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Elias Viljanen: Taking the Lead | FESTIVALPHOTO

Elias Viljanen: Taking the Lead




SONATA ARCTICA guitarist Elias Viljanen debuted as a solo artist with “Taking the Lead” back in 2002. An unknown at the time, Elias has had a lot of success with his main band, but a a solo artist he allegedly attracted the interest of the legendary STEVE VAI and chartered in the top ten rank of bestseller chart. This re-release is expanded with an unreleased seven track live DVD that has not been previously available.

The short opener “Evoke the Spirit” feels hampered due to its 35 seconds duration. “Evil Rock” is a nicely fast paced piece, a display of a sensitive player who aims for the arena style. I´d say that Elias surprises me on several occasions, but never as much as in “Axemaster”, an impressive track that shows his sensitive playing at its best. The more sensitive the better is a way to sum up the album. Otherwise I feel that Elias is very closely associated as part of the anonymous machine of SONATA ARCTICA, and quite unknown as a solo artist. He may well be a fast guitarist, but he never shines in the fastest movements. He includes one boogie track, the uninteresting “Hyper Boogie”, a feat that many have done before him, and unfortunately it will happen again. Fans of SONATA ARCTICA will like this one, but I wonder how many that will compare Elias to the greats of the genre? The material is a bit too uneven, and similar, even interchangeable at times. But it is not a bad solo debut, it´s perfectly alright. The third solo effort was released by Spinefarm in 2009 but I wonder if he´s not fully focused on SONATA ARCTICA by now?

Track List
Evoke the Spirit
Evil Rock
The Axemaster
I Go Solo
Northern Breeze
Beyond Twilight
Taking the Lead
A Dream Come True
Hyper Boogie
Written in Stars
Passion for Glory
Speed of the Devil

Plus DVD

Skribent: Mikael Johansson
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