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TIMO TOLKKI’S AVALON “RETURN TO EDEN” Review

Released by Frontiers Music SRL

Release date : June 14th, 2019

Genre: Power Metal

Links: http://tolkki.org/

Tracklist:

  1. Enlighten
  2. Promises
  3. Return To Eden
  4. Hear My Call
  5. Now And Forever
  6. Miles Away
  7. Limits
  8. We Are The Ones
  9. Godsend
  10. Give Me Hope
  11. Wasted Dreams
  12. Guiding Star

Line-up:

  • Timo Tolkki – Guitars
  • Andrea Buratto – Bass
  • Antonio Agate – Piano, Keyboards
  • Giulio Capone – Drums, Piano, Keyboards
  • Aldo Lonobile – Guitars
  • Todd Michael Hall – Vocals
  • Zachary Stevens – Vocals
  • Mariangela Demurtas – Vocals
  • Anneke Van Giersbergen – Vocals
  • Eduard Hovinga – Vocals

 Finnish musician Timo Tolkki is back with his own Metal Opera after five years of hard work via Frontiers Music. The talented composer known for his legendary years with Stratovarius has fought his own demons and it’s very encouraging to see his return to the music scene with brand new material. “Return To Eden” is the third release of this project, where Tolkki was assisted by Aldo Lonobile of the power metal band Sonic Sphere, a group of Italian musicians and an amazing cast of vocalists.

This new release is based on prominent vocal arrangements and impressive guitar work in combination with bright keyboards, harmonies and symphonic elements all moved by power metal groove. With these twelve brand new tracks, Tolkki shows an obvious tendency of revival of the glorious Stratovarius years. The result is a confident, inspired record in a grandiose, emotional atmosphere which brings back memories from the classic “Visions”, “Destiny” opus era. “Return To Eden” is a great quality album with some sparkles among the songs that prove Timo Tolkki’s inspiration is still intact.

A great part of the audience could think that some ordinary power metal songs brought to the next level by famous singers of the genre brings nothing new to the music scene and the comparison with Avantasia Metal Opera is inevitable. On the other hand, the first single showing the outstanding Todd Michael Hall (Riot V)in great shape performing “Promises” is the best way to present this new album. This is the absolute highlight of the record, even if all tracks included are exceptional. Moreover, the incredible vocal range of Hall in “Now And Forever” and the title track gives a more epic and colourful pace to the amazing compositions of Tolkki. In fact, “Return To Eden” shows an interesting contrast between the interpretations of Hall and Zachary Stevens (ex- Savatage) with the second one in a heavier tone also in the mid tempo “Miles Away” and the faster “Wasted Dreams”.

Another couple of tracks “Limits” and “Give Me Hope” are perfectly adapted to the particular voice of  Eduard Hovinga (ex- Elegy). Maybe some weaker parts could be identified, because of  a neutral and switched-off mood given by Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex- The Gathering) to “Hear My Call” and “We Are The Ones”. On the contrary, Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania) makes a common ballad like “Godsend” sound interesting and gives an epic ending to the record with “Guiding Star”. Despite opinions may vary,  Timo Tolkki’s Avalon new record can only “Enlighten” the music scene, as indicated by the title of the small instrumental intro. “Return To Eden” is a celebration of the return in discography of a great musician, a record that gives the right emotions to the audience. It will not change music history, since there is lack of innovation, but still the great quality and the determination of Timo Tolkki to get the place he deserves are remarkable. Easily recommended for classic power metal fans.

Ratings: 8/10

Written by: Katerina Paisoglou

My Global Mind – Staff Writer

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