REVOLUTION RENAISSANCE - NEW ERA - BLISTERING
Timo Tolkki is not wasting any time after the final dissolution of Stratovarius. Revolution Renaissance is his follow-up and naturally the new monicker and album name become symbolic. The apple does not fall far from the tree and the music and vocals are not drastically different from the man’s past. If anything, New Era is a tad harder and less synthetic than what the Finn has done in the past in spite of the ballads strewn all over the albums.
The album’s gem is the opener, a song called Heroes, which rips into amazing fret work following a minute-long intro. The tight drumming, fretful bass and soaring vocals quickly establish the band and album is noteworthy. The material does not remain as hard, but there is plenty to like nonetheless. Clichéd lyrics like “heroes in the night” or “flying to the rainbow” have a place here, but listen to Born Upon The Cross and catch some frightfully real lyrics about the myth of Jesus and Mary. The music is strongly reminiscent of Black Sabbath of the mid-'80s. Keep The Flame Alive begins and ends with a Gaelic melody, the kind one hears on a New Age CD at the spa, while Last Night On Earth is for all intents and purposes a Stratovarius song - no surprise as this album was intended to be the next Stratovarius output really - and of course consequently hints at Gamma Ray or Freedom Cry. Revolution Renaissance, the song, ends the disc and is rather corny with its lyrics, but at least is not another slow song.
This album is good overall and very good for fans of the sub-genre. It features Michael Kiske - he who promised never to return to metal - and Tobias Sammet who lend star power, although Tolkki’s composition and guitar prowess one again form the backbone of a strong contender. - Ali “The Metallian”