Album: Age of Heroes
Release Date: February 2017
Genre: Instrumental Rock Guitar
Finnish guitarist Elmo Karjalainen is a shredding force to be reckoned with.
In 2016, Karjalainen placed in the Top 8 of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Guitar Gods competition and played with Yngwie, Steve Vai, and Nicko McBrian in Miami. He was runner-up in Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory competition the same year. He’s known for his work with Finnish metal band Deathlike Sentence, as well as playing with the bands Kilpi, Seagrave and Conquest, Helena & Kaevi.
He follows up his critically acclaimed solo albums, Where We Belong, and The Free Guitar Album, with the release of his fourth studio album, Age of Heroes. This action packed instrumental rock guitar album showcases Karjalainen’s undeniable talent as a shredding master.
Karjalainen is a serious guitarist who likes to mix a bit of humor into his unique work with track titles such as Chicken Noodul, A Fertile Discussion, and Lost in a Foreign Scale.
The opening track, Warm Welcome, is a beautiful, dreamy piano and guitar instrumental that opens its arms wide in deception. It lulls you ruthlessly into a dream like state which is all a setup. All hell breaks loose with the next track, How Can Less Be More, which obnoxiously jettisons your brain into awake mode.
Morning Coffee Tracks
The following tracks are highly recommended to replace your usual morning coffee.
How Can Less Be More
From the opening, this heart pumping track rockets out of the starting gate and can only be described as a fiery race to cross the shredding competition finish line in a blaze of glory. Karjalainen expertly shreds with such urgency and an insanely frantic pace that his fingers burn up the frets. Angry wah-wahs pop up intermittently as though agonizing about the burning pace.
A Meeting of the Gods (And This Guy)
If shredding had a speed limit, Karjalainen would annihilate it with this song. This is solid heavy rock shredding that screams as it hits the speed of blur and only takes a slight breather at the very end. Karjalainen’s fingers whip up and down the fret in a furious chase that you can’t out run. He briefly lets you catch your breath but then ups the insane pace with meticulous rapid-fire chord changes. This master class of guitar gods should have been the opener and the title track.
The Colour of Greed feat. Derek Sherinian
This hard rocking song perfectly mixes Karjalainen’s shredding with the wildly colorful keyboard talent of Derek Sherinian (Billy Idol, Yngwie Malmsteen, Alice Cooper). You can hear the influence of Joe Satriani in some parts, but overall, it’s quite a wild ride.
If you want less of an adrenaline rush, check out the menagerie of fierce shredding on The Grassy Knoll, A Fertile Discussion, Falling for Falafels, and Lost in a Foreign Scale.
Chill Out Songs
The following tracks are recommended as perfect for chilling out/relaxing.
A smooth, swanky execution of softly wailing choruses and wa-wahs that slowly build to scaling heights and then descend back down. This arrangement sends you into a state of strolling in the park.
Chicken Noodul is warm and soothing as the soup it’s named after. This beautiful melodic arrangement caresses your senses as it washes over you. This track should definitely be on your playlist for comforting your mood.
The album appropriately ends with this hauntingly tranquil arrangement that whisks your imagination away to unexplored landscapes. Each sweeping note calmly pulls you deep into a hypnotic state of bliss. Hit repeat on this one whenever you need to take a moment to unwind.
If you need more relaxation after having your adrenaline reach new heights with copious amounts of Karjalainen’s amazing shredding, check out the blissful tracks Blue Eyes, Sunset, and Three Days of Peace.
Rounding out the album’s generous 17 tracks, there are two humorous spoken ones, Party Political Speech, and Return of the Silly English Person.
In this age of guitar heroes and gods, Elmo Karjalainen should definitely be recognized as one of them.
Highly recommended. Run, don’t walk, and grab a copy of Age of Heroes.
You can buy it on Karjalainen’s website: www.elmojk.com or on Band Camp: https://elmojk.bandcamp.com/album/age-of-heroes
Follow Elmo Karjalainen on Twitter: twitter.com/elmokarjalainen