Let me begin by saying that I still haven't heard Paatos' critically acclaimed album, Kallocain, produced by Porcupine Tree genius Steven Wilson. It garnered nothing but excellent reviews from the press worldwide, and I can safely say that, after buying and enjoying Timeloss immsensely, I will be checking out Kallocain as well.
Timeloss is the Swedish band's debut reissue by Inside Out with an extended booklet and a bonus video of the song "Hypnotique". Before I played the album, I took a look in the booklet and saw they thanked bands like Opeth, Mikael Akerdeldt, Anekdoten and Katatonia amongst others. Thus, I kind of knew what to expect from this disc. With a female singer named Petronella Nettermalm (who also plays some cello) that reportedly sounds like Bjork (though I wouldn't know since I've never heard any Bjork albums) and her husband Huxflux Nettermalm behind the drums, Paatos' debut immediately reminds me of three bands: Landberk, Anekdoten, and King Crimson. I also hear a good dose of Damnation-era Opeth here. Repeated listens, however, revealed that Timeloss is more attached to the Landberk sound with more restrained guitar playing. The heavy use of mellotron blended with jazzy drumming and bass figures and slight touches of post-rock make this 39-minute disc quite enjoyable. It's very easy to listen to it; and it's this what sets it apart from bands like King Crimson and their 90's pioneers Anekdoten.
Petronella's vocals are very soft, almost fragile. She sings in a very low key and almost whispers the lyrics at some parts. Her voice fits the music excellently though. Her husband Huxflux Nettermalm is also the main songwriter, both lyrics and music, and a great drummer. His playing in the end of "Téa" (which is the name of their daughter from what I read) is very palatable. "Téa" is also a song with Swedish lyrics only but it really doesn't detract from the song, since I rarely listen to the words Petronella sings, but more to her delivery.
Former Landberk guitarist Reine Fiske plays sparse, delicate guitar notes reminiscent of 70's German bands. The guitar playing is rather controlled though, as the music on Timeloss is more mellotron-heavy. The symphonic keys on "Hypnotique" mixed with avant-jazz drums and Petronella's cello are really beautiful. Fans of Paatos should give Steven Wilson's Blackfield project a listen if they like this track (except that Blackfield is a lot more progressive). The clarinet-supported "They Are Beautiful" bathes in seas of mellotron soundscapes created by Johan Wallen who also plays the piano, hammond and synthesizers. His electric piano on the 12-minute number "Quits" is one of the most exciting moments on this disc. It strangely reminds me of Pain of Salvation's frenzied keyboard intro on "Inside".
The last song "Quits" is the most modern sounding tune. It features programmed drumming with strange beats and loops. The song delves into a jazzy experimental section with the addition of saxophone, trumpet and trombone in its second half. Nordic folk elements abound the composition secretly revealing the band's Scandinavian roots. I've been playing this for nearly three months and now it's time to pick up the follow-up, Kallocain, produced by one of the most talented musicians around, Steven Wilson.