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HARDWARES

KOTIPELTO AND LIIMATAINEN

Blackoustic

(EarMusic)

Reviewed by : Mark Gromen
Rating : 7.5

So what do Finnish rock stars do between albums and tours? Why, hang out in bars and play a bunch of their songs acoustically. So began the partnership between STRATOVARIUS singer Timo Kotipelto and former SONATA ARCTICA guitarist Jani Liimatainen, who previously paired up in CAIN’s OFFERING, ultimately leading to this compilation of cover tunes. Originally self-financed and sold only at gigs, EarMusic has since picked it up for international release. Make no mistake, these are not just ballads. In fact, most are given the unplugged treatment for the first time. Amongst the 14 selections are four STRATOVARIUS numbers, a trio from the singer’s solo material, one SONATA track (‘My Selene’) and a slower, duet penned by Jani; ‘Where My Rainbow Ends’, the lone original of the bunch. Speaking of rainbows, they include DIO’s ‘Rainbow Eyes’ ballad, a rather gutsy move. Timo’s accent is evident on GARY MOORE’s ‘Out In The Fields’, as there is nothing other than acoustic guitar on all the material. DEEP PURPLE (‘Perfect Strangers’) and THE WHO (‘Behind Blue Eyes’) are other classic rock staples covered, Kotipelto struggling a bit on the former. Odd hearing STRATO speedsters like ‘Black Diamond’, ‘Speed Of Light’ and ‘Hunting High & Low’ without the double bass drumming and all the bombastics, while the traditional Finnish tune ‘Karjalan Kunnailla’ is delivered in the native tongue. A nice change of pace though, laying bare both individual’s talents.



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