Silent Out Loud
Mika Grönholm is a Finnish recording artist and songwriter, and his band Grönholm releases their second album “Silent Out Loud”, this month. For those who have heard his first album, this is much more power metal oriented, with down tuned guitars and a more riff oriented approach. However, for those new to the music of Grönholm, here’s a quick overview. Compositionally speaking, the songs are all rooted in early progressive rock, with the first album harkening quite a bit to bands like Yes and Rush. On Silent Out Loud, the sound gains some weight, and presents a much more up tempo approach. Saving you all a further in depth genre description, this is a mix of heavy power metal and progressive rock.
So the first question is, “Why should I listen to this”, and I’ll tell you right away that it is a very listenable album. The songs are all quite immediate, and have enough of a repeat value that it’s enjoyable past the first few spins. The production is top notch, and everything fits nicely. The opener, Cross of Mind, has a chorus that will get the heads banging and the horns in the air quite easily. The drumming is consistent through and the songs quite effectively play to the singer’s strengths. The album also has a lot of variety, to keep the listener interested for all 10 songs.
The picture you should be getting is of a very safe album from some very good musicians. The problem is safe isn’t going to win you any awards. There is certainly an AOR atmosphere going on, and not in the sense of the abominations that Michael Kiske unleashed on the world after getting fired from Helloween, it’s the ‘good’ kind of AOR. However, what I enjoy about power and progressive metal is that is enables musicians to do big and awesome things. That doesn’t always have to be a 15 minute ode to the fallen dragons of the enchanted kingdoms, but I do enjoy a certain level of excess, or bands that at least toe the line. There is nothing I could particularly say about Grönholm that would make them stand out in a crowd, so to speak.
Lack of ambition is a difficult thing to accuse a band of, as obviously getting as far as they have is huge, but this reminds me of quite a few albums I’ve heard recently, that succeed at catching the essence of power metal, without doing much to push it forward. The ability is there, but I’d really enjoy seeing artists like these really roll the dice with their material.
Dagg’s rating- 3.25/5