Worldwide Press


KenZiner - The Prophecies

At the end of the day the real reason to listen to Kenziner is manlier-than-thou vocalist Stephen Fredrick, whose super tough voice makes Vic Hix(Shok Paris) sound like a canary bird and Graham Bonnet sound like a little girl who fell off her bike. His melodies are generally memorable, and he intones them with such power that you can't help but groove along.
Review by Matt Johnsen

Heavy, oder was!? Magazine (Germany), issue #40

KenZiner - Timescape (Limb Music Products/SPV)

Wow ! This album really kicks ass. At long last here's another of those bands who you don't expect to do anything great and then who come up with something like this. The stuff which the Finnish guitarist Jarno Keskinen has put out with the ex-CHASTAIN drummer Dennis Lesh and singer Stephen Fredrick beats the pants off the latest output of his producer, David T. Chastain. Some parts of "Timescape" remind me of a mixture of old CJSS and new STRATOVARIUS times - great stuff, indeed. And in contrast to many other prog metal band, KENZINER don't mess about - they put the pedal to the metal and develop enormous power which remains constantly interesting despite all manner of technical tricks. Highlights, other than the title track include "Future Signs", "Thru The End", "Into The Light". There are no drop-outs at all - the sound is right, Jarno's own character comes through as far as guitar techniques go and Stephen Fredrick's powerful voice crowns the compositions. KENZINER leave no room for attack, so I'll just give up and give them ten fat points....
10 out of 12 points
Review by Martin Römpp
Translation by Dane Kurth


Timescape (c)1998 Leviathan Records 199832

Interestingly David Chastain wrote the lyrics and melodies for Timescape . "Future Signs" grabbed my attention right off with great playing and forceful vocals. "Into the Light" offers some rapid guitar and drums that remind me a little of Stratovarius. "Images of the Past" has enough texture to be an instrumental. "Dreamer" isn't quite as complex, but is really catchy. "Thru the End" is a cool, medium paced song. "Timescape" begins slowly and works into a good tune with a lot of changes. "Walking in the Rain" is a solid, melodic song and one of my favorites. "Seasons" is really unique with dramatic changes and good playing. "In the Silence" is an excellent ballad with great vocals and guitars. "Land of Shadows" has a dramatic sound. Timescape is a great CD. The playing and vocals are both solid. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up.



"If you're partial to the sounds of Dream Theater, Yngwie Malmsteen or Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow, then latch on to the debut album from KenZiner. Featuring Jarno Keskinen (who hails from Finland), this disc is chock full of impossibly fast, amazingly precise riffing. Even better, it sounds like real music rather than just scale practice, which is often the case with this sort of thing. At times, things do get a bit much, and the band's obsessive perfectionism causes the music to verge on the sterile. Nevertheless, there are some genuinely powerful metal pieces and many sincere performances on this impressive debut.
-M. Kleidermacher

Musically Incorrect

Correctly billed as 'Symphonic Progressive Metal', KenZiner is the creation of Finish born Jarno Keskinen. A guitarist of immense skill, he was encouraged early on by David T. Chastain, who after hearing his first demo, kept in touch with Jarno offering support and eventually his services to him. David produced, contributed all the lyrics and helped gather the musicians found on this recording. That was the history lesson and now, what about its contents? Well, KenZiner do live up to expectations. Incorporating a multitude of techniques into equally complex musical compositions, Jarno weaves his way through a number of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal landscapes. Not Power Metal as such, Jarno incorporates a number of cool rhythms that more guitar orientated bands like Dokken and their kind used in their heyday, adding a more commercial flavour to this highly technical mix. Assisted by the very capable drumming of ex- Trouble/Chastain/Stygian member Dennis Lesh and the Tony Martin/Graham Bonnet/David Coverdale style vocals of ex- Billy The Kid frontman Stephen Fredrick, Jarno has created a very impressive debut. While heavy in the guitar department, Timescape should not be seen as a Shrapnel Records type release, as there are real songs here, not pieces strung together for the purpose of show casing a hot new guitarists technical know how. Highlights include the very heavy 'Future Signs', 'Images Of The Past', 'Timescape' and 'Seasons'. On a final note, l also hope that Jarno will incorporate more pronounced chorus' into his future compositions, as the simple repetitive refrains found here on Timescape lessen the albums impact to a degree.


It probably wouldn't be going to far out on a limb to say that 24 year-old guitar wiz Jarno Keskinen is the most renowned guitarist to ever come out of Riihimaki, Finland. Heck for all we know he's the only guitarist to ever call that distant burg home. But none the less, young Jarno has proven himself to be quite the multi-instrumentalist marvel on KenZiner's debut disc, TIMESCAPE. Playing bass and keyboards as well as guitar and blending such influences as Bach and Vivaldi with Iron Maiden, he has emerged with a heady entertaining musical meld that may just find a home in the late 90's rock world!!

KENZINER / Timescape

Out of nowhere comes this superb melodic / neo-classical gem from Finland. Led by a 24-year old guitar virtuoso named Jarno Keskinen, who plays most of the instruments on the disc, it's 62 minutes of some great melodic metal that sounds like it was maybe written in the late 80's, but given a nice boost of the 90's sound, making it a very interesting disc rather than a dated one. It's tough to write something fresh in metal in 1998 because it's all been done before, but when it comes to neo-classical metal, I believe that a band has to have a special ingredient to produce a disc that fans of this genre will enjoy a great deal rather than pass the band off as a Yngwie clone that failed. In the case of KenZiner, it appears that Keskinen had this in mind when he set out to write his music. He took ideas from some of the better bands of the genre, such as Impelliterri, Stratovarius, and maybe a touch of Treasure Land, and then added his own touch to the style and produced this enjoyable disc. Couple this with the fact that one, David T. Chastain wrote the lyrics and produced the disc, and you have a serious melodic / neo-classical disc contender on your hands.
As mentioned, this is a blend of melodic metal with a neo-classical base. Don't worry about having to sit through another Yngwie clone band that can't pull it off, because this band has other ideas. Taking their cues from bands like Stratovarius, Impelliterri, and some Treasure Land, this band injects their own style of melody into an already established genre. Being led by a guitar virtuoso, you'd think that the disc would be full of boring, shredding and blazing guitar runs. Sorry, Jarno Keskinen is more concerned with writing a good song rather than show off his talents. Each song seems to have it's roots firm into the neo-classical realm, but you can forget about speedy, long, double bass runs and get ready for some interesting, catchy, melodic tunes. Progressive in it's own right, the songs change within themselves often, starting with fist raising intros, and then running on into catchy choruses, and then on into some mellow passages. The music never seems to want to stand still, yet it's very easy to follow the lines. If you think back to the impact that Magnitude-9 had on fans in a very short time, and the type of music that they play, you know what the impact will be from KenZiner; it's a superbly played disc filled with metal that we all love to listen to all of the time because of the catchiness of the tunes, and the fact that the music is played so WELL.
The BAND -
There are 3 members of this band: Dennis Lesh / Drums, Stephen Frederick / Vocals, and Jarno Keskinen / Guitars, Bass, and Keyboards. Keskinen wrote all of the music for the disc, and it's easy to see why he is the up and coming talent of today's metal. He plays all of the musical instruments on the disc, which not only shows his virtuosity on guitar, but his overall talent in handling all of the other chores in the band. There isn't much to say about the band because of the small lineup, but suffice it to say that Keskinen is an earful, and it's amazing to hear music played this well coming from basically one person. The drummer is certainly talented, and to me, most drummers are who play in a neo-classical atmosphere. Lesh doesn't have too many soaring double bass runs, but what he does, he does superbly. The singer is a treat as well, as you'll see in the next line, and Keskinen is the guiding light here, handling guitars and bass, which he does superbly. The keyboards are used primarily for accenting the guitar lines, and he can keep up with himself when doing this. There aren't too many times when the keys are used alone, but most of the time the keys are following the guitar lines, making this sound a bit on the symphonic side. The keys aren't as prominent as say, a Jans Johansson style in Stratovarius, but Keskinen has to play some keyboard lines to match his quick guitar lines and he has no problem doing so.
This is going to be a real treat for Graham Bonnet fans. Stephen Fredrick sounds just like Bonnet, with a dash of Joe Lynn Turner thrown in on the more subtle parts of the music. Overall, if you can imagine Graham Bonnet singing some Impelliterri, or some old Rainbow, you have a pretty good idea of what Frederick sounds like. For some reason, I've always seemed to think that Bonnet's voice was one of the few voices that actually made neo-classical sound even better, as his voice was the perfect match for the style. When Frederick opened his mouth and the music started, I was instantly brought back to the old Impelliterri / Rainbow days. This guys does not disappoint in any way, as long as you like some Bonnet in your music. The nice thing about Frederick's voice is that you can hear just about every word he is singing, which is always a plus in my book.
Excellent. The sound is punchy, deep and clean. David Chastain made sure that everything was heard in the mix, and that crispness was a must for the final recording. Each instrument is equally mixed, with no one instrument standing out, except maybe for the guitar sound, but that's because you can't help but focus on that sound. The drums are well up in the mix, and have a nice punch to the sound as does the bass. The keys are put exactly where they need to be in the mix, right along side the guitar so that it sounds like every note Keskinen plays sounds like he is playing the guitar and keyboard at the very same time. The vocals are right where they should be too, helping us to hear every word that the singer is saying. This is how metal discs should be recorded.
I bought this blindly, after hearing a clip of a song over the telephone. It's 62:00 of great , melodic metal in a neo-classical base. Never overbearing, never boring, I am quite excited and pleased over what I am hearing on this disc. Add a nice progressive approach to all of that, and this disc should please just about any fan of some type of melodic, neo-classical and progressive metal. I have the feeling that an up and coming star is on the rise in Finland, and having to come up with something different than Stratovarius in their own home land must be a feat in itself for a 24-year old. This disc wreaks of confidence, and never tries to copy or outdo any of the aforementioned bands. It can hold it's own, and certainly has my both thumbs pointing upward in approval. I can safely recommend this disc to anyone who wants to hear some metal played extremely well, and again, if you want to hear what a mixture of Impelliterri / Treasure Land and Stratovarius sounds like with just a bit of a different approach, then you will be pleasantly surprised and excited when you hear this one. Definitely recommended.
Larry D

Progressive Metal Reviews


Kenziner are :
Jarno Keskinen on Electric, Acoustic, bass Guitars and Keyboards
Stephen Fredrick on Vocals
Dennis Lesh on Drums
The tracks are :
1. Future Signs (5:42)
2. Into The Light (4:13)
3. Images Of The Past (5:47)
4. Dreamer (6:18)
5. Thru The End (4:50)
6. Timescape (7:52)
7. Walking In The Rain (7:08)
8. Seasons (7:29)
9. In The Silence (5:18)
10. Land Of Shadows (7:36)

Kenziner is the brainchild of 24 year old guitarist Jarno Keskinen. Jarno has composed all of the music, played all of the electric and acoustic guitars, bass and keyboards. Jarno first picked up a guiatr when he was 11 and was immediately impressed with some of the heavy metal bands such as Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P. Later at the age of 16 as Jarno improved his abilities he became enthralled with classical greats such as Bach, Vivaldi, Paganin and Corelli. At this point Jarno beacame involved with classical violin sequences, arpeggios, minor diminishes chromatic runs and practiced heavily every day.
Joining Jarno on this recording is Dennis Lesh (Trouble, Chastian, Stygian) playing Drums and Stephen Fredrik on vocals.
Here we have an album that is mainly guitar orientated. Jarno's style is very similar to that of Yngwie Malmsteen. Combining classical and progressive metal. Jarno's plays some stunning guitar, powerful, fast, emotional, atmospheric are just a few of the elements that come to mind when listening to this album. But it's not just the guitar that Jarno has played on this album, he also handled all the bass and keyboards, and what can I say. Superb!!
Jarno surely is a talented guy. Dennis is just superb on the drums, but then Dennis is an experienced musician and it's what you would expect here. Not forgetting Stephen, whose vocal delivery complements this style of music, powerful, emotional and is just perfect.
A great album and one that I will be playing quite a lot in the months to come.
Highly Recommended!!!

Leviathan Records

Produced by shred impresario David T. Chastain, this prog-metal opus, featuring the prodigious chops of Finland's Jarno Keskinen, suffers from some anal retentiveness, but the songs are quite killer. With their intricate heavy metal fugues, blistering guitar/keyboard runs and huge, in-the-pocket grooves, the songs are bold, epic slabs of metal that will spur you to slay a dragon, fight the Huns and liberate Jerusalem from the infidels. Or something like that.
Mordechai Kleidermacher
Metal Record Review
Reviewed by Alan Gilkeson

Kenziner: Timescape, ( Leviathan Records )
Leave it up to David T. Chastain to find another diamond in the rough musician. Finland born guitarist/bassist/keyboardist Jarno Keskinen has come whirling on to the scene with a fury of classical based Metal. Mentored by Chastain since 1994, after sending him a demo, Jarno seems destined for greatness. Timescape features his multiple talents, playing all the guitars, bass, and keyboards, but it is his guitar work which bleeds with emotion and power. Often, when a so called guitar prodigy comes around, the record is simply a stage for listening to a guy rip through some scales at supersonic speed, trying to be the next Yngwie. Well Jarno just may be the next Yngwie. It isn't his hand's ability to manipulate the fret board which makes him great, it's the way each composition comes from his heart, with classical symphonic elegance and the raw power of Metal. Kenziner also features a strong vocal effort from Stephen Frederick and solid percussion from ex-Chastain drummer Dennis Lesh. From the opening Future Signs to the dramatic Land of Shadows, Timescape is a top notch performance and solid debut effort.
Standouts: Future Signs, Timescape, Into the Light, and In the Silence.


Jarno Keskinen Interviews