Guitarist extraordinaire Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius) returns with the final installment of his symphonic metal trilogy Avalon project in the album Return to Eden.
Before getting into this album, I had no idea it was the third part of a trilogy, whose first two albums have not been exactly enthusiastically received, and after learning that I can see many of the same flaws in Return to Eden as others have made against the first two albums, “The Land of New Hope” and “Angels of the Apocalypse”. Those first two albums featured well known vocalists for guest spots including the likes of Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), and Floor Jansen (Nightwish) and some of the legendary guitar work expected from Timo but many thought the music in general seemed forced and seemed to lack that certain spark. After listening to Return to Eden, I was struck by some amazing guitar work as one might expect from a guitarist who once made a “50 fastest guitarists” list, but in general there seemed to be a lack of passion and intensity. Every part of the songs seemed to be scripted with the band just reading along and following the script…albeit to near perfection.