New at Sonic Cathedral: Review of “The Land Of New Hope” by Timo Tolkki’s Avalon


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.”

Click here to read my review of The Land Of New Hope by Timo Tolkki’s Avalon.

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.

Blog Exclusive: Kamelot’s “Silverthorn” A Welcome Return To Form

With a new singer, the multi-national symphonic power metal band goes back to their comfort zone with renewed energy and confidence.

NOTE: I had intended to publish this review with Suite101 this weekend. However, the website is currently experiencing kinks and bugs that will make it impossible to publish the review there before the album’s release date on Tuesday, October 30th. So, I’m posting the review here instead. Enjoy! And feel free to comment about the album or my review below.


When Kamelot’s long-time frontman Roy Khan left the band in 2010, fans and critics alike were nervous. Khan was part of the band’s songwriting nucleus; and his deep, velvety voice had woven itself into Kamelot’s symphonic power metal trademark. What would his departure mean for the band? Would there be a drastic change in sound? And, would the new singer be able to rise above the metal world’s mountainous expectations? With Kamelot’s tenth studio album, Silverthorn, the answers to those last two questions are respectively – and firmly – “no” and “yes.” Continue reading