|The name Janne Wirman is quickly becoming a household name to metalheads across the world. Best known for his band Children of Bodom, the keyboard virtuoso released his first solo album, Unknown Soldier, in 2000 under the name Warmen. The album single-handedly spearheaded the emergence of technical and progressive metal from Finland. The band's new release, Beyond Abilities, manages to advance the movement even further.
"The idea of making a solo album initially came from Warmen guitarist Sami Virtanen," recalls Warman. "He half seriously asked me if I could play on his solo album, so I answered, half seriously, 'of course, if you will play on mine.' In the beginning I decided not to mix this project too much with Children Of Bodom. As much as I appreciate my COB mates' playing skills I wanted to do this with a totally different line-up so it would be recognized as a side-project more than a COB album with songs by me."
Led by Warman's flabbergastingly fluent fingers and astonishing arrangements, Mirka Rantanen's perplexing beats and Sami Virtanen's raging riff-o-rama, Unknown Soldier consists of eleven tracks of fascinatingly technical melodic hard rock in the vein of Stratovarius, Rainbow and Artension. Unknown Soldier is an aural trip - from the blindingly fast melodic speed metal of "The Evil That Warmen Do" to the mystical images of the Orient in "Treasure Within", everything is spiced with complexity that leaves even the most demanding connoisseurs of technical rock grinning and coming back for more.
Of course no rock celebrity project would be complete without guest stars. On Unknown Soldier, even the guests were of the highest possible caliber: bass god Jari Kainulainen (Stratovarius), guitar legend Roope Latvala (Waltari/Sinergy) and female vocalist Kimberly Goss (Sinergy). Warmen also features bassist Lauri Porra and drummer Mirka Rantanen from the Finnish progressive metal outfit Tunnelvision, as well as guitarists Sami Virtanen from Mannerheim and Janne's brother, Antti Warman, from Craydawn. Lauri and Antti are now permanent members, whereas they were more session members during the recording of Unknown Soldier.
In early 2001, the time arrived for Warmen to once again embark on the road they themselves had paved. Janne & co. took full advantage of their studio, The Warmen Productions Studio, recording the entire album there. Recorded and produced by Warman himself, Beyond Abilities was later mixed in Finnvox Studios (Stratovarius, Nightwish, Therion) by Mikko Karmila.
Filled with the kind masterful songwriting we've come to expect from this gifted guru of the keyboards, Beyond Abilities is a superb trip into the realms of modern heavy metal. Janne has once again penned most of the material for the album with Lauri contributing on a few songs. The tunes on Beyond Abilities are even more versatile and spectacular than on Unknown Soldier, due in part to more vocals being featured. Kimberly Goss (Sinergy), Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius) and Pasi Nykänen (Throne Of Chaos) all deliver stellar vocal performances, further enhancing the spellbinding effect Warmen have on their listeners. In addition, the album features a cover of the classic Heart song "Alone," which will also be released as a single in Europe. Beyond Abilities is the album for every heavy metal connoisseur who likes his or her music challenging and entertaining. This will leave you gasping for air…