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Elmo Karjalainen: “Back Where We Belong” fuses into a glorious panorama of organic guitar sound - Album review from JamSphere

“I know Elmo Karjalainen as a metal rocker, but he is a musical chameleon. He is an amazing musical arranger, composer and player. You could put a banjo in his hand and he’d make it sound like an orchestra. Elmo is one of those players that you need to know about if you’re a guitar player – acoustic or electric. It’s hard to add anything but another positive note to the chorus of Elmo Karjalainen accolades. His latest album “Back Where We Belong”, is incredibly generous in the amount of music and love of music. Elmo is obviously focusing much more on songwriting as opposed to performing on this album, and there are some real gems here. Elmo is an amazing musician, his extraordinary technique could potentially overshadow his incredible writing and arranging skills, but with “Back Where We Belong”, they all fuse into a glorious panorama of organic guitar sound”.

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Elmo Karjalainen – Back Where We Belong – Album Review

“I’ve had the record on repeat for what seems like days now with no intention of stopping once this review is written – Back Where We Belong is full of stunning & gorgeous guitar melodies.  Elmo being Elmo and holding himself to the highest of standards, the official press release even goes as far as to mention that “this album is not perfect.  It has its share of mistakes left in there…” – and while that might very well be true…good lord, if you’re anyone NOT named Elmo, you’d never even hear’em.  Facts are facts…the man has a special gift for guitar that most players wouldn’t even understand – and hearing him in this acoustic setting for the new record…just brings the beauty in his musicianship up to the surface to shimmer & shine even more.  This entire album absolutely radiates beautiful sound.

Ultimately, that’s the bulk of the review right there…I’ll go on and make some comments about the individual tracks below, but your main takeaway should be that this record, is one total experience.  If there are faults, they wouldn’t be heard by most human ears – and if anything, they certainly wouldn’t be what people leave remembering about these songs.  What they’ll hear is the extraordinary instrumentation, the exquisite melodies, and the sincere connection Elmo has to his guitar, full-stop.  For myself personally…I honestly don’t know if it does or COULD get better than this; I’ve always been a fan of Elmo’s music, but this record…THIS RECORD…is exceptionally gorgeous from beginning to end.

The gentle beginning of the album’s title tune “Back Where We Belong” will tell ya pretty much everything you need to know about the experience you’re in-store for right away.  Gorgeously recorded, immaculately played, with beautifully progressive writing & accessible, heartfelt melodies, Elmo roams throughout the fret-board with confidence & true grace in the way he plays the guitar.  There’s an undeniably warm glow and generous spirit that floats through the aura & atmosphere of “Back Where We Belong” – just about as inviting as music can ever be”.  - Sleeping Bag Studios

- "Quite simply, ‘Age Of Heroes’ has completely re-ignited my passion for this type of music. This man is absolutely stunning on the guitar [...]  In the meantime please go and check out one of the finest guitarists and instrumental albums I’ve heard in twenty years. Absolutely mind-blowing." - Rick Tilley,

- "Elmo Karjalainen’s ‘Age Of Heroes’ is not just a shredders delight it is much much more, soulful, witty and probaly one of the best guitar orientated[...] pieces of instrumental beauty in the past 10 years." - Shane Bradley, We Rock Webzine

- "[Age of Heroes] is probably the best shred album since Joe Satrianis Surfin’ With The Alien that will make you want to burn your own guitar & break your fingers so you could never play again. It really is that good." - John Deaux, AllAboutTheRock

- "From Python-esque humour to expertly shredding over a broad canvas of tones and styles, this album simply has it all. We say embrace your inner prog and indulge in an album that is as varied as metal guitar can be. Praise cannot be high enough for the sheer virtuosity on display here and we’ll finish with this….please can somebody nail this guy down in a studio, we want more! 10/10" - Chicken Dave, 

- " "I’ve heard a lot of records, and have reviewed over 300 of them on the site so far, but nothing has been as poetic in song structure as this one. [...] The best songwriters can create a visual with their lyrics, no doubt. But it takes a special kind of writer to create stories without uttering a word, and on Elmo Karjalainen’s “Where We Belong”, you get just that. You get a new life, a new visual story with each track. It’s the type of music that calms you down, that helps guide you through rough patches, and assists you when you’re feeling joyous. It’s a friendly sound, a lonely one, and a crowded one all the same. It’s deep, like a classical novel." - Sell Out Records

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