||TIMO TOLKKI'S AVALON
'Angels Of The Apocalypse'
Release Date: 16th May 2014
Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke
Timo Tolkki is a very busy and industrious individual who is recognised as being a Finnish producer and composer plus the former guitarist with Stratovarius.
After unveiling his debut album under the moniker of Timo Tolkki's Avalon entitled 'The Land Of New Hope' last year, here he is again to grace us with the sophomore release. It is more of the same, lavish production values and pomposity galore with some sweeping melodies and several guests.
Lead vocals are shared between newest Nightwish singer Floor Jansen ('Design The Century'), Simone Simons from the band Epica, Fabio Lione – Italian vocalist known for his work with Rhapsody of Fire, main man in Virgin Steele David DeFeis, Zachary Stevens known for his time with Savatage amongst others and Elize Ryd who worked with Amaranthe and Kamelot and was featured heavily on 'The Land Of New Hope' plus Caterina Nix who is a new name to catch the eye of those who appreciate strong female lead singers. She is from Chile with German ancestry and is known for her physical beauty in conjunction with her vocal beauty.
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'Angels Of The Apocalypse' is a concept album and described as a Metal Opera, with a grand idea to match the ambition of the music.
Jump into the future to the year 2020 AD and become seduced by the notion that four angels have been sent to Earth by The Elements to observe us all, to process and digest why we make the decisions we do and the impacts they have on those around us and the planet. The four angels are known as Fire, Wind, Earth and Water with each angel given a voice by one of the collective lead singers. The scope of this project is something to be respected as it attempts to tread in the same sort of shoes as Ayreon or perhaps Avantasia.
From the point of the music on show, it is a valiant attempt to be extravagant and epic with plenty of bombast and intent. There are strictly nine songs with one introduction and a final piece acting as bookends to the main section in the middle. 'Jerusalem Is Falling' thumps hard as it drives onwards. The following song is the first single 'Design The Century' which provides a sufficient hook and carries a solid arrangement.
The title track is the moment where the album offers something truly ostentatious taking the listener on a journey lasting for just under nine and a half minutes. Other highlights include the tender and powerful ballad 'You'll Bleed Forever' and 'Neon Sirens' which possesses an anthem-like quality incorporated amongst the prevalent guitars.
This release compounds what was started last year, and is for those who appreciate the qualities of Avantasia and bands of that ilk. If you have an ear for strong melodies and convoluted storylines providing an added dimension to the listening experience, then there's something to get out of hearing 'Angels Of The Apocalypse'.
The artwork and album title are striking, the music has its moments too insuring there's good reason to investigate further. Ultimately though, it's not a classic no matter how hard Tolkki tries. All the ingredients are here to make sure this is a special album but they don't quite pull off what is expected.
Song For Eden
Jerusalem Is Falling
Design The Century
Rise Of The 4th Reich
The Paradise Lost
You'll Bleed Forever
High Above Of Me
Angels Of The Apocalypse
Garden Of Eden