Oct 042021

Timo Tolkki’s Avalon project returns with another symphonic power metal rock opera project featuring an all-star cast of guest vocalists who shine in this collection of songs.

For those who don’t know, Avalon is a metal opera project of guitarist Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius), and the project has released four full length albums, The Land of New Hope (2013), Angels of the Apocalypse (2014), Return to Eden (2019), and now The Enigma Birth (2021). As these are projects, they have had a variety of guest musicians from the likes of Stratovarious, Sonata Arctica, Dream Theater, but more importantly, the guest vocalists that read like an all-star cast in metal and include, Rob Rock (Impelllitteri), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), Sharon del Adel (Within Temptation), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Floor Jansen (Nightwish),and Simone Simons (Epica). For The Enigma Birth, Tolkki brought in , PelleK, Raphael Mendes (Icon of Sin), Brittney Hayes (Unleash the Archers), Marina La Torraca (Phantom Elite), Jake E (ex-Amaranthe), James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Caternia Nix (Chaos Magic), and Fabio Lione (Rhapsody of Fire).

The Enigma Birth wastes no time jumping right into the epic symphonic power metal Avalon is known for. “Enigma Birth” hits the ground at a breakneck pace with Pellek’s vocals also showing great range in the just the first few moments of the song. Immediately, one can’t help but hear the quality and care put into the production and mixing with vocals, keyboards, drums and bass all coming through clearly. Guitars are a bit too quiet in the mix for my taste which is a bit surprising given Timo Tolkki is a guitarist of renown, but this is a personal taste gripe on my part. As one might imagine, there are solos in the song but not just guitar but some guitar-keyboard trade off and all fitting will within the context of the song.

Continue reading »

Apr 132021

Frontiers Music will release the fourth album from Timo Tolkki’s Avalon, “The Enigma Birth”, on June 18. Again featuring a slew of talented guest vocalists, the album sees the Finnish guitar maestro’s skills on display once again. Today, the first single from the album, ‘Master Of Hell’, featuring up-and-coming Brazilian vocalist Raphael Mendes (Icon Of Sin) has been released. Watch the video below.

Over the past year, Timo started working on songs and once again connected with Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere, Archon Angel, Sweet Oblivion) to craft music for a new album. The new record, “The Enigma Birth”, as with previous Avalon albums, features an absolutely awesome cast of vocalists, including James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Jake E (ex-Amaranthe, Cyrha), Marina La Torraca (Phantom Elite, Exit Eden), Brittney Slayes (Unleash The Archers), Raphael Mendes (Icon Of Sin), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody, Angra, Eternal Idol), Caterina Nix (Chaos Magic) and YouTube vocal star Pellek.

With Lonobile overseeing the production, the main work on “The Enigma Birth” was completed in the winter of 2020. The resulting album is once again everything that you could expect from one of the true masters of the art. You have Tolkki‘s trademark fast songs with super catchy hooks, outstanding mid-tempo songs, and a couple of great power ballads thrown in the mix for a wonderfully balanced album.

Continue reading »

Jul 062019

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. Continue reading »