• 9/10
    KOTIPELTO & LIIMATAINEN - Blackoustic - 9/10


Release date: October 19, 2012

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Timo Kotipelto, the eloquent front man of the legendary Stratovarius teamed up with former Sonata Arctica guitarist Jani Liimatainen to create a very unique acoustic duo. The team has been playing acoustic live shows for a while with overwhelming fan response. As a result, the duo decided to release an acoustic studio album using songs chosen from their live set-list. Although acoustic albums traditionally have a poor response from the Metal world, Blackoustic certainly turns heads given the serene and delicate quality surrounding the compositions and production.

All of the songs from Blackoustic are covers, except for “Where My Rainbow Ends” written by Liimatainen . Interestingly, this ballad was originally written as an instrumental track. The lyrics were added specifically for this album as he re-arranged it into an acoustic recording. The other tracks on the album envelop many diverse styles of music. There are Classic Rock covers, Stratovarius covers, as well as a traditional Finnish melody; all of which blend together to create a very soothing, melodic album.

Even though the album isn’t performed live, there is still a great, organic feel to each track. There are literally no other instruments performed expect acoustic guitars and vocals. Liimatainen comes off as a natural talent when performing each song. All of the guitar work is seamless and flawless, and even though there are many instances of overdubs and layers of guitar melodies, the simple enchantment of a basic acoustic guitar played to absolute precision shines through.

Of course Kotipelto has been commended on many levels for his outstanding work as the Stratovarius vocalist. His work on Blackoustic exemplifies his already immense talent. Like the guitars, there are layers and multiple vocal harmonies in several parts, but there is enough intrinsic method to produce some of the most striking and impressive singing to date from Kotipelto. One of the best examples of this can be heard during the Stratovarius cover “Coming Home.” Kotipelto’s intensely expressive vocals are taken to the next level. The use of vocal harmonies is prevalent through most of the chorus, but it clearly enhances the emotional level of the song.

One of the great surprises on Blackoustic is the cover of Deep Purple’s “Perfect Strangers.” Most know this as a persistent Hard Rock song with huge instrumentation. Hearing this song stripped down in an acoustic manner clearly gives full appreciation for the enormous talent of these two musicians. It’s one thing to cover an already acoustic song, however, it’s quite another to re-arrange a familiar, complex melody and personalize it to such a superior degree.

Given that Blackoustic is a 100% pure acoustic album, it may not be for every Metal fan. The album does however deserve very high marks not only for their talent, but also their bravery to put themselves on such a risky threshold, and walk away with a highly exceptional product. Anyone that is a fan of music should be able to offer full appreciation for this album.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

    View all posts

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.