|Review: Revolution Renaissance - Age Of Aquarius|
|Age Of Aquarius|
Label: Scarlet Records
Year released: 2009
Genre: Symphonic Metal
Review online: March 7, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
for:Age Of Aquarius
Nowadays I'm far beyond the notion that Timo Tolkki can do no wrong. After the last lacklustre Stratovarius album and Tolkki's painfully boring rock opera Saana – Warrior of Light, I was beginning to think the Finnish madman had lost his marbles completely. That was until the first Revolution Renaissance album, of course; a storming concoction of old school Power and rattling Speed Metal that featured performances from three of the best voices in the genre in the stead of a fixed vocalist. Now that the Tolk has his act together – and a fresh, full line up – here we have the second, or rather first, official album from his new band, err, Revolution Renaissance. And surprisingly, Age of Aquarius differs greatly from its predecessor.
New Era certainly got the blood pumping in places, with its hammering, double-bass led approach, something that seems to have been stripped completely from proceedings during the recording of Age of Aquarius, which has more in common with the last Stratovarius album in that the pace of the record rarely bypasses mid, and there is a greater focus on creating an atmosphere through symphonic overtures rather than dazzling the listener with Tolkki's usual display of technical wankery. His new band – including ex-Adagio vocalist Gus Monsanto – are ably equipped to handle the bulk of Tolkki's material, making the performance as a whole solid and unflinching. The production is nice and tight, but the songs themselves are where the album fails to hit the mark. As usual, the album kicks off with an immense trio of songs, this time found in the awesome title track, the pounding "Sins of My Beloved", and the very Strato-esque "Ixion's Wheel". But things slide considerably with the groove-laden "Behind the Mask" and "Ghost of Fallen Grace", a dark and twisting ballad that has an intriguing build up, but fails to go anywhere. The rest of the album falls into the latter category, never really picking up the pace until folky closer "Into the Future" introduces some of the rousing elements that made the beginning of the album so uniformly compelling.
Mr. Tolkki seems to have rushed this out quite quickly – although why the Power Metal numbers are absent is anyone's guess – so perhaps we can forgive the infamous guitarist for this slight disappointment. Saying that, Age of Aquarius is very much a grower, and hopefully time will reveal the fruits of its labour. But by the cripplingly short longevity offered from Stratovarius, I won't be holding my breath.
|Other related information on the site|
|Review: New Era (reviewed by Larry Griffin)|
Review: Trinity (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
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