Sunday, April 17, 2011

Symfonia-In Paradisum

Armoury/Eagle Rock

This heavy metal super group formed in 2010 and this ten-track offering was recorded mainly in Finland, mixed and mastered in Italy and produced by Timo Tolkki (who also plays guitar on the this release). With a line-up featuring vocalist Andre Matos (Angra, Avantasia, Shaman, Viper, Looking-Glass-Self, Virgo, Holy Sagga, Aina, HDK), the aforementioned Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius, Revolution Renaissance), bass player Jari Kainulainen (Stratovarius, Kotipelto, Evergrey, Elias Viljanen, Mess, Voluspaa, Warmen, Killing Machine) keyboardist Mikko Härkin (Sonata Arctica, Kotipelto, Cain's Offering, Essence Of Sorrow, Kenziner, Wingdom, Mehida, Solution .45) and drummer Uli Kusch (Helloween, Gamma Ray, Holy Moses, Ride The Sky, Beautiful Sin, Masterplan, Shock Machine, Mekong Delta, Roland Grapow, Axe La Chapelle) you should be able to grasp what In Paradisum is going to be. Given their backgrounds in the melodic metal community you can safely say this is epic melodic/power metal. Apparently all of these guys found themselves living in Scandinavia and decided to join forces. If your at all familiar with Angra then you'll know that vocalist Andre Matos has got the epic metal vocals down pat (although he does get a tad high pitched now and then as if he is attempting to break glass). And with this core of musicians you know that everything will sound majestic and glorious. And Tim Tolkki does an awesome job with making the album sound clean and pristine. My only gripe (you had to know this was coming with me right guys?) is that sometimes it gets a tad too glossy and keyboard heavy. Otherwise I enjoyed tracks like "Forevermore" and Pilgrim Road" which showcase Tim's guitar work. I enjoyed the title track even if I could have done without the choir background. “I Walk In Neon” with it's chorus I enjoyed as well. Honestly with this sort of melodic metal it really is a love or loathe genre. While I am normally not into the overblown European style of power metal I appreciate this album. "Rhapsody In Black" brought to mind Stratovarius although this album doesn't exactly sound like Tim's ex band. Same goes for "Santiago" which has some addicting moments in it. I can hear bits of Stratovarius and maybe Gamma Ray. The only thing with that track is that I know I've heard the main guitar riff somewhere before and it will drive me crazy until I figure it out (maybe Mark can help with me with that?). The album closes with "Don't Let Me Go" (the slowest track of the ten) and it must be said this one (the album not the track!) surprised me. Normally not my cup of tea. That said I like where this is going. If this band can stay together and keep all their egos in check they could really prove to be a monster force.


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