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Kotipelto & Liimatainen: Blackoustic

This is what happens when you unplug power metal

As the long-serving vocalist of Stratovarius and a co-founding former guitarist of Sonata Arctica, Timo Kotipelto and Jani Liimatainen are major names in the European power metal scene. After playing acoustic shows together in their native Finland, the duo have decided to lay down the results on CD, stripping Strato and Sonata classics to the bare bones, revisiting a variety of songs by their favourite artists and throwing in the odd solo tune.

Regrettably, the results are hit and miss. Gary Moore’s Out In The Fields, Rainbow’s Rainbow Eyes and Behind Blue Eyes by The Who survive the transition better than most. Timo and Jani also take a passable stab at Deep Purple’s Perfect Strangers, Kotipelto’s passionate vocal delivery offering adequate recompense for the glaring absence of its near-legendary Blackmore/Lord riff.

A sole original tune, Where Mr Rainbow Ends, is nothing to get too excited about. Just as damning, material such as Serenity, Sleep Well and the traditional Finnish song Karjalan Kunnailla is pretty forgettable, a weakness further exposed by the restrictions of the strum-along delivery.