There's no doubt in my mind
that Timo Tolkki is one of the best and most influential song writers in power
metal of all time, and the accolades he received in Stratovarius were all
well-deserved. Then disaster struck and he had to face his demons, once out of
the darkness came a changed man, but I still feel he has lost his musical
direction and is struggling to get back on track.
All the foundations for a
great melodic metal album are surely in place again, just like on the first
Timo Tolkki's Avalon album "The Land of New Hope" in 2013, this album
features a plethora of established guests:
Tuomo Lassila, Antti Ikonen, Floor Jansen, Simone
Simons, Fabio Lione, David DeFeis, Zachary Stevens, Elize Ryd and Caterina Nix.
And the vocalists delivers on their own terms, some better than other, but it is
probably a matter of taste, who you personally like the most.
Where I am finding it hard to be excited is in
the song writing department, because the deliverance is top-notch and Timo is
still an extremely gifted guitarist. But I do think there's too many dull
moments on the album. "Angels of the Apocalypse" never really ignites; sure
there's sugar and candy for melodic metal fans on the album, but as a whole it's
simply not moving me.
Every project he has
undertaken since leaving Statovarius; Saana, Revolution Renaissance, Symphonia
and this has left me wishing for him to get back on the right track again, but
much to my disbelief he is still a bit off as a song-writer, in my humble
opinion off course. A shame really because we all know what he is capable of, he
just hasn't delivered in some time. But do give this one a listen...