Jani Liimatainen – My Father’s Son

I really didn’t think it would happen so quickly but my first, full marks, review has already arrived. For those of you who are new to my reviews, I don’t give out top marks very often but “My Father’s Son”, the new solo album from, Finnish maestro, Jani Liimatainen is so brilliant that I have no other option.

If you don’t know, Jani Liimatainen was a founding member and guitarist for Sonata Arctica (one of my favourite bands) and remained with them for twelve years before moving on. Since then he has worked on a number of projects and is currently a member of Insomnium, The Dark Element (with former Nightwish vocalist Anette Olzon) and Cain’s Offering (with Stratovarius frontman Timo Kotipelto).

When reviewing, I always go into an album blind for the first listen. I don’t want anything, already written, to cloud my thoughts. “My Father’s Son” grabbed me, from the first note to the last, and took me on a wonderful journey. This is a hugely melodic album and fans of the aforementioned Sonata Arctica and The Dark Element will absolutely revel in it.

What’s different here is that there is a different lead vocalist on nearly every track, even Jani sings vocals on one. Now this could make the album sound disjointed but every singer puts in a stellar performance and, whilst they all have distinct voices, sound completely at home with the material and each other. Jani has written all the tracks to their strengths and the end result is extremely cohesive.

Opening track ‘Breathing Divinity’ feat Björn “Speed” Strid (Soilwork, The Night Flight Orchestra) gets things off to a cracking start. It’s not a particularly up-tempo track but the melodies and chorus absolutely fly and the smile on my face was instantaneous. Sonata Arctica vocalist Tony Kakko turns up on the next track ‘All Dreams Are Born To Die’ and the smile grew much larger. I think Tony possesses one of the most distinctive and beautiful voices in Melodic/Power Metal circles and this could be a lost SA track. Renan Zonta (Electric Mob, Brother Against Brother) appears on two tracks ‘What Do You Want’ and ‘The Music Box’ and is superb on both. Likewise, Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius), also lends his wonderful voice to two tracks, the gorgeous ballad ‘Who Are We’ and ‘Into The Fray’. Pekka Heino (Brother Firetribe) sings on ‘Side By Side’, which sounds like it was written by Survivor in the 80’s, if they were a Heavy Metal band, but also contains some excellent Saxophone and Anette Olzon who, unjustly, still gets a bad rap from some for her time in Nightwish, turns in another lovely performance here on ‘I Could Stop Now’.

As superb as all these tracks are, it is the final two on the album that are the most haunting and beautiful. Jani, himself, provides lead vocals on the piano driven, very sad ‘Haunted House’, and proves what an incredibly talented singer he is and Antti Railio (Raskasta Joulua) gives a spine-tingling performance on the title track, which closes the album. This is quite simply the finest track Sonata Arctica never wrote.

I always think that music like this, when it is high quality, is the Heavy Metal equivalent of Musical Theatre and every track on “My Father’s Son” should receive a curtain call. Jani Liimatainen should be rightfully proud of the material presented here and completely justified in stamping his name on the cover!

Track List

01. Breathing Divinity

02. All Dreams Are Born To Die

03. What Do You Want

04. Who Are We

05. Side By Side

06. The Music Box

07. Into The Fray

08. I Could Stop Now

09. Haunted House

10. My Father’s Son



Pekka Heino (Track 5)

Tony Kakko (Track 2)

Timo Kotipelto (Tracks 4 & 7)

Jani Liimatainen (Track 9)

Anette Olzon (Track 8)

Antti Railio (Track 10)

Björn Strid (Track 1)

Renan Zonta (Tracks 3 & 6)


Jani Liimatainen – Guitars, Keyboards, Programming

Jonas Kuhlberg – Bass

Rolf Pilve – Drums

Jarkko Lahti – Piano

Jens Johansson – Guest Keyboard Solo

Janne Huttunen – Guest Saxophone Solo

Backing Vocals

Petri Aho

JC Halttunen

Tony Kakko

Jani Liimatainen

Anette Olzon

Antti Railio

Björn Strid

Lassi Vääränen

Renan Zonta

This review is purely the property of Richard Tilley and The Metal Asylum

Leave a Reply