Kiuas
Winter in June    
~reviewed by Joel Steudler

YEAAAH!!  Woo.  Boy, oh boy.  Kiuas sure knows how to write high energy, tremendously exciting power-prog.  These guys are really spectacularly adept at crafting music that will propel you into action.  Itís practically impossible to sit still while listening to Winter in June, which is an all-too-short teaser MCD.  Rarely will a mini-release get me all fired up to hear the full album, but this one really did the job.  I canít wait.  Yow!

What has me so excited?  Well, Kiuas is comprised of excellent musicians playing dynamic and interesting songs with ferocious abandon.  Vocalist Ilja Jalkanen is the catalyst that ignites the rest of the band.  His delivery is wildly bombastic, sounding like an amped up Zak Stevens (formerly of Savatage and Circle II Circle).  He shows a nice range of intensity, going from smooth balladry to a hair raising gruff bellow.  Just when you think his yell-o-meter has topped out, he kicks it up another notch and slams the musical accelerator to the floor.  This guy has a set of pipes on him, let me tell you.

The rest of the band keeps up admirably with a brand of keyboard laced power-prog that would be standard-issue if not for a slight scandanavian tinge of flavor.  Even without the ethnic additives, the song arrangements would remain well written and catchy, which is more than I can say for most bands.  They hold to a familiar formula, but play with such aplomb that I cannot fault them in the least.  Between Jalkanenís vocals, Mikko Salovaaraís nimble guitar solos, and some nifty bass fills here and there, you wonít find a dull moment on this MCD.

Kiuas sounds more like an adrenaline-pumped relative of Savatage than anything else, but there is a healthy resemblance to modern Germanic powermetal there as well.  Fans of either are strongly advised to seek this tantalizing taste of Kiuasís music out.  It may only last a scant twenty two minutes, but youíll be hard pressed to stop after just one time through.  WHAM!  Iím still excited.  Iím going to listen to it again now, if you donít mind.

Track List:
01.) Winter in June
02.) Warrior Soul
03.) Song for the Fells
04.) Across the Snows

Kiuas is:
Markku Näreneva - drums
Teemu Tuominen - bass
Ilja Jalkanen - vocals
Mikko "Ilmarinen" Salovaara - guitar
Atte Tanskanen - keys

Kiuas Official Site:
http://www.kiuas.net

The End Records (US): 
http://www.theendrecords.com 

Rage Of Achilles Records:
http://www.rageofachilles.com/
 

07/13/04