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'Chaos Magic'
(Frontiers) Release Date: 3rd July 2015

Ian Sutherland

ian sutherland

chaos magic

Timo Tolkki spent twenty years as guitarist and mainstay of Finnish power metal band Stratovarius before parting ways with them in 2008. Since then he has become one of those musicians who revels in being part of projects featuring multiple musicians which allow him to bring his song writing, producer and studio skills to the fore.

These have included Revolution Renaissance, Symfonia and the star studded Avalon albums featuring such names as Russell Allan, Sharon den Adel and Michael Kiske. Hidden away among the vocal stars on the Avalon album 'Angels Of The Apocalypse' was Chilean newcomer Catarina Nix and Tolkki must have been impressed as Chaos Magic is a new project which he has written and produced for her.

Musically this album is not a million miles away from the other projects from the Finnish guitar master and there are plenty of epic moments and nods to his power Metal background. The overall vibe though is often reminiscent of Within Temptation material with an ethereal vocal soaring over a haunting symphonic style back drop. 'Dangerous Game' is a good example of this but there is also 'One Drop Of Blood' with its chugging riff which is more like Within Temptation's more modern sound from 'The Unforgiving' onwards.

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'I'm Alive' is an attempt at a more commercial sort of symphonic Metal song with it's catchy chorus and added electronic samples driving it along. 'A Little Too Late' is cut from the same cloth while 'Passionflow' keeps the electrobeats but goes more into that more measured epic symphonic metal style with Ms Nix going all out for those high notes.

All this is well and good, the songs are pretty strong and for me Tolkki related material is always worth a listen. However my problem with this album is that is really designed as a showcase for the vocal talents of Ms Nix and it has to be said that in a genre packed with outstanding female singers she's nothing special. Compared with Floor Jansen and Simone Simons and given the aim of much of this material Sharon den Adel she just isn't in the same class. I really wanted to like this album but even at her best on the haunting 'Dead Memories' and the inevitable symphonic power metal ballad 'From The Stars' she just doesn't cut it for me.

Vocals are a very personal thing when listening to music and there must be people out there who love this South American beauty's voice to give her such a high quality showcase as this. To my ears however Timo Tolkki has given her an excellent platform on which to shine and the best I can say is that she's not bad. Have a listen if you're a Tolkki fan and make up your own mind.

Line up:
Caterina Nix – Lead Vocals
Timo Tolkki – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards
Jami Huovinen – Drums




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