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Timo Tolkki's Avalon - Angels Of The Apocalypse

Timo Tolkki's Avalon
Angels Of The Apocalypse
by Daniel Fox / Yngweiviking at 02 June 2014, 8:11 AM

DANIEL FOX (9/10)

Timo Tolkki's new musical vehicle, AVALON, is already a much-talked-about name within the various metal forums. 2014 sees the continuation of his 'metal opera' project; a sequel to "The Land of New Hope" titled "Angels of the Apocalypse", which sees a return Elise Ryd, along with the introduction of Floor Jansen as the new lead character. To further my pre-emptive delight is the remaining roster of well-known vocalists. To compare this work to AVANTASIA is folly; it tells its own tale.

As much as focusing on particular tracks may detract from the bigger picture, like its predecessor, a couple of comparatively weaker songs were outshone by a good number of excellent pieces. The first of these is "Jerusalem is Falling"; to my delight and surprise, this powerful anthem features the infinite vocals of Fabio Lione. It is seemingly hard to foster a power metal project without recruiting such a singer along for the ride. "Design the Century" was the first taster I had, the adornment of vocals taken on by new lead Floor Jansen; if her fame is not obvious, you have some catching up to do! A mystical and majestic mid-tempo jive with a heavy WITHIN TEMPTATION feel, the chorus leaves little expectations out; powerful and weightless as the eagle flies (free?). So far, I am noticing an endearing factor about Timo's new work; one of Neo-Classical's best guitarists,  this is by no means "just another" solo album made by an accomplished guitarist or vocalist; while his exceptional guitar parts make appearances, they leave breathing room for the album's stellar cast.

"You'll Bleed Forever" is the token, slow-moving glide that I had expected by now. While Floor is capable of an aggressive voice suited for heavier metal as well as the notoriously difficult-to-hit notes within NIGHTWISH's discography, clearly Timo knew what he was doing when he appointed her to sing this track. Her experience as a vocalist shines through as her obvious versatility; a requirement to transition from the dramatics of "The Paradise Lost" to the somber flickering of this track. The title track is one of the highlights of this album; a gargantuan melding of a lot of the melodic Metal genres imaginable, it features impressively complex melodic progressions and multi-layered arrangements between orchestration, instrumentation and vocals; not to mention a grouping of my three favorite female voices in Elize, Simone and Floor. In 9 minutes, it sums up Timo's wealth of knowledge and creativity as a composer, and dwarfs even some of the superior tracks in the opera's catalogue in greatness.

You can talk all you want about the abundance of thematic and opera albums in the metal scene, but Timo is definitely onto something here.

YNGWEIVIKING (4/10)

I was a strong supporter of the first part of that trilogy iniciated last year (my rating was  9 out of 10), but this second part isn't really in the same category. Indeed this new one is clearly a sub par product. A fast written, careless recorded disc with the same sound mistakes as Tolkki’s produced, RING OF FIRE’s latest early this year, but way way under in the songwriting department.

The performances are still ok, but the song writing is average 2 or 3 rung under the previous album "The Land of New Hope ". It’s a shame as it’s not giving justice to Timo Tolkki's legacy and to his obvious composing talent. This is not captivating at all and it’s pretty weak in terms of creativity like "Saana-Warrior of Light" in a less interesting mood : go figure!

The quality of the songs could be eventually discussed but the sonic flaw and the production failure is a cold fact…I'm afraid !

Indeed the production is truly sloppy, the sound dynamic varies too much from one track to the other. The vocals are not well mixed, the worst example is the song "Rise of the 4th Reich" featuring David DeFeis (from the mighty VIRGIN STEELE) which sounds like the first take of a third rate demo, where the recording seems very amateurish and unprocessed.What a waste of talent !

Timo Tolkki lost his cleverness here, the impact of this song was totally wasted by a messy keyboard layers that eat everything else and an absence of dynamic. And what about the stupid analogy with the G.W.Bush "axis of evil" speech in the middle…Absurd!

Fabio Lione’s "Jerusalem is Falling" & "Neon Sirens" (feat. Zak Stevens from CIRCLE II CIRCLE/ex SAVATAGE) are the only ok songs, the rest is pretty lacklustre and quite redondant. Some lead guitar breaks are still great, but generally it's a letdown regrettably ruined by an amateurish sound work. Too bad!

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Song for Eden
2. Jerusalem is Falling
3. Design the Century
4. Rise of the 4th Reich
5. Stargate Atlentis
6. The Paradise Lost
7. You'll Bleed Forever
8. Neon Sirens
9. High Above of Me
10. Angels of the Apocalypse
11. Garden of Eden
Lineup:
Timo Tolkki – Guitars, Bass
Elize Ryd – Vocals
Floor Jansen – Vocals
Simone Simons – Vocals
Fabio Lione – Vocals
David DeFeis – Vocals
Caterina Nix – Vocals
Zachary Stevens – Vocals
Tuomo Lassila – Drums
Antti Ikonen – Keyboards
Record Label: Frontiers Records
     


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Edited 20 November 2019
 

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