HOUSE OF MIRRORS (PJ Rautiainen) – Nightflight To Paradise + Desolation [Japan Edition]
With the recent PJ Rautiainen solo album posted here, some of you requested the two CD he recorded with HOUSE OF MIRRORS; “Nightflight To Paradise” and “Desolation”. This band from Finland was in fact a duo consisting of PJ on vocals & songwriting and guitarist / songwriter Jaakko Niitemaa accompanied by seasoned musicians.
Each album are pretty different, “Nightflight To Paradise” is in a true Scandi AOR tradition, while “Desolation” has a harder approach.
The overall sound on “Nightflight To Paradise” is Nineties AOR, with strong guitar riffs driving the songs and abundance of keyboards, with PJ smooth vocals and harmonies all over.
Just to mention some influences, ‘Spirit Of Freedom’ should be the most ‘Americanized’ song here and a highlight, with a multi-layered chorus in the vein of Two Fires.
Midtempo ‘Glory Days” brings to mind Denander / Radioactive first album, while the power balald ‘Deep Inside’ has a typical Scandi flavor with some Talk Of The Town on it.
The AOR waves in ‘Top Of The World’ makes this track a favorite for me, then melodic rocker ‘Top Of The World’ brings to my mind another Scandinavian act; Sayit. Title track ‘Nightflight To Paradise’ is just another pure AOR song, midpaced with synth flourishes and clean vocals.
There’s a couple of faster numbers too, like ‘Searching For My Soul’ or ‘Move On’ yeat always melodic.
For “Desolation” House Of Mirrors hardened their sound, and production is groovier. The Scandi AOR elements are still there, like in the strong ‘Fallen Leaf’ with keys giving magic to the chorus, the power ballad ‘Where Are You Now’, anthemic, akin Hardline II.
Songs like ‘Waiting In The Wings’ or ‘Sparks Will Fly’ are melodic hard rockers with muscle, much like Fate’s Scratch N Sniff era, however these guys had a melodic rock heart and highlight ‘Masquerade’ is a song in this style’s purest form (think commercial TNT or Tommy Denander).
If you like AOR on the slightly heavier side but drowning with keys you’ll love House Of Mirrors. Their first album is definitely Scandi AOR, while the second more melodic hard rock oriented.
It’s a Scandinavian sounding band for sure, and add to the aforementioned influences some Bonfire, Fair Warning, etc.
Nightflight To Paradise:
01 – Intro
02 – Spirit Of Freedom
03 – Glory Days
04 – Heart Is The Key
05 – Deep Inside
06 – Top Of The World
07 – Deliverance
08 – Alive
09 – Long Lost Love
10 – Searching For My Soul
11 – Nightflight To Paradise
12 – Move On
01 – Desolation
02 – Fallen Leaf
03 – Broken Soul
04 – Where Are You Now
05 – Waiting In The Wings
06 – On The Red Line
07 – Gone With The Summer
08 – These Chains
09 – Masquerade
10 – Sparks Will Fly
11 – Heart To Heart
Pekka Rautiainen – Vocals
Jaakko Niitemaa – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Jonne Valtonen – Keyboards
Juha Paananen, Jankke Kuismin – Bass
Jimbo Makelainen, Rasmus Puranen – Drums