Several years ago -- and how time files -- I wrote a mini review of an mp3 I'd downloaded from MP3.com called "Where's The Fire?" from a band called Prime Mover. Liking what I heard, I made a note to explore further. That review appears in my editorial from December 1999. This track appeared on their demo CD Mr. Zingelmann. Fast forward to 2001 or so, and in my mail arrives Put In Perspective, the band's debut full-length album. The music from this Finnish quintet is an interesting mix of rock and progressive rock structures underneath the most mournful of voices in progressive rock. As energizing as the music can get, vocalist Dennis Nordell's delivery runs counter to it. It's understated, a characteristic we'd expect from a dark metal band. Maybe it does have something to with the Nordic region, the seasons and weather there. I like every song here, but Nordell's delivery can get a little wearing, however. It is recorded a little dry at times.
The interesting thing to note here is that the depressed delivery belies a sometimes- positive message (as in "Why Do You Think You Are"). In trying to come up with a sounds like, since I kept thinking, "that sounds like..." I went from the "eerily like the late Kevin Gilbert" comment that I seem to make all too often (though appropriately) to sounding a bit like Roine Stolt (for example, the mellow "Sunrise, Again."). But, in reading the bios, and Nordell's in particular, his mention of Pearl Jam as a "musical inspiration" makes it all snap into place: yes, Nordell sounds like a sedated Eddie Vedder. Musically, well the comparisons come not from the prog rock list, but from the roots rock list, and yet, there the band play with these textures to get a foot or two on the prog side of the line. If you think of prog version of The Byrds, or Tom Petty, or even REM (as I thought during "Never Like It Seems"), then that's what I'm hearing. If you don't think of that, well, that's what I'm hearing anyway. :- )
Prime Mover isn't just Nordell, though. It's Roger Nyman on bass and vocals, Michael Karlsson on guitars and vocals, Sebastian Teir on keyboards, programming and vocals and Kenneth Langerström on drums. It is in the instrumentation that they really shine, an interesting rhythm here, some percussion over there, a guitar lead (though there aren't a lot of solos), etc. Really nice stuff.
The album opens with "Why Do You Think You Are?" which for those first few moments sounds like they are going to break into the Yardbird's "I'm A Man." "The Experience," which ends the album, throws in a few other textures, that being some programmed percussive sounds, some Wakeman-like keyboard pyrotechnics, a touch of metal-esque chugging guitars, but sound we are back to mid-tempo proggish rock. Alan Parson's Project kind of come to mind here at times, too, as it could easily be something from a late 70s-early 80s APP album. But even that changes, becomes more mellow... it typifies this album as no track is really any one thing, though it doesn't shift so much as to become eccentric -- except here, for one segment. There are some sections that are actually warm, where the band come in on backing vocals, adding some depth to Nordell's delivery. "Laughable" is another highlight track, and compares with what I recall from "Where's The Fire." "See It Yourself" is different, not for the jangly rockness of it, but the odd sound effects in this humourous "sci-fi" tale which includes horny little green men from outer space...
Overall, I do like this release. As I said, the montone delivery from Nordell will get wearing after repeated listenings, but the music often sparkles, the rhythms are catchy, and it is an otherwise thoroughly enjoyable listen. The music will move you. Warmer production and more dynamics in Nordell's delivery are what's needed for the follow up.
Stephanie Sollow, November 2002, Progressive World
Postiluukusta kolahti Uusikaarlepyyläisen, progressivista rockia veivaavan Prime Moverin omakustannelevy arvostelua odottaen ja mikäs siinä, kotimaisia progeiluja on kiintoisaa kuunnella aina silloin tällöin. Monesti tämänkaltaisten progebändien esikuvat ovat valitettavan helppo poimia itse musiikista: Dream Theaterin ja kumppanien kappaleet kierrätetään taitavaa soittotaitoa myöten. Prime Mover on, luojan kiitos, poikkeus sääntöön.
Put in Perspectivellä Prime Mover sulauttaa melodiseen progeensa kiintoisasti (ja aivan kuten tyylilajiin kuuluukin) vivahteita lukuisista eri musiikkityyleistä. Pääpaino on Pink Floydin, Rushin ja Wigwamin viitoittamassa soundissa, jota matotetaan 70-lukulaisilla koskettimilla ja teemojen vaihteluilla. Toisaalta mukana on vivahde 90-luvun alun vaihtoehtoista rockia, eikä vähiten laulaja Dennis Nordellin hieman tukkoisen lauluäänen takia (vrt. Counting Crowesin Adam Duritz), joka ei suoraan sanottuna ole kovin "proge". Silti, tai juuri siksi Nordellin ääni miellyttää ainakin allekirjoittaneen korvaa ja luo aivan omanlaisensa vivahteen musiikkiin, vaikka välillä hienoinen monotonisuus ilmaisua haittaakin. Mielestäni laulussa olisi voinut käyttää esimerkiksi hieman enemmän ylempää rekisteriä, näillään laulu on hieman tasapaksua köyttä.
Toinen (ja suurin) nipottamisen aihe on tuotanto ja soundipolitiikka. On täysin ymmärrettävää, jos omakustanteissa soundit eivät huipputasoa ole, mutta Put in Perspectiven kuuntelukokemusta kieltämättä karut soundit varjostavat. Ensimmäisillä kuuntelukerroilla ääniasu jotenkin erotteli instrumentteja toisistaan saaden aikaan hieman amatöörimäisen yleisasun. Kuuntelun myötä äänimaisemaan kuitenkin tottuu ja kieltämättä taidokas soittokin alkaa päästä oikeuksiinsa. Olisi silti kiinnostavaa kuulla levy kunnollisen studiokäsittelyn jälkeen.
Kaikki kappaleet selviytyvät plussan puolelle, mutta parhaiten toimivat Genesismäisesti poppaava, teemoja kutkuttelevasti vaihteleva aloitusbiisi Why do you think you are, hieman tummemmissa sävyissä kulkeva The agenda for instant truth sekä iloinen ja kevyt See it for yourself. Myös levyn lopettavan The Experiencen kasaripop-sävyt huvittavat.
Put in Perspective on ilman muuta toimiva levy, jota heikot soundit ahdistavat. Kun keitokseen vielä lisättäisiin ripaus lennokkuutta ja tujaus vivahteikkaampaa lauluilmaisua, voisi sitä suositella varauksetta. Prime Mover on aidosti progressiivista rockia, siinä termin positiivisessa mielessä.
Ville Luoma-aho, June 2002, Rockmusica.net
Prime Mover from Uusikaarlepyy has as a self-financed album released "Put In Perspective", which contains 50 minutes of melodic progressive rock. Among the band's obvious influences are bands like Rush, Dream Theater, Pink Floyd and such. The band is at its best on the instrumental side of things, and especially the performances of the keyboard player and the guitarist are fine. The overall impression of the songs is however too dark, as the singer's voice doesn't fit this kind of music very well. The recording also needs a bit of improvement. This is a promising release, from which it is good to continue ahead.
Raimo Eurasto, Colossus
They say you can't judge a book from the cover. Well, maybe the same goes for CD's. The cover of Prime Mover's debute album shows the "ultimate freudian archetype of prog rock"... a unicorn drinking from a pool. But if you expect this to be a traditional progressive rock album, you're wrong.
Prime Mover is a young band from Finland. Put In Perspective is their first official release. Their music is described as melodic progressive rock. Having listened to the album, I can hear the prog influences, but I must say it didn't strike me as true "prog rock". Prime Mover sounds a lot like one of those new rock bands that you can hear on "MTV Alternative" (or whatever). Partly this is caused by the singer. However good he may be, his voice is remarkably unproggy, and in fact he reminds me strongly of Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains.
The music on the album is a strange mixture of "alternative rock" (quite unusual and dark melodies) and prog influenced rock (mainly the arrangements). In half of the songs, this combination works pretty well. But I think the band fails to lift the other songs to a convincing prog level, despite the fact they use many elements that are taken directly from the prog rock idiom (including crazy keyboard solos, creative technical guitar riffs and some unexpected complex pace changes).
To me, the best moments on the album are: Why Do You Think You Are (with some atmospheric Pink Floyd guitars), The Agenda For Instant Truth (perfect blending of styles), Laughable (some Rush in chorus) and the epic The Experience (beautiful melodies and complex arrangement). Least favourite tracks are: Pitiful, Never like It Seems, and See It For Yourself (all quite simple melodies, and rather grungy than proggy).
Put In Perspective is a unique marriage of two musical styles. The overall feel of the album however is rather alternative/grungy than prog rock. The combination of styles would have been more effective with some more proggy song material. Because now, real progressive shivers appear only every now and then. But still, this is an interesting debut album.
Conclusion: 6,5 out of 10.
Rob Michel, The Dutch Progressive Rock Page
Had this album been released 30 years ago, it would have been hot stuff in the world of prog. It was around that time that the big prog bands appeared on the scene, like Genesis, King Crimson, Yes and the domestic Wigwam and Tasavallan Presidentti. Even Pietarsaari had its own prog band in Fantasia, which received some positive feedback on national level.
The proggers were the people who a few years earlier had been fascinated by The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's and Pink Floyd's debut album, and now found their way into new, unexploited worlds in music. They didn't care about having commercially successful hits, or if anyone at all bothered listening to them. At least that's how the story goes.
Many people didn't really understand them either. Some thought they were tedious with the spaced-out 5/4-time signatures and 20-minute marathonsongs, others were blown away and became fanatic followers of these rebels, who experiented with everything possible and impossible. These days much isn't heard from these bands, and even though later generation progbands like Rush and Marillion are still active, they don't exactly appear on MTV. But there are still enthusiasts scattered around the world, and Prime Mover is a good example, being a prog band with a 2-3 year history and its origin in the Pietarsaari-area.
Prime Mover released a self-produced album already two years ago, then with programmed drums and fewer songs. Today the band has a real drummer and is a full-blown band with five members.
Like the case was with their role models, you can find many sharp turns in the mixture of hard rock, jazz, funk, fusion and synth music, and predictability is certainly a bad word. The synth adds layers of any possible and impossible chord, the guitar delivers seventeen different styles of playing in every song, just like the drummer, and on top of it all is the dark voice of Dennis Nordell, which gives the music a kind of sombre mood.
In all of this unpredictability Nordell's monotonous and slightly one-sided vocals stick out a bit on the first few listens, but later you notice that the nuances are there, they have just sort of drowned in the mix. There is no lack of dynamics in the songs, surely a lot of time has been put into this album, in figuring out all the 3/8-bars or whatever they are. But there is however a lack of dynamics in the mix, and the obvious reason is probably that the band has mixed the album itself, on own equipment in a student room in Otaniemi.
The band has potential, the question is if any record company is prepared to invest money in prog today, or if anyone even cares. But you sort of suspect that this band, in true prog style, doesn't really mind that too much. The main thing is after all having fun, and I do think these proggers enjoy themselves.
Daniel Ainasoja, Jakobstads Tidning, November 2001
Ali G enlighted us in one of his programs about the dangers of indie pop. If youngsters all of sudden locked themselves into their rooms, turned pale and lost weight, then you could be almost sure that they have started listening to indie pop. As living proof, he presented Pulp's vocalist Jarvis Cocker. But youngsters can get into even worse trouble, they can sink down into the swamp of progressive rock. If you from the musty rooms can hear neverending songs, which seem to lack endings (Personally, I've never heard a neverending song with an ending... - web.ed.), and which seem to only contain guitar leads and strange keyboard noises, then it's time to get worried.
The boys in Prime Mover play this type of music. Their debut album Put In Perspective also has a for the genre almost parodicial cover, showing a unicorn standing by a lake under a purple sky. There can be no doubt that Prime Mover are competent instrumentalists, with true drive in the music. They also have a big asset in Dennis Nordell's voice, he sounds a bit like Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. Nordell sings with an authority and ease that you don't hear too often. Sadly, the music consists of too much guitar wanking and cheap 1980's synthesizers (This is just plain wrong, the Moog and Rhodes are older, the rest are definitely a lot newer than 80's keyboards - web.ed.).
If it weren't for Prime Mover's pop sensibility, this record would be as boring as the cover is clichéd. My opinion is that they should skip some of the numerous changes in time signature (Fat chance! - web.ed.) and let their sense of melody and choruses take centre stage. Never Like It Seems is an example of how a good foundation is spoiled with an unnecessary guitar solo (Well... there actually isn't one - web.ed.). The best track is See It For Yourself, which is the closest to a hummable summer hit (You've GOT to be kidding... this is offensive! - web.ed.) that I have ever heard a rock band in the progressive genre play (What about Invisible Touch or Owner Of A Lonely Heart? - web.ed.).
Patrik Back, Vasabladet
PRIME MOVER is a new and young progrock band from Finland. "Put in perspective" is their first official release, 2 years before ago they have recorded a 40 minute demo called "Mr Zingelmann". The music of PRIME MOVER can best be described as sophisticated rock with dominating influences from progressive rock and soft 70ies hardrock. The compositions are hooky and very comfortable, but too complex to be boring. This is not "default"-progrock and not neoprog either. PRIME MOVER seem to love entertaining rhythms, clean guitar tunes and of course the effects of keyboards (that mainly come in spacy and neoprogressive sound). The music is always moving ... the bass is poundering around, the drums are straight and also complex, the vocal arrangments are changing quite often and the band even finds time for some quite complex technical parts just in order to return to the main song theme. The sound of this production sounds more like a demo but the quality of the compositions and the technical ability of the band members is so good, that I can recommend this band to any label which is looking for a new signing. PRIME MOVER perfectly sound like a mixture of SYMMETRY, PORCUPINE TREE, ELOY, TWIN AGE, neoprog, 70ies soft hardrock and a little bit of charming psychrock.
Highlights of this album are The agenda for instant truth, Never like it seems, the nice and varied Sunrise, again, the fast Laughable, the great and freakin' See it for yourself (with funny ska influences !!). This band offers fresh and unusual progressive rock ... and after you have listened to The experience it is clear, that PRIME MOVER is really mad ... this (primarily instrumental) track is freakin' the hell out of your open minds. The only thing that I did not like was the style of the vocals ... often they were more spoken than sung and they are not varied, not powerful and not impressive enough ... but anyway this newcomer band is a HOT recommendation!
Markus Weis, Durp.com
The beginning of the nineties was a crucial moment in time music-wise, as the downfall of the status quo and advent of so-called "grunge" broke barriers that were previously considered indestructible and thus changed the entire face of commercial music. Unfortunately, however, the change also meant an eventual downslide into the absolute reign of marketing schemes, regardless of bands' quality or originality, and its effects are still in place today. What cannot be denied, however, is that the "alternative" explosion produced some uniquely memorable bands like Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam, furthering the evolution of heavy metal, and that of rock as an accompanying result. Ever since then, several progressive bands have tried to incorporate the sound of both alternative metal and rock into their sound, but none have done it as purely as Prime Mover.
On its debut album, Put in Perspective, this Finnish act has managed to throw a quite surprising range of influences and sounds into the melting pot and come up with something that makes sense. There are basically hints of everything as the record moves along, with the listener being able to identify passages reminiscent of Pink Floyd, early Fates Warning, Rainbow, Rush, and even an early Marillion hue in the keyboards of "The Agenda for Instant Truth," but the interesting part is that all those elements are glued to elements of bands such as Pearl Jam and the Counting Crows, making for an original take on what alternative rock/metal would sound like if it went prog. The result is actually pretty interesting, as most of the album's tracks are a lot more accessible than most progressive rock, and yet a lot longer than the normally allowed time span for alternative. Moreover, singer Dennis Nordell is often reminiscent of Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, and despite the occasional lack of emotional fire, fits perfectly into the band's approach.
What is a real shame about Put in Perspective, however, is the lack of better production, is it would have certainly allowed for the band's material to pack more punch and let its melodies come through more brightly. A problem often found in independent releases, it affects Prime Mover particularly, as the success of such an approach relies heavily on the sound of the record. Even then, however, the album's songs are a pretty good lot, and with the exception of the too-light "See It for Yourself" and the too-long "The Experience,"(which could have perhaps done better had it been divided into different songs) this is something definitely worth checking out for people interested in this somewhat unlikely mix.
Points: 3.5 out of 5
Marcelo Silveyra, Progfreaks.com
"'Put in perspective' is the debut CD of the Finnish progressive rockband PRIME MOVER. There are 8 songs on the CD and although instrumentally it sounds pretty good (a la RUSH), my complaints concern the lead vocals. Lead singer Dennis Nordell has a very deep dark 'grungy' voice that reminds me often of PEARL JAM! Unfortunately at one point, I really thought that I was listening to a 'Grunge' rockband instead of a prog band! The only song that really is worth mentioning is the good uptempo neo-prog rocker "The agenda for instant truth". This song has some very nice keys and reminds me of ARENA, and besides the lead vocals are a bit better on this tune. Also closing track "The experience" is a nice progressive rocker with a very good chorus actually, although the song starts as a house (!!!) song, but the following 8 minutes are very nice prog. rock. These are the 2 songs that show that PRIME MOVER can really make good music. I'm sorry to say this, but they have to change the way that lead singer Dennis Nordell is singing, because songs like "Pitiful", "Never like it seems", "See it for yourself" and "Why do you think you are" are now sounding like depressing grunge songs that have more in common with PEARL JAM and RADIOHEAD than a Progressive rockband. Maybe people who like the recent MARILLION might like this, but I rather hear some 'real progressive rock like the band does in "The agenda for instant truth" and "The experience"."