In terms of pedigree it would be highly difficult to disagree with calling Symfonia a power metall supergroup.. Timo Tolkki (ex Stratovarius) is on guitars, Andre Matos (ex Angra) provides vocals, Uli Kusch (ex Helloween) thumps the drums, Jari Kainulainen (ex Stratovarius) holds down the bass whilst the keyboards are provided by Mikko Harkin (ex Sonata Artica.) It beggars belief that so many big egos could co-exist long enough to make a cohesive album but they have and it's well worth a listen if you like old fashioned power metal. The ten-track offering was recorded mainly in Finland, mixed and mastered in Italy and produced by Timo Tolkki.
The blurb for the album suggests:" Though references to his (Tolkki's) musical past are obviously there, it would be a mistake to consider SYMFONIA a new version of Stratovarius. Every member of the band brings new colour, texture and personality to the music. Angra fans will surely consider this album one of the best episodes for the Brazilian singer since Angel's Cry and Holy Land." Obviously much of this statement is open to debate and will be considered over time but In Paradisum is a quality product.
If I had a particular quibble with the record and if I could review it in one word that word would be "Edguy." In Paradisum sounds remarkably like early Edguy and Andre Matos sounds more and more like Tobias Sammet as time goes on. Neither of these things is problematic if you are a fan of either Edgur of tuneful, melodic power metal. The only possible negative could be that there's not much acknowledgement that the last decade of music has actually taken place. I haven't heard so much harpsichord outside of a Luca Turilli album for many a year.
It's much less progressive than Stratovarious' latest record and it's not difficult to think that this collection of musicians could have put this record together in their sleep. That said, there are some great memorable songs on In Paradisum. It's impossible not to be dragged along with grandiose, exuberant songs like "Fields of Avalon", "Come by the Hills" or "Rhapsody in Black".
I would imagine thst if sales go well for this debut album that Symfonia may well really come into their own on their next album when the pressure may be off a little more.
1. Fields Of Avalon
2. Come By The Hills
6. Pilgrim Road
7. In Paradisum
8. Rhapsody In Black
9. I Walk in Neon
10. Don't Let me Go