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On disc: Grönholm

Eyewitness Of Life - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars
Silent Out Loud - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Silent Out Loud

Silent Out Loud
(Lion Music - 2011)

Grönholm are back with Silent Out Loud, their debut Eyewitness Of Life was released about a year ago, so Mika Grönholm and his mates worked fast to present the follow up.

They open with the catchy Cross Of Mind, a progressive metal tune with a great hookline.

Distorted Eyes is based on a heavy riff, a straight-forward rocker with expressive vocals by Markku Kuikka, but then they surprise with a melodic keyboard-laden passage where they ease off a bit. Then they melt together the two sounds and add a catchy melody line.

A slow heavy rocker is Under My Star, a bit doomy... and for a split second they show reminiscences to Heaven & Hell. The song is a kind of doomy melodic metal tune. Vanity is another slow heavy tune, this time with a melancholy edge.

The harmony vocals on Out From The Nest remind me a bit of Supertramp... The song is more a melodic rock tune then a heavy rocker and so shows a different facet of Grönholm.

They speed up for Race Is On which opens with a memorable riff, but when Markku Kuikka joins in becomes softer, more melodic. For me one of the best tracks at Silent Out Loud, but it's just about personal preferences.

With Giant Step you get an instrumental where Mika Grönholm shows off his skills, but without heading into sonic ego trips. Personally I miss vocals, but that's just me. So personally I'm happy when Markku joins in for Set The Stones, a balladesque tune with acoustic guitar. Dawn Of A Dream is an interlude with acoustic guitar, but this time I don't miss the vocals. The closer Away is bringing back the band members, but it's still a slow, melodic tune which fits well to the acoustic stuff.

The variety of sounds is bigger this time, but it's almost like a split-album. It shows two sides of Grönholm, but that won't please everybody. I think they should make up their mind which way to go. And perhaps consider running two bands / projects to have a place for both their musical sides.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Eyewitness Of Life

Eyewitness Of Life
(Lion Music - 2010)

The Finnish trio Grönholm is presenting Eyewitness Of Life, the band behind Mika Grönholm is Status Minor singer Markku Kuikka and drummer Tom Rask.
After the intro One Minute Of Reality they head into Awaited, a heavy riff-based tune with a modern touch due to the electro gothic elements. With Fate & Belief Grönholm offers a progressive melodic rock track. Powerful, balladesque and with an symphonic edge, speed changes and catchy vocals complete the mix. But it's Markku Kuikka's vocals which ennoble this one. And with Life Is they present a heavy rocker which is based in the 70's rock with a doomy touch. But the trio spice up the tone with some modern elements. Meet The Maker takes you onto a sonic journey! There are heavy riffs á la NDH, there are Oriental influences, shredding passages, progressive elements and even some jazzy rock parts. An instrumental roller coaster ride! Markku Kuikka is back with You And Me, a balladesque rocker. With Misfortune-teller they present a balladesque song which seems to be influenced by Scandinavian melodic metal... After Learn To Crawl they speed up again and offer the title track - a dark, heavy tune with a memorable vocal line. A catchy progressive rocker which offers Oriental sounds towards the end. The closer is called Place For Freedom, a prog metal instrumental. They enrich their prog metal track with shredding, symphonic elements and melodic passages. Tempi changes keep the listeners interest alive.
In a way Place For Freedom sums up the music of Grönholm, but it's just one of two instrumentals. And personally I think vocals would have made the song stronger... Anyway, check out the closer and Fate & Belief to get an idea about Grönholm and their album Eyewitness Of Life.

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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