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Prayer (Finland) - 2012 Danger In The Dark



ARTIST: Prayer (Finland)
ALBUM: Danger In The Dark
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 241
YEAR: 2012

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Tapani Tikkanen - lead vocals, rhythm guitar, percussion * Jukka Ihme - lead and rhythm guitars * Valtteri Tikkanen - rhythm guitar, keyboards * Mika Pohjola - bass, keyboards * Matti Torro - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Danger In The Dark * 02 Nobody Loves You * 03 KP * 04 Get What I Came For * 05 Find Another Fool * 06 Never Let Your Dreams Die * 07 Heart Wants You To Rock * 08 Livin' Ain't Livin' * 09 I'm Back * 10 It's Not The End * 11 Best Times (bonus)

RATING:


Background
I've been quite saddened by the lack of quality Finnish releases in 2012. Every great band up there in the Wintery North all seem to be taking 2012 off for some reason. Hopefully they aren't waiting for the end of the world. That's done and dusted, been there done that, got the tee-shirt.. lol! Thankfully the Flying Finns have delivered Prayer (the band, not the religious intent) to us before the year is out, so good on Escape Music for that. I'd actually forgotten what Prayer were all about so had to have a catch-up on some past reading, as it's been 7 years since their last release 'Wrong Address' which we reviewed back in 2005. Plus of course, this band have a connection to one of my other favourite Finnish outfits in Free Spirit, so all good there. I did see somewhere that Prayer did intend releasing an album in 2006 called 'Get What You Came For' but Escape Music put this on the back-burner (it was unofficially given the catalog number ESM 140 but the CD never made it out of the starting blocks). What is notable between albums is that Prayer has just about undergone a complete personnel makeover, with only band leader Tapani Tikkanen remaining; sweeping away the old and bringing in the new.


The Songs
In fact that album title makes an appearance on this new one instead, which suggests to me that other songs from that shelved 2006 album are on here too. Spill the beans my Finnish friends! Despite the new lineup, 'Danger In The Dark' is still melodic to the core. Definitely more on the melodic hard rock side than pure AOR, with Tikkanen's voice erring on the side of Biff Byford (the better side) ageing and mellowing vocal, though to be fair it is a voice that won't win you over upon first listen. It is the title track which is the first cab off the rank, its slow chugga-chugga guitar riffs a deliberate attempt to build things up cautiously. The chorus is worth waiting for once we get there. 'Nobody Loves You' is fairly paint-by-numbers melodic rock standard fare. Next up is 'K.P' a tribute to an old friend it would seem. The music here is thankfully bright, not mired in solemn balladry as one may expect. 'Find Another Fool' starts out promisingly enough; nice keyboard and guitar immersion is carried all the way through. It's Euro styled melodic rock for 'Never Let Your Dreams Die'; it's catchy in places but fairly derivative mostly. I tried really hard to like 'Heart Wants You To Rock', but this one missed my radar completely. 'Livin' Ain't Livin' is a bit better with some strong keyboard parping happening amid some strident guitar playing. With "I'm Back', the band should have returned from whence they came as this is another hard-sell for the listener. The closer 'It's Not The End' is a bit prophetic actually because it is at the end of the CD. A Thin Lizzy rocker modelled on 'Dancin' In The Moonlight' on the verses but little else in common. I think Prayer talk about the end of the world; perhaps a lament for December 2012 coming up? Who knows..


In Summary
Like a couple of recent reviews that I've done, I'm a bit late to the party with this one, so having a few but late retrospective words on 'Danger In The Dark' is better than none at all. There were bits of the production that didn't work for me, and the drum sound needed to have aural excitement factored into the mix, plus I wasn't a fan of Tapani's voice to be honest. Overall it's a bit of a mixed bag. I believe Tapani Tikkanen needed to take a few more risks with his music. It's safe to the point of being a shark without any teeth. I think it's fair to say that I enjoyed 'Wrong Address' far more than I did this one, but hopefully there are lessons to be learned in all of this, if a future Prayer album is to be forthcoming.


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