Timo Tolkki - Hymn To Life
Nuclear Blast
(Hard) Rock
12 songs (60'28)
Release year: 2002
Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Chris

Timo Tolkki is the masterpiece guitar player behind the well known Stratovarius, and this is his new solo album. Just to make things clear, don't wait for any Stratovarius song, neither in melodies nor in power. This work is something else entirely, a more personal work if you will.

The first song Key To The Universe is interpreted by Micheal Kiske and is a nice ballad, with some nice arrangements and an interesting vocal part. The second song (track 3, cause there's a strange intro of a guy who shouts with a distorted and unpleasant effect) Now I Understand is a mid tempo tune that I like a lot. Again excellent arrangements in this song, and it's sure that Timo Tolkki can sing. He doesn't possess the range of his Stratovarius counterpart Timo Kotipelto but who cares, he colors the songs with his vocals and made the whole sound pretty good. The album goes on and on with mainly mid-tempo songs, some are good, some are medium and there's just one track that I can't bear, a song called Father on which Tolkki experimented some industrial elements but frankly it didn't work for me. That track is so awful that I absolutely have to skip it every time I listen to the CD. The lyrics are as strong as the song itself, about a father (his maybe) who suicided and the song displays the hate of the son about his own father. Well... since it's very personal, I understand the meaning and the frustration that emanate from the song. I forced myself to go on with the track, the song finished on a more happy note, the son speaking to his father that tries to apologize on a beautiful piano melody. Unfortunately the beginning of the song is very difficult to understand. On the highlights I'd say that the song Divine, I Believe, Dear God and the last long track Hymn To Life are my favorites with the first two songs and, without any doubts, the best track of the album is Are You The One ? (featuring Within Temptation's Sharon Den Adel). An impressive ballad that almost bring tears to my face... beautiful, simply beautiful.

Musically speaking : the album is very well arranged, the production is great and the vocals of Tolkki are very pleasant and they fit his music just perfectly. You'll also find a few beautiful heavy riffs then and there as well as very melodic solos.

It doesn't sound much like Stratovarius, but it sounds like a good album to me although it won't mark the history of metal. But this personal and emotion packed album is a nice one, it may not be too original but it's more than pleasant and very relaxing (except the first half of the song Father, that will definitely wake you up if you were sleeping). If you want something different, calm yet powerful, to ease your mind and reflects about life, then this Hymn To Life has been made for you. Good job Timo !

Killing Songs :
Are You The One ?, Hymn To Life, I Believe, Now I Understand & Key To The Universe.
Chris quoted 78 / 100
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