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Timo Tolkki´s Avalon: The Land of New Hope | FESTIVALPHOTO

Timo Tolkki´s Avalon: The Land of New Hope




In AD 2055 most big cities on earth are either flooded or destroyed by earthquakes and fire. Total destruction is a fact. Small groups of survivors set out on a quest to find a sacred place of fairytales known as “The Land of New Hope”. The seekers will find peril as well as their ultimate destiny. This story was conjured up by Timo Tolkki as he was approached by Frontiers in the summer of 2012. The metal opera is supposed to magnify and make the old STRATOVARIUS sound more symphonic and grandiose. Along for the ride are the likes of Michael Kiske (UNISONIC), Elize Ryd (AMARANTHE), Rob Rock (IMPELLITTERI, solo), Russell Allen (SYMPHONY X), Sharon den Adel (WITHIN TEMPTATION), Tony Kakko (SONATA ARCTICA), Jens Johansson (STRATOVARIUS), Derek Shirinian (BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION) etc. Is this as impressive as the musicians partaking?

From the first note onwards it is clear that they will stop at nothing to be grandiose. The power metal on offer has come a long way since the mirror shattering falsetto of Kai Hansen, and is very ESC friendly at times. This is not even power metal for the most part, if you ask me. Instead the main ingredient is well arranged and well executed melodic heavy metal with a caressing touch to it. The refrains are there, “A World Without Us”, The Magic of the Night”, To the Edge of the Earth” are all prime examples of this. “In the Name of the Rose” is a bit too much, a bit BLACKMORE´s NIGHT even, as the high pitched female voice and the sheer stubbornness of the refrain is quite annoying after a while. The Finnish nineties of “Shine” is also an odd bird that seems out of place on this album. The album closer pretty much sums things up. The project surely aims high here, as the song grows in intensity. The epic mid-pace continues and pomp takes over. The voice is quite strained as things evolve and it all hovers betwixt Kai Hansen and total grandeur. Maybe this is a case of wanting to squeeze everything in? This aside I actually enjoyed myself far more now than in the cracked high pitched shrieks that were legion in the childhood of the genre. I think most people will take sides about this album.

Track List
Avalanche Anthem
A World Without Us
Enshrined in My Memory
In the Name of the Rose
We Will Find a Way
The Magic of the Night
To the Edge of the Earth
I´ll Sing You Home
The Land of New Hope

Writer: Mikael Johansson
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