Looks like Timo Tolkki
's desperately trying to compensate for all his psycho crap and whinings to his fans. I remember that when he left Stratovarius
and released the "opera of his lifetime" called "Saana - Warrior
pt.1" (and I still pray that pt. 2 will never see the light of day), I made a bet that he'll never succeed in releasing something more impersonal and stony. Well, he gradually didn't, but man, with each next release it looks like he sure is aiming for it. Despite
those several Revolution Renaissance
albums had at least some signs of decent playing (which 'surprisingly' turned out to be performed by Timo's producer???), they were nowhere near to being even halfway solid compared to what that guitarist and composer is, or was, capable of.
Surely it's wrong to judge an album by its cover, but in this case it's almost inevitable as it is a pure testimony of the music itself. Really, a copy/pasted color gamma and background from Strato's "Infinity
" along with lots of similarities to the "Elements
" figures? Same visuals, bad thing is that it doesn't even end there. The instrumental background is awfully close to being a full-time imitation of classic Stratovarius
songs or even entire albums of old and before someone shouts that it was namely Tolkki responsible for those records in question, bear in mind that there is no glory in being a copycat of yourself, no matter the terms nor the band, and Symfonia
is far from being an exception. And
as if that's not enough, the last drop comes with the horrible sound production.
As unsatisfying as it sounds, there are some pleasant catchy moments, mostly in the keyboards of Mikko Harkin and the upbeat drum tempo of Uli Kusch now and then but I'd rather just play Sonata Arctica
's albums for all times' sake than waste time listening to fragmentary flashbacks. The vocals are of another disturbing matter - with all due respect to Andre Matos
' voice which crowned many Angra
albums that I tend to like, he does In Paradisum
an ill term. As far as he's well known for his high tenor voice, in this album he strains his vocal chords to the limit, often hitting an unnecessary high-pitched cue which might've been something of value if only it didn't sound as if he's trying to imitate Kotipelto
. Can't say I blame it all on him since we all know who's behind the compositional and recording process and who still suffers from his post-Strato syndrome.
Personally, I always dig long tracks with tempo changes, choirs, neoclassical touch in guitars and keyboards and truly appreciate what Tolkki's project tried to do with the homonymous "In Paradisum
" song for it's one of the few standout moments, but we've all heard numerous better examples before - just shake the dust off those Stratovarius
classics or spin a random Rhapsody
opus. To get back on track, among songs which might even be called decent by some die-hards we have "Come by the Hills" and "Santiago" which are fastened Sonata Arctica
wannabees, a dangerously familiar ballad "Alayna" heard lots of times before… and heck, a crapload of fillers. In other words, nothing representative and definitely not worthy enough to save this record from being ditched.
It's always sad to witness the full disgrace of favorite musicians, but as far as I'm concerned, I'm done with Tolkki's projects, solo stuff, all-star bands and whatnot. If you're a fan of old-school Stratovarius
or Andre Matos
solo albums, you'll probably enjoy a track or two, otherwise just keep off and spare yourself the trouble of seeing how one of your anticipated albums turns into a shameful disappointment.