Freshly signed to Lion Music in early 2009, Finnish melodic progressive metallers Status Minor deliver their debut album Dialog on September 11th 2009. Home to seven catchy progressive metal masterpieces, this is a debut that is both modern in sound and outlook with a fresh melodic edge mixed with the heavier side of progressive metal, and one that sees guitar and keyboards form a tight yet open partnership backed up by the tight rhythm section over strong rhythms and arrangements. Vocalist Markku Kuikka has a tonality which serves up a darker flavour than the more traditional progressive metal voice, further aiding the bands distinct sound and holds more crossover appeal potential. With their debut album Status Minor have delivered an album that is a strong marriage between song craft and musicianship all enwrapped with a dark edge and overtone. Lyrically the album touches on subjects of human emotions, problems and acts between people. The pinnacle of the album is the title song Dialog, an emotionally charged track with a running length over 15 minutes. For the title track the band used voice actors to strengthen the mood which, when blended with the band musical prowess makes for a very satisfying metal experience from this original and highly captivating track. Comprised of five highly competent musicians, Status Minor's foundations were laid by guitarist Sami Saarinen in 2002, and little by little the line-up evolved to what it is today: Markku Kuikka - vocals, Jukka Karinen - keyboards, Eero Pakkanen - bass and Rolf Pilve - drums. The bands musical roots and influences are wide-spread which helps with the bands creativity, yet the band are able to define their own take on progressive metal with a great deal of adaptability. Having released two promotional international press praised EPs prior to signing with Lion Music, along with a good deal of live performances allowed Status Minor the time to forge their own sound and write songs that have ultimately led to the quality heard on their full length debut album. Status Minor are another band propelling the Scandinavian progressive metal scene onto new heights, and comes recommended for fans of label mates Seventh Wonder and Mind's Eye along with those of Evergrey and Vanden Plas.
01． Something More
02． Out of These Streets
03． Stand and Think
05． Fade Away
07． Dialog (Act I - Act II - Act III)
BURRN!誌でこの手のジャンルでは珍しく92点という高得点を獲得していたので、北欧プログレメタル好きの私は早速購入に踏み切ってみたわけですが…私的には80点くらいですね。音はライブを意識しているそうで、かなりシンプルにまとめられています。キーボードはピアノの単音がメインで、ヴォーカリストは淡々と歌い上げる典型的な北欧系の声質。曲は無駄を削ぎ落とした、シンプルで硬派な感じに仕上げられています。メンバー全員が超絶技巧の持ち主ということでさすがに安定感は抜群なのですが、かなり控えめに演奏しているようで、Dream TheaterやSymphony Xのような派手なプレイはあまり聴かれませんでした。また、メロディも北欧的な叙情性は感じられるものの、総じて地味で淡泊なものが多く耳に残りにくいのが辛いところです。興味のある方は、あまり過度な期待をせずに購入することをお勧めします。