With the jaw-dropping line up of Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius), vocalist Andre Matos (ex-Angra), drummer Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween), bassist Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius) and keyboardist Mikko Harkin (ex-Sonata Artica), Symfonia is ready to awe people with their impressive debut full-length “In Paradisum”.
After having an orgasm just by reading the line-up of this band now it’s time for us to talk about what really matters: the music. With Mr. Tolkki on the lead, you know that all your Power Metal needs will be met and even exceeded if you are not too picky. After the premature demise of Revolution Renaissance we counted the days until the next Timo Tolkki project surfaced.
With the brilliant opening track “Fields of Avalon”, Symfonia gives you a nice preview of what’s to come in this very impressive release. The song (and album) is full of brilliant riffing, hectic keyboard leads, tight drumming and a very strong bass guitar line, the only thing that took a bit to get used to was the vocals of Andre Matos. We have never been fans of his singing style and on “In Paradisum” it gets to be a bit annoying for the first few spins until it becomes familiar (just picture old Stratovarius music with him on vocals).
In “Come by the Hills” the band takes a more traditional sound to things and this track sound like Revolution Renaissance all over again. The combination of keyboard/guitars is all too familiar and the verse sections are even more familiar. The solos in this track are probably what makes this song be different from previous Tolkki songs. The vocal arrangements are better in this song (probably because of the backing tracks and choir-like sections).
As you can imagine most of the songs here are very solid and we will just talk about the little moments that makes them even more impressive. On “Santiago” we have the passage-like section with weeping guitars making this song one of our favorites. “Alayna” is what you can say a power ballad and showcases Andre’s vocal skills too much in our opinion getting very winy in some points.
The band strikes back with the Power Metal anthem “Forevermore” and this song is near prefect, except for the ripping guitar solo near the end that feels very forced into the song. This also happens in “Pilgrim Road”, where the solo just rips through the melody and structure of the song making sound like it was put into the song as a late addition. This pattern follows in several songs, around 1 to 2 minutes before the end of each track we have a ripping solo that is mixed over everything making it sound very dominating and somewhat breaks the melody of the tracks.
Symfonia closes this release with the Power ballad “Don’t Let Me Go”, and we have mixed opinions about finalizing the album with such a downer rather than leaving on a high note and energetic track.
Overall, we believe that this album couldn’t be better, we personally wish for another singer, but we can’t have everything. However, in general terms “In Paradisum” is an EXCELLENT release, yeah there is the obvious Stratovarius/Revolution Renaissance influence, but the songs are excellent and have everything that it takes to make them very enjoyable. It’s good to see that Timo is back with another very impressive band, we only hope this one lasts for a while this time.
|Band: Symfonia||Album: In Paradisum|
|Label: Armoury Records (USA) / Edel Germany GmbH (Europe)||
Release: April 19th, 2011 (USA) / April 1st, 2011 (Europe)
|Genre: Melodic Power Metal||