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CORVUS STONE - Corvus Stone II

Corvus Stone is a multinational Avant-garde Progressive Rock studio band, with a base settled in Jyväskylä, Finland. Corvus Stone began activities by releasing their eponymous album, “Corvus Stone”, in 2012. This one w
as followed by “Corvus Stone II” (2014) and “Unscrewed” (2015), all via Melodic Revolution Records. 

Corvus Stone’s line-up has four core members that have great experience in playing non-conventional music: guitarist Colin Tench has his “Colin Tench Project” and plays with “The Minstrel's Ghost”, “BunChakeze”, and “Oceans 5”; keyboardist Pasi Koivu had his “Psychedelic Eye” project; bassist Petri Lemmy Lindström (ex-“Lyijykomppania”) is a current member of “Saturn Twilight” and “Progeland”; drummer Robert Wolff was a member of 70's U.S.A. bands “Micah” and “Raven”. Singer Blake Carpenter has been of vital importance to the project, as he took part on the first two albums, but now he is running his “Minstrel's Ghost” project. The visual artist Sonia Mota is also regarded as a member of Corvus Stone.

 Special guest appearances on the project have been made by singers Sean Filkins (ex-“Big Big Train”), Phil Naro (“Druckfarben”, “Talas”, “DDrive”), German Vergara (“Aisles”), Stef Flaming (“Murky Red”), Timo Rautiainen (“Trio Niskalaukaus”), and Andres Guazzelli; and by drummer Victor Tassone (“Unified Past”) and guitarist John Culley (“Black Widow”). All those musicians appeared on Corvus Stone’s second album, titled “Corvus Stone II”, which is on focus herein. The CD comes in a digipak cover having a 16-page booklet that features outstanding artwork by Sonia Mota. The album contains 16 tracks, covering 80 minutes of music! The music produced by Corvus Stone does not belong to a single genre or style. Project members draw inspiration from any innovative band, focusing their interest on breakthrough acts, such as “Pink Floyd”, “King Crimson”, “Emerson Lake and Palmer”, “Focus”, “Yes”, “Camel”, “Deep Purple”, “Led Zeppelin”, “Frank Zappa”, “Jeff Beck”, “Peter Gabriel”, “David Bowie”, “Porcupine Tree”, “Steven Wilson”, “Riverside”, and “Pain of Salvation”; but the project also has a sonic resemblance to other Finnish bands (“Kalevala”, “Aardvark”, “Haikara”, “Overhead”).

 To me, Corvus Stone is a full-fledged Progressive Rock act, although a very eclectic one – even when one considers the wide parameters allowed for Progressive Music! The players are really excellent – skilled and creative; and the different guest singers add something of their own to each song. The resulting music is surprising and unpredictable, containing an ample variation of textures and styles, also trespassing ages, spanning from Folk-Medieval to futuristic Space Rock, with 70’s Psychedelic, Jazz-Fusion, and festive Hard-Rock in between. It also connects distant geographical regions with opposite moods – for instance, uniting the Scandinavian melancholy to the warmth of Latin rhythms. Each song will therefore hit each listener differently, according to his/her tastes and sensibility. 

The songs sung by Phil Naro - “The Simple Life” (1:59) and “Eternal Universe” (3:52) are soft and ethereal (like early “Yes”), making a huge contrast with the dark “Mystery Man” (6:37) – which has a sinister Blake Carpenter on vocals, followed by gritty organs, enigmatic percussion, and psychic guitars in the vein of “Kalevala” and “Uriah Heep” – or still to the Hard-Rock “Purple Stone” (3:21) (on which Carpenter and Guazzelli sing the chorus of “Deep Purple’s” “Highway Star”). Listeners searching for exotic and folkloric sounds will find both on the two songs having Finnish lyrics (sung by Timo): “Camelus Bactrianus (Tuolla Tuonnempana)” (8:42) (which starts slow, like a funeral march, accelerating later to a vibrant Space-Rock) and “Campfire (Tulen Luona)” (2:17), which is more traditional. Their introspection contrast against the heated Latin-Fusion grooves of the mostly instrumental “Scandinavians In Mexico” (5:06) (for fans of “Santana”); and to the warmth of the Flamenco-styled songs “Dark Tower” (1:48) (based on the “Aranjuez Concert”, sung by an inspired Blake Carpenter) and the magnificent “Moaning Lisa” (14:07) – based on a ghost story, which commences as a minstrel medieval song led by Filkins (English lyrics), and grows in Progressive stature, until finishing with Vergara’s vocals (Spanish lyrics). But leaping from Spain to Germany, “Boots for Hire” (8:58), driven by Stef Flaming’s deep voice, will please any Krautrock admirer! In spite of the brilliance of those singers, the core members of Corvus Stone will always emphasize that their skilled instrumentation is the strongest point of their project! They prove it, by offering to the listener some really amazing instrumental pieces, such as “Early Morning Call” (3:51) – a pure rejoice for the orthodox Symphonic-Prog consumer; “A Stoned Crow Meets The Rusty Wolff Rat” (7:37) (with a strong influence of “King Crimson”); the impressive “Mr. Cha Cha” (4:49), and “Uncle Schunkle” (4:37), which combine Space Blues, Jazzy grooves, and Psychedelic jams in amazing arrangements (recalling “Zappa”). A couple of interludes – “Sneaky Entrance In To Lisa” (0:30) and “Lisa Has A Cigar” (0:46) – complete the list.

 Corvus Stone’s “second” is an extraordinary album that ought to be listened carefully and unhurriedly, having many surprises to discover, being highly recommendable for fans of Progressive Music in general, from Symphonic or Folk-Medieval, to Avant-garde, Experimental, Krautrock, Psychedelic and Hard-Prog! 

Band members and collaborators involved in Corvus Stone are: Colin Tench – Guitar; Pasi Koivu – Keyboards; Petri Lemmy Lindström – Bass; Robert Wolff – Drums & Percussion. Sonia Mota – Artwork & Video. Special Guest Singers: Blake Carpenter; Sean Filkins (also some Percussion & Harmonica; Phil Naro; Timo Rautiainen; Stef Flaming; German Vergara; and Andres Guazzelli. Additional Guest Musicians: Victor Tassone – Percussion & Occasional Drums; John Culley – Guitar; Matti Kervinen (of “Pax Romana”) – Lyrics for Timo. Digital Release on September 30th 2014; CD Release on October 20th 2014. Arranged, Mixed and Produced at Stoned Bun Studios, by Colin Tench; Drums Recorded and Engineered by Rusty Dimmett at Kennesound Studio, Kennesaw, Georgia, Atlanta. Timo Rautiainen’s Vocals Recorded by Juha-Matti Koppelomäki.Also you must visit Corvus Stone's Facebook Site  ... (Comments by Marcelo Trotta)