An album that eluded all attempts at review around its release back in April of 2020, Here and Now is Joviac’s sophomore full length. A blend of prog rock and metal elements, it marks an impressive feat by the Finnish trio. Not only is it incredibly well written and equally well crafted in every respect, it also manages to be exceptionally heart tugging and atmospheric, knowing exactly which strings to pull and when to do so. Here, Joviac present an album in some respects close to British prog outfit Lost in Thought with the deep, melodramatic touch that permeates the entire production, and at others closer to atmospheric prog bands like Thence and the instrumental foreground. It’s a relatively short album, clocking in at just over 40 minutes and seven tracks - of which one is the instrumental intro titled simply, well, Intro.
In those short 40 minutes however the three Finns manage to cram in damn near the entire emotional spectrum. Here and Now demands multiple listens. That’s just what it takes to get at it in its entirety. When you get there it proves a beautiful album, focusing more on the feel and the atmosphere of the music than on the musical prowess - though, that is obviously there as well - and in so doing manages to get deep into its own mythos, delivered almost entirely through instrumentals. Viljami Jupiter Wenttola proves a great vocalist, but his finest moments are definitely on the guitars, working in phenomenal accord with Antti Varjanneon the bass. The lyrics, as they exist, are often brief, several songs lacking choruses and always very poetic. Wenttola does them great justice, especially in such phenomenal moments as the title track chorus, just as his guitars reach the climax and fill the soundscape with a warming bite.
The crowning moment is the magnificent closer Fade Into the Light; a heart wrenching narrative told in instrumentals, lined with silver and a short vocal narrative of coming to terms. Soft sounding on the border of balladry, its second half pushes a boost of light energy through the rhythm section taking off and Wenttola’s delicious leads and flourishing solos melding with the here and now. While definitely heavier on the emotional pulling of the heartstrings side, Fade into the Light - much like the entire album - also showcases the technical abilities of the trio and some stellar songwriting that focuses less on catchiness or the vocals and all the more on the pull of said musicianship and the weight thrown behind it. I’m not going to rant on here; Here and Now is an extraordinary album in many respects. Its inherent beauty and the mastery of progressive songwriting, feel good atmosphere and musical prowess makes it a must listen in the genre. Do not miss out.
Standout tracks: Straws, Here and Now, Fade Into the Light