When it comes to quality music, it’s little surprise that Tapio Ylinen, the brains behind Finnish progressive rock quartet 5th Season, knows a thing or two.
Not only is he the composer, vocalist, guitarist and producer of the band, but he’s also the founder of the band’s label Eclipse Music, a byword for quality when it comes to releasing music by some of Finland’s finest progressive rock and jazz musicians, and which Ylinen founded back in 2007.
Ylinen’s own musical endeavours began with two albums in his native Finnish; Nuoruus which he released in 2012 and Eläimistä ja kuolemasta which came out in 2016, before his first foray into the English language with 2018’s Left Unsaid.
A year later Ylinen went one better, with the formation of the jazz supergroup Mortality, whose 2019 self-titled debut album explored themes of the limits of human existence and with whom Ylinen was nominated for the Jazz Album Of The Year award at the Finnish equivalent of the Grammys in 2020.
A second Mortality album is in the works, but for now Ylinen’s focus has shifted away from jazz to prog, with his new four-piece 5th Season, who, alongside Ylinen on lead vocals and guitar features Mikko Löytty on bass, Arto Piispanen on keyboards and Jani Auvinen on drums.
5th Season’s self-titled debut album is released on May 5, and as a teaser, their epic track Desperate Measures is out now, featuring, Pink Floyd vocalist Durga McBroom, who also features on several tracks on the upcoming 5th Season. Musically it touches all of Ylinen’s favoured bases; classic rock, a touch of keening blues and layers of progressive rock stylings that will delight lovers of classic 70s progressive rock bands such as Genesis, Yes, Procol Harum and indeed Pink Floyd themselves.
As with much outstanding music, Ylinen has drawn from personal tragedy to inform the sometimes melancholic air that pervades some of 5th Season’s sound. And yet in this instance there’s a synergy to it as well. The guitarist’s wife passed away from cancer in 2015, leading him to throw himself into the Mortality project. However Ylinen had also met McBroom at a Pink Floyd tribute concert they were both involved in earlier that year. With Ylinen’s wife confined to bed. McBroom visited her at their home. With Ylinen finally finding the words he required to pay tribute following Mortality, it was to McBroom he made the call.
The trick Ylinen has pulled off with 5th Season, however, is not to merely pastiche the classic sounds of yesteryear, but marry them with a modern sensibility to create a classy progressive rock sound for the modern age. Alongside the epic flourishes of Desperate Measures and the classically crafted progressive pop of Daylight’s End, in the epic opening instrumental In Memoriam, featuring Ylinen’s strident guitar work, the truly wondrous two-part On The Dark Side Of The Moon or the funky grooves of Don’t Wanna Sing Your Blues, 5th Season have a sound that will appeal far and wide.
It’s not just musically where Ylinen and 5th Season occasionally look to the past. Their debut album comes packaged as a lavish double vinyl release, featuring two extra tracks, as well as on CD and as a digital album. It sets 5th Season out as a band very much for now, but unafraid to show the ideals of yesteryear hold strong.
You can view the new album artwork and tracklisting below.
5th Season: 5th Season
1. In Memoriam...
2. Daylight's End
3. I Am The Waves
4. On The Dark Side Of The Moon, part 1 (feat. Durga McBroom)
5. On The Dark Side Of The Moon, part 2 (feat. Durga McBroom)
6. Lay Down
7. Don't Wanna Sing Your Blues (feat. Jukka Gustavson)
8. Desperate Measures (feat. Durga McBroom)