Not the greatest thing to come out of Finland recently...
If you know your Finnish metal then you’d probably say that Sky of Forever are collectively famous enough in their homeland to qualify for the title of Supergroup. Elsewhere, they probably don’t mean that much as individual names (Rolf Pilve’s tenure as drummer with Stratovarius being probably the most notable gig any of these guys have performed on the international stage), and unfortunately I can’t see that fact changing after the release of this self-titled album.
The press release that accompanies the album promises a sound in which the likes of HIM, Bon Jovi and Europe are mixed but sadly, final track Under Everlasting Sun aside, which could easily have come from the pen of Joey Tempest, I don’t hear much of any of those bands coming through here.
The biggest problem I have overall with the band is the vocal performance of Lauri Hannola; He put the band together and, I assume wrote all the material but his voice – an at times pleasant, though always slightly weak-sounding tenor – just isn’t big enough to carry the grandeur and portent the music is so obviously meant to deliver. Hence the quiet acoustic ballad that finishes the record, the afore-mentioned Under Everlasting Sun finds him in his happy place, unmolested by bombast or lightly cheap production values.
Opening track Carry On (which features a very good guest solo from former Kiss man Bruce Kulick) is the album in microcosm: Slightly wimpy-sounding AOR a la Swedes Street Talk (remember them?), all polite riffs and a chorus that, while serviceable, cries out for big, multi layered backing vocals to prop up Hannola but which don’t quite deliver. There is promise here, obviously, but an awful lot of work is needed in the areas in which the band are currently found lacking.
One of These Days also features a great solo, this time from the band’s Roni Seppänen, but again the vocals on the chorus are a let down. Wild Heart, which sounds like madcap Swedes Twilight Force might have had a hand in its writing, is let down horribly on the chorus despite a stirring orchestral arrangement.
I could go on, but essentially the story remains the same for each of the songs here. It’s a shame, because the songwriting at times is very good indeed, but I can’t in all honesty recommend this to anyone.