Rating:
7.5
Timo Tolkki's Avalon - Angels Of The Apocalypse
16 May 2014


01. Song For Eden
02. Jerusalem Is Falling
03. Design The Century
04. Rise Of The 4th Reich
05. Stargate Atlantis
06. You'll Bleed Forever
07. The Paradise Lost
08. Neon Sirens
09. High Above Of Me
10. Angels Of The Apocalypse
11. Garden Of Eden


Loyal to his one-album-per-year rule, Timo Tolkki releases Avalon's sophomore album, once again featuring the crème de la crème of power metal.

The only vocalist featured in last year's album that made it into this one is Amaranthe's rising star Elize Ryd, flanked by such a stunning list of singers as ReVamp and Nightwish's Floor Jansen, Epica's Simone Simons, Virgin Steele's David DeFeis and the recently ubiquitous Fabio Lione. The fact that the separation from Stratovarius is still an open wound is shown by the presence of Antti Ikonen on keys and Tuomo Lassila on drums, two ex-Strato members back in the days of 1994's Dreamspace, just as if Timo just wanted to challenge the current Stratovarius line-up, that now aren't doing too shabby.

Angels Of The Apocalypse, though having a stunningly similar structure as last year's The Land Of The New Hope, is characterized by a way darker atmosphere and an overall heavier sound, which is not a bad thing, recalling how cheesy the aforementioned 2013 album is. This time, moreover, Timo tried to unbind his music from the boundaries of typical power metal, being just "Stargate Atlantis" the first "typical" track here. Continuously jumping from male to female vocalist and from gothic to rockish tendencies, the album strives to remain captivating, sometimes even unsettling the listener due to a feeling of disunity emerging on some occasions.

But this obviously has its positive sides since, if The Land Of The New Hope sounded way too generic, Angels Of The Apocalypse shows off a bunch of interesting ideas, some of which could have been pushed a little more, as in "Rise Of The 4th Reich", also crippled by a somehow weird mix. This last is still dominated by Timo's guitarwork, especially in the solos, even if this is not as blatant as it was in Avalon's debut, where it reached almost painful levels.

Solos deserve a special mention since, finally, Tolkki's guitar sings for us once again. Not with frantic, super-fast duels with keys as those we were used to enjoying in Stratovarius, but with slower, more thoughtful guitar solos that, though risking to end up a little stale in the long run, still maintain their poetry.

Every singer does his duty, without stunning performances such as last year's Kiske or disappointments in Tony Kakko and Russell Allen, again from The Land Of The New Hope, while Tuomo Lassila manages to deliver every time a little more than mere homework and Antti Ikonen is more helpful in song construction than in soloing, and to whom just a little succession of notes is more than enough to show off his skills: it's the case of the simple, slow and beautiful melody that rules the album outro, "Garden Of Eden".

In conclusion, Angels Of The Apocalypse is a really enjoyable album, from start to finish, that suggests that Avalon might really be the best environment for Timo Tolkki, after the experiences in Revolution Renaissance and Symfonia. Anyway, this is still far from Timo's personal Visions.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Timo Tolkki's Avalon
Album: Angels Of The Apocalypse


 



Written on 15.05.2014 by
R Lewis
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.

So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
More reviews by R Lewis ››



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R Lewis - 15.05.2014 at 17:16  
And btw, what's this mania of Tolkki with the 4th Reich? He wrote a song about it already in 1994, in Dreamspace.
PocketMetal - 16.05.2014 at 14:41  
I should give it a listen soon but I don't expect something special.
The Shape 1973 - 16.05.2014 at 22:28  
Not had good reviews on other sites, which nearly put me off completely. Will check out but not holding my breath. There is so much female fronted stuff at the moment that I need to listen to and as far as I can see pisses on this. Epica, Xandria, Delain, DiM and Ancient Bards.
mikeprado30 - 17.05.2014 at 07:19  
Written by PocketMetal on 16.05.2014 at 14:41

I should give it a listen soon but I don't expect something special.


Tolkki always is a surprises bag. He could give something awful (New Era, Stratovarius last album with him, AGE OF AQUARIUS), something nice but no so brilliant (Trinity, In Paradisum, Elements Part I, the first Avalon Album) and something really great (DREAMSPACE, Episode, Visions, DESTINY).

But nowadays his releases are so unstable in quality...
mikeprado30 - 19.05.2014 at 02:54  
And listened the album I could say: ANOTHER MEDIOCRE ALBUM FROM TIMO TOLKKI!!!
BubbaBlack - 01.06.2014 at 23:58  
This doesn't hold a candle to the first Avalon recording. I find myself spacing off and tuning out the music with this album.

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