It's probably enough to say that guitarist and composer Timo Tolkki is nearly unstoppable, or maybe say you can't keep a good man down. Not so long past is his historic affiliation with that famous power metal band Stratovarius. More recently there was the sometimes uneven Revolution Renaissance project in three parts. Now, prompted by Frontiers Records president Serafino Perugino, Tolkki revisits an concept that Perugino and he considered several years ago. The result is Timo Tolkki's Avalon project (not be confused with a certain other similarly named band who just released The Mystery of Time), and the debut The Land of New Hope, a rock/metal opera.
The concept revolves around a future, nearly dead earth, and survivors in search of The Land of New Hope. The story is played out, of course, in Tolkki's epic and bombastic melodic power metal compositions which effectively blend rock grooves with big melodies and harmonies, large symphonic synth layers, and his own sharp guitar playing.
It's Timo Tolkki in his element and at his best, even with a renewed confidence and vigor. These songs are are some the best he has written in sometime, and certainly better than the majority of the RevRen material.
Tolkki is helped along the way by a powerful cast of musicians. The first being the beautiful and immensely talented Elize Ryd of Amaranthe as the principal vocalist. (Check out the video below). She is joined by several of the best male metal vocalist of a generation including Michael Kiske, Russell Allen, Rob Rock, and Tony Kakko. Another female voice comes with Sharon den Adel of Within Temptation. On keyboards, help comes from Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Derek Sherinian (Black Country Communion, ex-Dream Theater), and Mikko Harkin (Sonata Arctica), and on drums Alex Holzwarth of Rhapsody of Fire.
To the music, there's not much more to add to the aforementioned description, except maybe to say that Tolkki and company have gone to great lengths to make the songs here immensely accessible and catchy. To that end, A World Without Us, Enshrined in Memory (see vid below), In the Name of the Rose, We Will Find a Way, and Shine are powerful and entertaining. Yet the same could be said for inspiring metal ballad I'll Sing You Home. But also not forget Tolkki can always deliver straight forward power metal. You get this with Avalanche Anthem, The Magic of the Night, To the Edge of the Earth and in epic fashion with the closing title track (which could have been made better if Ms Ryd would have been involved in the vocal arrangement).
To repeat earlier comments, The Land of New Hope finds Timo Tolkki better than ever delivering the epic melodic power metal which has made him both pioneer and an icon in the genre. Strongly recommended.
The Land of New Hope finds Timo Tolkki better than ever delivering the epic melodic power metal which has made him both pioneer and an icon in the genre. Strongly recommended.
Resolve marks the return of Allentown's Mindmaze, after a three year hiatus from the studio. Their third album offers a new and stable line up with new drummer Mark Bennett assisting bassist Rich ... [ Read More ]