Sunday, May 18, 2014

Timo TOLKKI's Avalon: "Angels Of The Apocalypse"

Rating: RRr
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

What? yet another Avalon? Angels of The Apocalypse? I wonder what Bryan Ferry thinks about all this? Never mind. Too busy trying out his suit of the day. The former Stratovarius' creator and six-string bender return with the second album of the Metal Opera concept with a sound and bombastic music in an even more symphonic metal mood, even though from the beginning there was the idea to go in a heavier and darker direction which better fits the Apocalyptic scenarios described in this new album. The four angels to watch mankind and its destructive behaviour are named after the elements – Fire, Wind, Earth and Water (EZO?). Mankind gets its final warning before judgement day and the Pandora's Box is opened and the forces of Nature (Angels?) are unleashed.

Ehh. Yes. Excellent. Whatever. Most of these stories are whack anyhow. However. The fine vocal cast include the new Nightwish singer Floor Jansen, Simone Simons (Epica), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody Of Fire), David DeFeis (Virgin Steele), Zachary Stevens (Savatage, Circle II Circle), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Chilean singer Caterina Nix, who is working on her debut album which is also produced by Tolkki (surprise, surprise!). It's the over-the-top story and concept album with songs such as, "The Rise of The 4th Reich", except that Defries (Virgin Steele) sings "rike" (rhymes with bike) and it's clearly not the German pronouncement at play. The second rate Manowar anthem or if you prefer Virgin Steele?

It's always difficult to turn a grand concept on paper to the real, emotionally charged music album generated by all those different musicians and singers. Tolkki certainly has the know-how at his best and some of these tracks are just outstanding. Impressive guitar work as always throughout the album. Hardly everything that glitter is gold though. "You'll Bleed Forever" is the ambitious ballad gone wrong as you've literally heard the melody a thousand times before. "High Above Me" is the proper ballad of the album. "Neon Sirens" takes a lot from Yngwie at first (intro) before it goes straight down the abyss and to the bin. There's a obvious love for a good Meat Loaf styled story within this album. It's never quite 'there' though and the ladies of the album comes to Tolkki's rescue (more than once) with some excellent vocal performances.

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