Kotipelto - Waiting For The Dawn
Timo Kotipelto - the man that shares the frontmanship and firstname in Stratovarius with guitarvirtous Tolkki - here releases his first effort to make a name of his own in the metalscene. The problem in these kind of cases is that you constantly tend to compare it to what he accomplishes in his mainband - expecially if the solomaterial doesn't differ that much in style and speed - which is the the case here. This doesn't fall far from the tree of melodic metal a´la Stratovarious, but - I have to say that this is actually a bit better than what has come from the Tolkki-constellation in some years.
I have never been such a major fan of Mr. Kotipelto's vocal efforts, and this album doesn't exactly make me feel like there are time for a change of opinion. He does his job - he sings good, but that's it. I even dare to say that he misses a few keys here and there, especially in the really high parts. But if you like him since before, you have nothing to fear this time either - it sounds the same.
The rest of the line-up are more impressive, though: Roland Grapow, Michael Romeo, Sami Virtanen and Janne Wirman to name a few, are really names that build up the expectations long before you have even had the chance to hear one single second to the album. Especially this guitarcontribution helps to save the grade on this album, becuase there are plenty of great hooks, licks and riffs being delivered by duo Romeo/Grapow here. It is the guitarplay that lifts this cd, and I am afraid that without that, this would probably not have sounded this good - but now it does, and that is what matters.
Tthe opening of the album is strong, with songs such as the three opening aces in mid/uptempo Travel Through Time, Beginning and Lord Of Eternity. The potential in songwriting among these people gets clear already here, but unfortunatly it later looses a bit in tempo in the middle during the songs Battle Of Gods and Beuty Has Come, of which one is a ballad, and the other some sort of semi-ballad. But when it takes off again, it does it with a vengeance: Chose By Re and the titletrack Waiting For The Dawn are 2 really good pearls with great riffs, melodies and catchy choruses. There are an unusual good mix and variety of songs of all spectras on this album - but with the main emphasis on a slightly more uptempo beat, and that is a good thing if you ask me. We have a few of the heavy, driven tunes, a few more smoother ones with the great verselines and choruses, and the more moody ones but yet with focus on the harmonies.
Even though the cd is as long as 52 minutes it feels like every listeningsession ends too quickly - so you don't get bored and start looking at the watch during the listening of this, and that is a good sign. This is a good album for you who are into Stratovarius or the finnish melodic metal scene in general, and a great taster in the wait for a new studioalbum from the major bands again.