Euge Valovirta is one of the most prominent guitarists Finland has to offer. Recognized as one of the most talented guitarists of his generation in the heavy metal scene, he has had the opportunity to play with many renowned bands such as Godsplague and Drive. His first international breakthrough was as a part of Suburban Tribe, is known from his work with Swedish masters of darkness Shining and nowadays is manning the lead guitar of the upcoming Swedish melodic metal band Cyhra.
If you just asked yourself if there’s any way stopping Euge Valovirta, then I have to inform you with a definite hell no. The guitarist now is releasing his first solo album on August 24th. Now, let’s dive into this piece of guitar mastery.
The album starts with “Don’t Take It Too Hard” showcasing already the amount of talent Euge Valovirta has as a guitarist. I’m reminded by a faster and heavier version of Pachelbel‘s Canon with some reggae, groovy bass lines and surprising twists and turns with a wink to his past in the heavy metal scene. The inserted break with heavy distorted guitars offers a great transition and break in the song. All-in-all “Don’t Take It Too Hard” is a strong and powerful opener for the album.
It smoothly transitions into “Triggered Boulevard” one of the singles Valovirta has put out earlier featuring Jules Näveri (Profane Omen, Spiritraiser). So a solo album of a guitarist, it was a surprise to me that not all the tracks are necessarily filled with guitar-driven melodies. Valovirta allows the vocalists to also shine in the project, although that doesn’t mean the songs are not packed with epic guitar solos. The riff in “Triggered Boulevard” is downright catchy and along with Näveri’s voice, it’s definitely a song that stays stuck in your head for a while.
The next song shows a different side of Euge Valovirta’s influences country, bluegrass even, but soon gets mixed into a melodic groove metal song with strong vocals by Tommy Tuovinen (Oceanhoarse), again accompanied with catchy riffs and a compelling solo.
The fast-paced “Helsinki Fried Chicken” shows again another perhaps more technical side of Valovirta. And offers a first pause after three heavy songs.
The song flows in “Feed The Fire”, featuring Nico Hartonen (Godsplague). The song is about Euge Valovirta himself as a guitar player and is damn right explosive.
It’s followed by the much lighter eighties inspired hair metal “Liquid Lunch” sung by Hannes Kett (Shiraz Lane). This was the first single I had heard of the album, and it’s been in my personal playlist ever since. It’s very catchy and works very well with Hannes Kett’s high pitched vocals.
“Headless Chicken” again shows the technical skills of Valovirta as a guitar player, and somehow he makes it sound like it’s easy to play guitar (probably for him it is).
The song flows in “Southern Man” featuring Micko Hell (Gloomy Grim), which showcases Valovirta’s affection towards southern rock, containing his own style.
The heavy “John 5” is an eruptive and addictive guitar track, that winks to guitar virtuoso John 5. This track is one of my personal highlights as the track builds up masterfully towards the solo.
The album concludes with “Du Är Cancer”, featuring Niklas Kvarforth (Shining) and is the only track on the album that’s sung in Swedish. It’s a surprising way to end an album, especially because this might be the heaviest track on the album, but it makes you linger for more.
What often misses in solo guitar albums is that there hardly is any build-up towards the guitar solos. This leaves you without a real impact and a lingering feeling of “Is that all you’ve got?” This build-up can amplify the mood of the songs and therefore is really important. This is not the case with Euge Valovirta. Perhaps it’s part of the Finnish modesty, he does show his skills as a guitarist but doesn’t overshine the rest of the musicians partaking in the album.
We are not listening to excerpts of excessive solos that seem pointless, but to a lot of straightforward compelling solos, heavy riffs, groovy bass lines, amazing vocal melodies and all-in-all a very consistent album drenched in country, rock, and heavy metal and in general masterful musicianship that exceeds the limits. “Easy Does It” in general is a good way to get to know Euge Valovirta better as a guitarist and musician and I warmly recommend it to anyone who has a heart for country, blues, rock and heavy metal.
Guitar: Euge Valovirta
Bass: Lauri Hämäläinen
Drums: Rainer Tuomikanto
- Don’t Take It So Hard
- Triggered Boulevard (feat. Jules Näveri)
- Swamp Stomp (feat. Tommy Tuovinen)
- Helsinki Fried Chicken
- Feed The Fire (feat. Nico Hartonen)
- Liquid Lunch (feat. Hannes Kett)
- Headless Chicken
- Southern Man (feat. Micko Hell)
- John 5
- Du Är Cancer (feat. Niklas Kvarforth)