As soon as Frontier Records announced they would release a new metal opera manned by ex-Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki, The Land Of New Hope became one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2013. And for good reason. In addition to being the (latest) comeback for the legendary power metal shredder and songwriter, it boasted an all-star vocal lineup: Russell Allen (Symphony X), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe), Sharon den Adel (Within Temptation), Rob Rock (Impellitteri), Tony Kakko (Sonata Arctica), and Michael Kiske (Unisonic, ex-Helloween).
Does this first Avalon album live up to all of its promises? Depends on who you ask, I guess. Other reviewers have heaped on the praise for The Land Of New Hope. As for me, I enjoyed hearing Elize Ryd thrive as the central vocalist and thought the album was an easy, breezy power metal jaunt overall. But, in all honesty, The Land Of New Hope “pledges a magnificent journey but takes the listener on a relatively dull one instead.”
Here’s the official music video for “Enshrined In My Memory,” the album’s first single. Elize sounds very comfortable and confident on this song. Then again, her recent work with Kamelot may have prepared her for this kind of role. The song itself could benefit from stronger melodies, in my opinion. But it does get stuck in your head after a while, and I didn’t mind it doing so.
Coming Soon: My report on the 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival, and my website’s recent nomination for the Liebster Award.