Genre: Metal Opera
Metal Traveller Rating: (4/5 - Very good)
After leaving Stratovarius, Timo Tolkki has been busy with Symphonia and Revolution Renaissance, but his previous release dated from 2011.
There were even some rumours saying that he might never record again... So, what has Timo been preparing during this time? Well, no more no less than a Metal Opera!
That’s not an easy project! It’s important to have a combination of good songs, vocal lines made for different singers, and a good story.
Regarding the singers, Timo has gathered some great names like Russell Allen (Symphony X), Rob Rock (Impelliteri), Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation), Elyze Ryd (Amaranthe) and the unique Michael Kiske (Unisonic).
The music is played by renowned performers as well, like Derek Sherinian (ex-Dream Theather, Black Country Communion), Mikko Härkin (Sonata Arctica) and Jens Johansson from Timo’s former band, Stratovarius.
On drums, we’ve got Alex Hozwarth from Rhapsody Of Fire, while Timo himself took care of all guitars and bass lines.
The story is a very interesting concept, which mixes reality and fantasy. It’s set in 2055, as several cataclysms have destroyed the earth, survivors are on a quest for this place called “The Land Of new Hope”.
Musically, I hope you weren’t waiting for a lost Stratovarius album, because it’s not the case.
Basically, it’s a Power Metal album, but Timo explores new sounds, resulting in a very diverse album.
The record starts with Avalanche Anthem, a fast song with a great and surprising chorus. It’s followed by A World Without Us, which is a real highlight. It's going to be the released as a single!
We Will Find A Way is another fast song with a chorus that’s easy to remember, while different singers make To The Edge Of The World an outstanding song.
There are also great softer tunes. Shine is a very good one, but the best example is Enshrined In My Memory. This song is performed by Elyze Ryd and her performance is outstanding. A video clip is already available.
Nevertheless, I think that the last two songs of the record lack some of the strength of the previous songs. I Sing You Home is a beautiful ballad, but it doesn’t sound like rock.
And finally, the song that gives its name to the album, The Land Of New Hope, had a undoubtedly much more potential.
The song starts with a blasting intro. Then there’s a soft part where Michael Kiske starts to sing. It goes crescendo during the verse and then comes the chorus. These are the first ingredients to have a great epic song. But instead of changing guitar riffs and grandiose solos, the structure of the song is stick to a classic form. It’s still a good song, but it’s a shame because it could have been a much better one!
For his first Metal Opera attempt, I’d say that Timo Tolkki did a good job. Some features could have been more developed, but there’s no doubt that high quality work has been done.
One thing is certain: This is Timo Tolkki’s return and fans won’t be disappointed!
Timo Tolkki's Avalon Line-up:
Timo Tolkki – Guitar and Bass
Alex Holzwarth – Drums
Jens Johansson – Keyboards
Derek Sherinian– Keyboards
Mikko Härkin – Keyboards
Michael Kiske – Vocals
Elize Ryd – Vocals
Rob Rock – Vocals
Russell Allen – Vocals
Sharon Den Adel – Vocals
Tony Kakko – Vocals
01. Avalanche Anthem
02. A World Without Us
03. Enshrined In My Memory
04. In The Name Of The Rose
05. We Will Find A Way
07. The Magic Of The Night
08. To The Edge Of The Earth
09. I'll Sing You Home
10. The Land Of New Hope