Timo Tolkki, that was one of the driving forces of Stratovarius, the Finnish metal outfit that released a solid number of excellent metal albums in a time, when a lot of metal bands struggled.
After having parted way with Stratovarius, the guitarist started with Timo Tolkki’s Avalon and own project/band that premiered in 2013. The latest record, ‘Return to Eden’, has been released in 2019 and these days that axeman returns with ‘The Enigma Birth’. Twelve songs and a running time nearly one hour deliver a lot of quantity and let’s have a look into the quality level of what is offered by this longplayer.
I don’t think that anybody expected bigger changes and the assumption is correct. Timo Tolkki’s Avalon takes a similar route as the predecessor albums. Melodic metal, sometimes faster and often in moderate pace, is what fills the album’s tracklist. The start is one of these faster songs. It’s the title track that kicks things off and it gets very clear that the new album delivers to expectation which also means that it doesn’t really surprise.
There is the very catchy ‘I Just Collapse’ which is well produced but also has no edges and real identity. ‘Also ‘Time’ and ‘The Fire and the Sinner’ are faceless songs, being exchangeable and standard. As on the previous records, also the newest delivery features a wider cast of singers, supporting the axeman on realizing his musical vision of the Avalon Metal Opera. Although the album has some good moment, the conclusion is, that there is also a lot of average material that ended up on ‘The Enigma Birth’. ‘Beautiful Lie’ belongs to this category and the theatric ‘Another Day’ sound more like being taken from an average musical.
‘The Enigma Birth’ is driven by a gifted guitarist. Unfortunately, the album is exchangeable with many other releases, sharing a similar approach. Here it isn’t the musical savvy that acts as a hinder. It’s the musical inspiration und creativity that doesn’t allow more than solely songs that are nice and at the same time far away from what Tolkki is capable to deliver, looking back to the Stratovarius albums.
- The Enigma Birth feat. Pellek
- I Just Collapse feat. Caterina Nix
- Memories feat. Caterina Nix, Brittney Slayes
- Master Of Hell feat. Raphael Mendes
- Beautiful Lie feat. James LaBrie
- Truth feat. Jake E
- Another Day feat. Marina La Torraca
- Beauty And War feat. Raphael Mendes
- Dreaming feat. Fabio Lione
- The Fire And The Sinner feat. Jake E, Brittney Slayes Time feat. Marina La Torraca
- Without Fear feat. Fabio Lione
Label: Frontiers Music
Genre: Melodic Metal
Release Date EU: June 18th, 2021