Review: “Here And Now” by Joviac

Joviac was formed in late 2016 by frontman Viljami Jupiter Wenttola (Vocals, Guitars, Synths) as a necessary artistic outlet with a strong vision and an unrelenting compulsion to express himself through the medium of music. Initially recording as a two man project with Antti Varjanne (Bass), they released their debut in 2017 before Rudy Fabritius (Drums) signed up to complete the group. The Finnish Progressive Metal trio recording drums for their sophomore album “Here And Now” at the pristine Electric Fox Studiosin Jyväskylä before passing the finished product to Teemu Liekkala (Red Eleven) for mastering and Janne Korpela for mixing. Written over a year having already released standalone single “State Of Mind” as a trio, this new work sees them building on those foundations.

If you’ve heard “Shape Without Form” by Ghost Toast or anything from Norway residents Navian then the beautifully nuanced “Intro” will be familiar territory for you. The beautifully play off between each instrument after the spoken word sample offers so many little parts to formulate on larger whole, it’s very much like Joviac are playing with Lego bricks. There are so many little things that you can’t help but marvel with the child like joy that if offers while it crosses more sub-genres in it’s three and a half minutes than some bands do in an entire career. Of first single “Straws” Viljami Wenttola’s commented: “Straws is probably the song that I’m most proud of on the album. It balances on a razor’s edge between pop and progressive metal, borrowing catchy and simple elements from the former and mixing them with memorable and nuanced elements from the latter. I learned a lot while writing this song, and it somehow pushes all of my buttons in just the right ways. The song deals with the harrowing experience of having a panic attack and frantically trying to get to grips with what’s causing it.” Which is actually the perfect description of the song because it’s bright Progressive Metal chorus is bold while the riffs are very much out of the TesseracT playbook. If you read between the lines, the depth and texture of the lyrics are harrowing and a polar opposite to the bright technicolor soundtrack. “Black Mirror” is similarly musically upbeat with some Alternative Rock riffs elongated into Progressive form creating catchy hooks. If you took Muse, pulled out the Gothic influences and threw in a pinch of CHON, you’d have have what Joviac have created with this song.

Title track “Here And Now” features a special guest guitar solo from Matias Kupiainen of Stratovarius and brings more nuance and craft to the table for a nearly nine minute Progressive Rock masterclass. Bright and bubbly with a therapist reminding you that yesterday doesn’t exist and tomorrow never comes, it’s sunshine bursting through dark clouds. False starts and almost fades make way for some James Bond 007 car chase theme music mid track, while the introspective and intuitive lyrics are the counterbalance. It could be three songs in one and it’s nothing short of epic. “Decay” slows things down for some 80’s pop sensibilities in the form of a funky bass line that is built out by some incredibly fun riffs and drum fills. Longer instrumental passages on this one are permeated by Wenttola doing a strange James Hetfield impersonation mid song before it bursts into poly rhythmic life. Going Progressive Country and Western with the acoustically introduced “Crossfire” which has some glorious electric solo parts is an interesting move, while the lyrics take on anxiety and depression head on with oceanic depth and vibrant texture. There is clearly some cathartic element in the writing of Joviac which gives it greater appeal and gives each song a grit as well as the weight of integrity. “Fade Into The Light” comes across as being a ballad esq moment before it gradually builds into some lead riffs for a final flourish that lights the blue touch paper and gives the band the licence for more musical freedom away from some of their more structured moments [7.5/10]

Track listing

1. Intro (Instrumental)
2. Straws
3. Black Mirror
4. Here And Now (ft. Matias Kupiainen of Stratovarius)
5. Decay
6. Crossfire
7. Fade Into The Light

Here And Now” by Joviac is set for release on on April 3rd 2020 via Inverse Records and is available for pre-order here

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