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Album Review: Timo Tolkki's Avalon - Angels Of The Apocalypse

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Timo Tolkki’s Avalon - Angels Of The Apocalypse

Written by Dave Smiles

Angels of the Apocalypse details the events that occurred before the story within the previously released album The Land of New Hope. It is the middle section of a trilogy written by ex-Stratovarius founder, guitarist Timo Tolkki. Doing a trilogy in reverse about the downfall and rebuilding of human-kind is interesting since you’re obviously giving the ending away. However it is often the cause, rather than the destination itself that is more interesting.

This album is much darker and heavier in tone than its predecessor; perfect for the subject matter involving the world’s downfall. What brings a contrasting sense of beauty to this theme is the impassioned vocal performances from Floor Jansen, Elize Ryd and Simone Simons, and Zachary Stevens, David DeFeis and Fabio Lione. If that line up isn’t enough for you, and you’re an old school fan of Stratovarious (87 to 96), drummer Tuomo Lassila and keyboardist Antti Ikonen play throughout this album.

The intro, A Song For Eden, is a 46 second lament from Fabio Lione which sets a yearning for the innocence of times past before it merges into Jerusalem is Falling which sets the feel for the rest of the album with grand orchestrations. A fitting style for a story set on a global and biblical scale.

Design The Century creates a moody and foreboding atmosphere for which Floor Jansen brings to the next level as she sings ‘Looking back to history/No way to make this work anymore.’ Likewise within Rise Of The 4Th Reich David DeFeis pleads ‘Oh, can't you see the signs/Oh, can't you hear the lies/That's been fed to you/Mass media corrupted/Politicians hide/You should hear my call'. It also brings the listener away from the ‘fantasy’ set up by the previous album by foreshadowing the dangers facing the modern world. The track also has some serious shredding from Tolkki.

Tolkki is considered one of the fastest players in the world, but in recent years seems interested in examining other forms of musical dynamics. The debate has raged for years over what is more important – speed or emotion – and if the two can co-exist. Well, the solo in You’ll Bleed Forever might not be fast, but it certainly has emotion and instantly grabs your attention and brings you into the next section of the song.

High Above Me begins to wind the story down with Caterina Nix, Elize Ryd and Simone Simons trading verses. The beauty of their voices brings a sense of calm to otherwise bleak lyrics like ‘Winter haze is covering the landscape/That once was vibrant, alive/Now it is just a memory for me.’ The epic title track follows bringing with it an apocalyptic climax as Jansen leads the aforementioned trio towards the end of the world.

It’s a solid and gripping story told within an intense musical landscape of intricate compositions, which has left me wondering what the next instalment will bring, and how a trilogy created in reverse can have its crowning piece at the beginning of the tale.

Categories: Album Reviews

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