Instrumental prog metal is a very well populated sub genre. But it takes a lot of skill to really pull it off. However, skill is a lot more than just being precise and technically adept. How good are the riffs and how good are the melody lines? Those are the key questions. For Finnish metallers Fog Light, the skill is there but the riffs are not quite up to the task.
Think of a car that is revving up in neutral versus speeding down a highway. On “2nd Impression,” Fog Light are stuck in neutral. Whether it’s beating a weak riff into the ground for two minutes like on the opening track “Alkutila” or the lack of additional riffs on the next track “Kyllä/Ei,” Fog Light just don’t have enough weapons at their disposal.
For me, you start with a riff that introduces the song before moving fairly quickly into one or two more compelling riffs. Fog Light tend to get stuck on the first riff for WAY too long and then once they emerge from it (assuming they do), the next riff is essentially more of the same. This is not something that ALWAYS happens which is why it’s a little frustrating. Fog Light have a TON of talent and sometimes they click.
The band draw inspiration from shredders like Tony MacAlpine and John Petrucci while trying to incorporate a more jazz fusion approach as well. This comes to the fore on tracks like “Mystinen viiksimies” which is one of the stand out tracks on the album. This is the one that got me to add this album to my review queue. The fretless bass alone make this one really cool. I think it comes down to tempo of the song too. “Aika” is another slower groove and it works better as well.
The questions re-emerge though. “Kiven möyhennystä” has some heavy riffs that feel more repetitive and there are some parts that are more annoying than interesting. It’s Fog Light trying to be Blotted Science and missing. “Tarkista totuus” sounds more like a Joe Satriani outtake. While the closer “Väärä ovi” isn’t the climax that I was hoping for.
There’s no questioning the potential of a band like Fog Light. At times, they really sound amazing. Unfortunately at other times, they get stuck in neutral and nothing happens. “2nd Impression” didn’t make the best FIRST impression with me. But I do think fans of instrumental prog metal should give this a shot to see if it works well for them.
3. Mystinen viiksimies
5. Puun ja kuoren välissä
6. Ei (ihmis)kontaktia
7. Kiven möyhennystä
8. Naamion takaa
9. Tarkista totuus
10. Väärä ovi
Label: Inverse Records
Release Date: 15 June 2018