2016 update – The second album, christened “Second Wind” has grown into a double feature. Part 1 is ready to be mastered, Part 2 98% there. Each album has 7 tracks, running times bit over and bit under 40 minutes respectively. They’ll be awesome!
Update 2 (Oct 2016): Second Wind, part 1 is mastered and will be sent to duplication next week. Second Wind, part 2 is slated to be released early 2017.
2015 update – The second album was quietly (and slowly!) composed during 2014. The recordings begun in Feb 2015. As of midsummer 2015, the guitars are done, basses, vocals and keys are scheduled for late summer. The finalizing of the songs + drum recordings are planned for late 2015. Release late winter 2016.
The Opeth fan fiction -project that found feet of its own. The CD “First Light” is ready and available from iTunes and other online stores… (ok it’s on Spotify as well). The physical release can be found from the well equipped stores as well. Work on the second CD has begun, probable release January 2015.
Sometime in 2007, 2008 I was shaken by Opeth’s Ghost Reveries & Watershed. This kind of melding of metal and prog was new to me. Having been a proghead all my life and really, really liking the sound of a distorted guitar, I began to dabble with the idea of making a song or two in that vein. I found out that I could write that type of material so I slowly made strides during 2009 and 2010 among my other duties. My friend and colleague Samu Wuori had graciously agreed to help me out with the project and by the end of 2010 the songs were basically done. The material took, as it normally does, it’s own ways and did not much resemble Opeth (or anything else) any more. The view was wider now encompassing rock, folk and even some jazzy flavours. But still, the guitars were mainly distorted.
It was soon evident that we couldn’t make the music work as it should just by the two of us. So I asked my trusted friend and co-conspirator from Kataya, Teijo Tikkanen to help me out. He did and delivered just the right keyboard and synth landscape, including some really scorching solos and enlightened Hammond work. OK, so we had the songs with guitars, basses and keys. The drums were demoed using software drums, I asked my young and gifted friend Henry Laine to help me out to flesh out the patterns into real drums. Henu did just that and at the same time we made some vocals with Teijo that added yet another dimension to the evolving sonic landscape.
As the quality got higher, so did my expectations. I had a few possibilities on my mind re: the drummer, but in the end it was easy. I needed Sami Kuoppamäki. Having made a few things together earlier, it was a relatively simple affair to entice him to partake in this venture as well. We convened at Seawolf Studios for a few days and recorded the drums for the songs.
During mixing we decided to have some extra colour to some of the songs and asked Pepa Päivinen for some flute and sax.
It’s amazing how the project has fleshed out right before my eyes. The musicianship of my fellow musicians has made this a real, living piece of music that really stands on it’s own feet. I’m very proud of it!
Excerpts from reviews:
ProgArchives.com 7.2.2014 – Matti (Nice one, thanks! Just one error, Matti Kervinen does not play on this record…)
Being the one who introduced this Finnish artist I’m glad to write the first review too. Well, especially on the first listening attempt (disturbed by family life) I didn’t guess it would be placed in Heavy Prog, but I’m not arguing the choice either. The opening instrumental ‘Two Wheels’ is a good example of the eclectic style of this album. It has spaceyness not very far from mid-seventies Pink Floyd (the same way as KATAYA and COREY & MAPLE, with more or less the same core of musicians), melodic structures and soloing that relate to symphonic Neo Prog and slightly also to Jazz-Rock/Fusion, plus the “modern low distorted (metal) guitar” as the original artist introduction puts it. In the opener that heaviness enters only in the final minutes.
‘Lost’, the longest track at 9:26, starts calmly featuring vocals, but later on the playing gets much heavier and reminds of bands such as Opeth and Porcupine Tree. The project actually started as Opeth-inspired, “but have expanded from that”. To my pleasure the metal / heavy aspect is not constantly present, it is woven together with more ambient and melodic approach. The mood is rather melancholic. The vocals are like a bit warmer version of PT’s Steven Wilson. ‘Share This Dream’ continues in the same vein with sparse vocals. It has cool keyboards here and there. The dynamics and the emotional strength are something to really appreciate, and the addition of moody sax is gorgeous.
This is first class instrumentally oriented, dark progressive rock, perfectly balanced between retro and modernity. The production is very fine, you can hear many delicate nuances. The leader Sami Sarhamaa is a real multi-instrumentalist, handling guitars, bass, drums and keyboards. Teijo Tikkanen also plays all of those except drums. The main drummer is Sami Kuoppamäki. Delicious keyboard playing is also on the hands of Matti Kervinen (who forms together with Sarhamaa and Tikkanen the aforementioned Kataya). To some degree the album is graced with the feel of continuity too. Often I get frustrated and tired of such prog where the calm and more aggressive elements dominate in turns, but here I don’t have that problem.
The last three tracks are all between 8 and 9 minutes. There are lots of changes in dynamics, soaring solos for guitar and keyboards, both heaviness and airiness, but in a coherent form where everything serves the whole. Perhaps the best reference is Porcupine Tree (which I like also). This album is warmly recommended!
ProgArchives 8.2.2014 – b_olariu
An excellent debut album by this band from Finland formed by two ex members of Kataya, Sami Sarhamaa and Teijo Tikkanen. Their first opus is named First light issued in fall of 2012 and is at least to me a killer album, in my top 3 for 2012 for sure. Prog with a retro sound , concentrated more on guitar but aswell has some marvelous keyboards arrangements interluded with the rest very well, including flute and sax on some parts. Some pieces goes from mellow , even melancholic passages and developed slowly into bursting heavy prog moments of the highest calibre like on opening track Two Wheels or on Lost, never the less the rest are pretty solid.The druming is busy most of the time , with some top notch chops. Entire album is well constructed, mostly instrumental, but also the voice fits perfectly in overall sound, what else an album that goes recommended big time.4 stars, one big surprise for me this band and album, very strong and damn catchy.
Karjalainen 4.12.2012 by Suonna Kononen: Määrittelijän painajainen Liquid Wolf on äänittäjä– miksaaja Sami Sarhamaan projekti. First Light -albumia ovat olleet toteuttamassa myös rumpali Sami Kuoppamäki, saksofonisti–huilisti Pepa Päivinen, multi-instrumentalisti Samu Wuori ja porukan pohjoiskarjalaisvahvistus, nurmekselainen ja niin ikään useita instrumentteja soittava Teijo Tikkanen….
Sävykästä modernia rockia runsain, paikoin neoprogressiivisinkin instrumentaaliosuuksin? Vaikka niin. Tikkasen ääni sopii lauluosuuksiin kuin nenä päähän.———-Keskisuomalainen 1.12.2012 by Petja Savoila
Liquid Wolf edustaa musiikin tekemistä ammattimaisimmillaan. Sami Sarhamaan progressiivista folk/rock-vääntöä Kataya (yhdessä Matti Kervisen ja Teijo Tikkasen kanssa, joista jälkimmäinen tiluttaa myös Liquid Wolfin lead-koskettimet sekä laulaa) ollaan 2000-luvulla kuultu parin levyn verran ja soolotuotantoakin löytyy nimillä Samsara ja Sam Marsala…Yhtymäkohtia löytyy Wigwamista ja Pekka Pohjolasta Pink Floydiin ja Transatlanticiin. Soitto on juuri niin taitavaa kuin voi kuvitella ja herrojen virtuoosimaista otetta onkin todellinen ilo kuunnella.———–Ilkka 13.1.2013 by Juha SeitzKotimainen kokoonpano Liquid Wolf kirmaa avaruudellisissa maisemissaan peräti kolmen kosketinsoittajan voimin. First Light uuttaa korviin neoprogemaista värinää, käyskennellen paikoin IQ:n ja Pendragonin jalanjäljillä. Pepa Päivisen saksofonit ja huilut puhaltavat intensiivistä vastapainoa sormioparatiisin kemuihin.