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Timo Tolkki's Avalon - The Land Of New Hope Award winner

Timo Tolkki's Avalon
The Land Of New Hope
by YngwieViking at 20 May 2013, 3:22 PM

With an incredible emphasis in emotional parts, a stunning melodic lyricism and a particular efficiency in the bombastic moments, the first chapter of the concept-project-trilogy AVALON called “The Land Of New Hope” is another great proof that this kind of choral album (or called it Metal Opera) is now a genre of its own, but also a great success both artistically yet also business-wise. The prototype model is clearly Tobias Sammet’s AVANTASIA latest works (“Enshrined in My Memory”). With a narrative interaction between the characters, but not too conceptual or hermetical, the material is essentially focalized on the songwriting magic more than everything else, with a new founded cohesion and a unity that was missing sometimes before and a really strong focus on grandiloquent memorable chorus, with full hit-singles hooks, highly sticking melodies and tenacious appeal that strikes you instantly.

In fact, it’s a new era for the Finnish Mastermind and his bunch, Timo Tolkki’s AVALON delivers some jaw dropping hot epic orchestrated Metal in a grandiose way with still a Rockin’ edge, as he was playing here what could have been his last chance, and I think he perfectly succeed in regaining his credibility as an artist a songwriter but also as a fantastic guitar player. The clever casting of the most renowned singers is as always impressive on paper but also very homogenous musically as each protagonist complete perfectly the other in a solid heavenly matching chemistry, the vocal complementarity is one of the best you could imagine (“In the Name Of The Rose”) and at the end of the day it’s very difficult to say which male vocalist is the most impressive but, maybe I believe, that Rob Rock absolutely takes the best out of himself (“The Magic Of The Night”) followed very near by Sir Russell Allen (“A World Without Us”) but both Kiske (“The Land of New Hope ”) and Tony Kakko (“We Will Find a Way ”) performances are amazing too. On the other hand the girls battle competition winner is the lovely Miss Elyse Ryd (“Shine”), no question: she absolutely nailed it, her emotional and technical prowess are flawless. Elyse even appears here as the true focal point of that release and I bet that she will play a major role in the whole saga to come that Tolkki has concocted.

The musicianship level is also pretty high with numerous Neo-classics lead guitar spots, a constant barrage of double kick pulse and most of all a head turning RISING FORCE’s like pyrotechnic duel between Tolkki and the maestro Jens Johansson in the middle of the hugely catchy song “Edge OF The World”. The evident musical comparison with HELLOWEEN / STRATOVARIUS / NIGHTWISH or the criminally underrated REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE is obviously valid. Obvious because as an active early originator and one of the forefather of that style, Tolkki still holds the ancestral recipe of that Power Metal style brilliantly and know perfectly all the subtle tricks to provide a fantastic collection of song with enough addictive themes and blistering Metallic skills (“Avalanche Anthem”) to please every starving Headbangers and even the most of avid & demanding fans.

Apparently the telling is working backwards, so the story is already over, and the rest of the trilogy quest will run counter wise with prequels and flashbacks, so two more Metal Operas are likely to follow: Parts II and III should be very interesting indeed.

The conceptual side isn’t too complex and very friendly, easy to catch with a great positive message and also an ecologist warning in order to save our planet, but honestly I don’t really think it's that important to fully appreciate the album, nevertheless the backbone of the story is a very interesting odyssey of a few survivors in a devastated civilization in 2055, a futuristic tale about a dystopian post-apocalyptic world, with enough variety and dynamics in the sound to erase the programmed obsolescence trap, capitalizing on the strength of each cuts independently, by contrast, I’ll wait and hope for a tour, as the live rendition of a few tracks here could have been a revelation for their potential as future classic stage anthems.

Once again, big applause for the Italians at Frontiers Records and their leader, Seraphino P.; whom demonstrated that they have the guts and enough dedication to going beyond the call of duty, with a more risky & perilous creative project than their monthly batch of safe and expected albums, a platter that finally reveals as to be one of the 2013 Cornerstones, indubitably recommended.

4 Star Rating

1. Avalanche Anthem
2. A World Without Us
3. Enshrined in My Memory
4. In the Name of the Rose
5. We Will Find a Way
6. Shine
7. The Magic of the Night
8. To the Edge of the Earth
9. I'll Sing You Home
10. The Land of New Hope
Timo Tolkki – Lead Guitar / Bass
Russell Allen – Lead Vocals
Elize Ryd - Lead Vocals
Rob Rock - Lead Vocals
Tony Kakko - Lead Vocals
Sharon Den Adel - Lead Vocals
Michael Kiske - Lead Vocals
Jens Johansson - Keyboards
Derek Sherinian - Keyboards
Mikko Härkin - Keyboards
Alex Holzwarth - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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