Timo Tolkki’s Avalon - Return to Eden (2019)

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Closing with the incisive “Envy The Moon”, we are left quite pleased with “In Splendor Below”. We expected non-stop Swedish Melodic Death/Doom Metal and that is exactly what you get with October Tide. The Norrman brothers have a great signature sound and this release maintains their legendary status since their early Katatonia days. If you like things to be consistent, direct and superbly catchy, look no further as you know exactly what to expect with this fine release.

The album starts with a bang after setting a very epic mood with the intro, in “Promises” we are instantly treated to Timo’s guitar wizardry and poignant Power Metal songwriting skills. The vocal arrangements are masterful as always, perfectly delivered by guest male vocalists Todd Michael Hall, Zak Stevens and Eduard Hovinga. Songs with duets like the album title track featuring Mariangela Demurtas, or the magical “Hear My Call”, featuring none other than Anneke van Giersbergen on vocals, are just the signature style of Avalon and we love it.

A lot of the magic of these releases is being surprised the first time you hear them by whoever is next on vocals and how they are used to masterfully adorm meticulously crafted tracks like “Now and Forever”, “Limits” and “We are the Ones”. While standard Symphonic Power Metal releases might be a bit tiresome having the same singer going at it, this album excels in creating both vocal and stylistic diversity through the songs. Changing the tempo of things and having some songs be more symphonic/power metal than others greatly keeps things fresh.

Overall, “Return to Eden” is one killer release with tons of memorable musical passages that take a while to be fully unraveled. Changing up the usual list of vocalists has allowed Avalon to keep things fresh and dynamic while delivering a very engaging and catchy core release. If you are a fan of Timo Tolkki or the genre, you can’t afford to miss out on this one.

Bands: Timo Tolkki’s Avalon Album: Return to Eden

Label: Frontiers Records

Release: June 14th, 2019

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Genre: Symphonic Power Metal

Country: Finland

Rating: 93/100
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