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Additional personnel: Vocals: Floor Jansen, Simone Simons, Fabio Lione, David DeFeis, Zachary Stevens, Elize Ryd, Caterina Nix. Orchestration: Nicholas Jeudy.
The first part of this suite, The Land Of New Hope, which to make things complicated actually is the final chapter of a 3-piece story, was released just over a year ago. With part 2 up for challenge, the project's mastermind Timo Tolkki has, besides him and Elize Ryd, gathered an entirely new lineup, including his former Stratovarius bandmates Tuomo Lassila and Antti Ikonen on drums and keyboards respectively.
The album takes off with a cheesy and awful lullaby intro, before it heads into an authentic form of symphonic and epic metal with Jerusalem Is Falling. The lion's share of the following 9 tracks lands somewhat flat on their backs, similar to turtles or bugs that are unable to get back to position again. It's epic on and off and the songs reach certain tempos with lots of both good and less good elements, but constant breaks of the momentum also slow things down and the actual explosions stagnate. It's definitely not crappy, but still quite boring occasionally.
What bothers the most is the hopelessly dull ballads and all the moments with pop elements in some way, which overshadow this release. These things are just shitloads of boring stuff and this doesn't connect to what I believe is a great experience. The female vocal performances on this release are by all means almost flawless, but there's also close to nothing in the totality of the songs that is awesome and massively captivating or rocking.
Although it's a rather cheap trick to write songs highly suitable for the vocalists' regular efforts in their current bands, I enjoy what Tolkki has been able to get out of David DeFeis of Virgin Steele and Zak Stevens of Circle II Circle. However, the next time Tolkki will get the idea to write a song with a clear Stratovarius orientation, change the lyrics for God's sake, because Stargate Atlantis is highly resemblant to one of his past and greater hits. The title track stands out as something special, similar to what its parallel did on this record's predecessor. It infuses power, is varied and it's mega-epic and memorable.
In the end, I think that the Finnish veteran should stay off being too mellow oriented and instead set aim for full-blown symphonic metal or power metal efforts in the future, because that type of music is definitely where his abilities come to light in best possible way. Angels Of The Apocalypse is what I consider a decent record with unfortunately too many pits and valleys. It has a few good songs that saves it from a lower rating though.
also review of: The
Land Of New Hope (A Metal Opera)