1. Once Upon A Time 2. Sleep Well 3. Serenity 4. City Of Mysteries 5. King Anti-Midas 6. Angels Will Cry 7. After The Rain 8. Mr. Know-It-All 9. Dreams And Reality 10. Last Defender
"The Man With The Golden Voice" has returned with his third solo record to date, a neo-classical power metal release that is sure to please fans of Stratovarius while still going down other musical directions to incorporate a bit of diversity. Timo Kotipelto released his first solo venture in 2002 with the fantastic "Waiting For The Dawn". In 2004 he returned with "Coldness", and now he is back with "Serenity", available on Candlelight Records. His band is basically a who's who of Finnish metal stars, featuring guitarist Tuomas Wainola (Heartplay), bassist Lauri Porra (Stratovarius, Sinergy), keyboardist Janne Warman (Children Of Bodom), and drummer Rirka Rantanen (Warmen, Thunderstone), three of which are all members of Warmen as well. It is simply amazing how much talent is in that small frosty country.
I think this album has more of a classic metal feel than the albums prior to. I can hear bits and pieces of Rainbow, Deep Purple, Queensryche, and the progressive elements of Kotipelto's main band Stratovarius. His voice is brilliant here, firing on all cylinders through the faster sides while still soothing and smooth during his progressive moments. Tracks like "City Of Mysteries" and "Mr. Know-It-All" are nods to classic metal days, traditional cuts that ring with the glorious sounds of Rainbow and Saxon while laying down crisp leads and flowing keyboards. The album has a good hard rock vibe to it as well, with listens to "Sleep Well" and "Serenity" both braced with driving rhythm and choppy licks. Timo still stays true to his Stratovarius sound, weighing in with band-like numbers "Once Upon A Time" and "Angels Will Cry". I could have done without the sappy ballad "After The Rain", but fans of Kotipelto understand that those numbers will appear. The album ends with stirring epic "Last Defender", a gallop through light and dark with slower passages hitting bombastic portions and speeding up to power metal frenzies, all neatly embraced with the progressive keyboard arrangements. Guitarist Wainola is a madman, hitting huge leads throughout, highlighted by roaring fretwork on "Sleep Well", the band's first single I believe.
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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