit more Journey-ish. It’s got that “Lovin’ Touchin’ Squeezin'” bluesy groove going on, and who doesn’t love that? “Sunset” is a great song for me to listen to, personally, because I currently live right on Lake Erie and the view from my desk looks right out at it. So a song like this is exactly what I like to hear when the sunrise, or sunset (hehehe), is happening. Finger magic. I’ll admit to “Blue Eyes” being my most favorite track on the album. I wonder what Elmo is thinking as he hits every individual note of these emotional solos. Really though.
Not everyone is a fan of just instrumental music, which is unfortunate. I understand the desire of wanting to hear a voice and have words to remember and sing to and all that good stuff. I get it. Unless it’s really just not your thing, don’t let yourself miss out on incredible music – Where the music just does all the talking. Makes you think. Takes you places mentally and emotionally. There’s a place for music of all kinds. Sometimes though, you just need to chill, and let someone like Elmo Karjalainen do the talking for you. He can, and he will.
You can listen to the album on Spotify, or you can purchase it at this link: https://elmojk.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-heroes
Reviewed by Marcus Miller