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FAR NORTH What? (MTM Records) (2003)

Most of the Hard Rock bands I've recently listened to came form Sweden and none of them lacked quality. Having to make a review for Far North, another Swedish Hard Rock band, was more of a challenge rather than anything else. These Swedes managed to keep up with the tradition by creating a quality album simply called "What?!" The mastermind behind the band is Tobias Ohman, the keyboard player. In 1992 Tobias decided to put in order all these melodies which kept his mind under siege. His first move was to recruit a good guitar player who listens to the name Jan Andersson. Along came Patrik Jonsson (vocals) and bassist (at the time) U.Svanborg. Problems with SMC Records (their label at the time) never allowed "What?!" to have a proper distribution and advertisement. Eleven years later MTM decided to re-release this album completely re-mastered with the bonus track "Heart Attack" - a Thin Lizzy cover.

The members of Far North may not really impress anyone as musical units but they are a very solid sextet and this is something which reflects in their music. I was really impressed by Jan Andersson's guitar playing - every solo or riff is perfectly balanced and combines nicely with all the keyboard tunes that Tobias created for this album. A very good vocal performance by Patrik and also a solid rhythm section which is David Nystrom (bass) and Sven Schondfeldt (drums).

Far North have been influenced by many different ard Rock bands but i think that their main influences would be Asia, Europe and Whitesnake. This twelve track album attracted my attention from the opening track "Yes I'll try", Tobias's very first composition - and a great song too. All the songs are considered to be quality compositions as far as I am concerned but I think that the opening track along with "Never trust a stranger", "Why are the children dying" and my personal favourite "The Run (I wanna see the sun go down)" are the songs that make the difference. I really enjoyed listening to this album, especially "The Run (I wanna see the sun go down) which I would easily vote as one of the best Hard Rock tunes of the year.



Review by John Stefanis

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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