Revolution Renaissance - New Era
Frontiers Records (Europe) / Blistering Records (USA)
Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (47'31)
Release year: 2008
Revolution Renaissance
Reviewed by Marty
This new CD by Timo Tolkki's new band was initially intended to be the next Stratovarius album. However, troubles reared their ugly head once again and after re-uniting a couple of years back to tour in support of their self-titled album, bad blood between the members has once again driven a stake into the heart of Stratovarius. This time, it's for good as Timo Tolkki announced last month that Stratovarius was indeed finished. Timo Tolkki decided to take this project into the studio and enlist the vocal talents of Tobias Sammett (Edguy), Michael Kiske and Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone) as well as musicians Pasi Heikkilam (bass), Joonas Puolakka (keyboards) and drummer Mirko Rantanen (Thunderstone) to complete this album. The result is a mixed bag of melodic power metal, epic Stratovarius style metal and some very solid melodic hard rock in an album that would've signalled a return to the sound of such albums as Visons, Destiny and Infinite with a touch of the epic qualities of the Elements Parts 1 and 2 if indeed it had been released as a Stratovarius album.

Tobias Sammett sings on two tracks with the album opener Heroes being classic speedy and melodic power metal as championed by Stratovarius and Edguy with the huge soaring choruses and melodies of Edguy's Vain Glory Opera and Theater Of Salvation albums. Glorious and Divine, the second of two tracks to feature Tobias on lead vocals is another speedy melodic power metal track with the classic Helloween I Want Out structure, big epic chorus and the comical edge of Edguy in a song that deals with our obsession at going to great lengths to maintain our youthful looks. Thunderstone's Pasi Rantanen contributes vocals to three tracks and with his grittier yet passionate vocal style, he brings a whole new feel to Timo's music. We Are Magic uses some orchestrated keyboard effects (a rarity on this album though) in a solid melodic heavy metal track that sees Pasi singing with Bob Catley/Dio like passion with Timo's ever so optimistic and cheesy lyrics. Eden Is Burning gets back to the more trudging and heavy epic, orchestrated Stratovarius style with a chorus that has Pasi sounding very much like Bob Catley on his more recent solo and Magnum albums. Born Upon The Cross continues with the bigger, "epic" and atmospheric sound with a track that has Heaven And Hell like qualities and brings the listener back to the Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath and in particular, The Headless Cross album. Pasi gives his best vocal performance on this track....simply outstanding! The remaining 5 tracks all feature Michael Kiske on lead vocals whose amazing range and warm vocal style blends almost perfectly with Timo's song writing. I Did It My Way is an autobiographical sort of song that chronicles Timo's musical career. The use of layered harmonized guitar approximates what would've been keyboard orchestrations helps create a solid melodic heavy metal track that's very similar to some of Michael's solo material,; in particular his Instant Clarity album. Angel is a throwaway, syrupy power ballad that besides the title, has some melodic similarities to Aerosmith's song Angel. Cheesy lyics and very predictable in it's arrangement, Michael's wonderful and strong voice is the only thing that really saves this track from the "skip" button. Very traditional melodies weave in and out of Keep The Flame Alive; a song with a power ballad structure much like Helloween's A Tale That Wasn't Right. Listen carefully and you'll also hear some "stolen" moments from Rainbow's Catch The Rainbow from their debut album. Last Night On Earth was actually performed a few times by Stratovarius during their last few shows togther but Michael Kiske's voice pushes this track to a much higher level of quality. Thematic, heavy and with a very strong chorus, this is easily one of the best tracks on the album. The album finishes with Revolution Renaissance, another Heaven And Hell like track that has lots of melody, a big epic feel and a solid and thick guitar/keyboard blend. Michael's voice once again soars to the heavens!!

Timo has since recruited more permanent members including ex-Adagio vocalist Gus Monsanto and has vowed to carry on the Stratovarius tradition with Revolution Renaissance including touring and new material next year. With New Era, there's nothing really "new" here and it's almost exactly what you'd expect from Timo Tolkki. One thing that's very noticeable is the lack of keyboards on this album. What little there are, are kept to a minimum and layered into the sound. The production is crisp and solid yet it seems to be lacking that huge over the top Stratovarius sound. For the most part, the songs are strong, the vocal performances amazing and you wonder whether as a Stratovarius album, it would've come off as good with Timo Kotipelto singing these songs? We will never know. Not really mind blowing stuff, this is still a very solid melodic power metal album that fans of the genre and especially fans of Timo Tolkki and Stratovarius should definitely add to their collection.

Killing Songs :
Heroes, Eden Is Burning, Glorious And Divine, Last Night On Earth and Revolution Renaissance
Marty quoted 82 / 100
Other albums by Revolution Renaissance that we have reviewed:
Revolution Renaissance - Trinity reviewed by Jaime and quoted 74 / 100
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