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Revolution Renaissance: New Era

What a relief: Revolution Renaissance proves Timo Tolkki didn't completely lose the plot after his disturbingly personal second album Hymn To Life back in 2002. Instead, for his latest musical project, Tolkki found a pair of stellar, well-established vocalists (plus an up-and-comer), grabbed the best musical elements of his old band (Stratovarius) and merged them with the strengths of the vocalists' past or present bands (Edguy, Helloween and Thunderstone), and came up with New Era. Makes sense, considering he says Revolution Renaissance is a logical progression of the Stratovarius legacy.

Tobias Sammet, Michael Kiske and Pasi Rantanen help Tolkki find his groove with a series of mostly upbeat melodic hard-rock and heavy-metal songs that apparently were originally intended for his old band. Among the highlights are the prog-metal leaning "Eden Is Burning" (the album's second-longest song at 5 minutes, 16 seconds); the brooding and controversial "Born Upon the Cross," which sounds like it could be a Dio or Heaven and Hell track; and the ballad "Keep the Flame Alive," a bound-to-be movie theme song that would work wonders in a live setting.

Which brings up the question of taking Revolution Renaissance on the road. Now that Tolkki has officially waived and transferred rights to the Stratovarius name to three other members who knows if they will record anything under it? the guitarist has some free time to develop a live band. It probably won't include Sammet, Kiske and Rantanen, but as long as Tolkki continues to play and not sing, it should still be good.

Track Listing:
1) Heroes
2) I Did It My Way
3) We Are Magic
4) Angel
5) Eden Is Burning
6) Glorious and Divine
7) Born Upon the Cross
8) Last Night on Earth
9) Revolution Renaissance

Added: September 26th 2008
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Blistering Records
Hits: 3193
Language: english

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Revolution Renaissance: New Era
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-09-26 20:01:47
My Score:

With all the hoopla that's surrounded the Stratovarius camp the last few years, it's hard to take anything too seriously these days that comes from leader Timo Tolkki. Surprisingly though, this debut for his 'new' band Revolution Rensaissance, titled New Era, is pretty strong, a more than casual reminder of what you might expect from Stratovarius at any given time. Even though it kind of feels like one of those 'solo projects' that so many metal musicians take part in, thanks to the inclusion of guest singers here such as Michael Kiske, Tobias Sammet, and Pasi Rantanen, there's no denying that there's some solid material here, like the catchy rocker "I Did It My Way", or the power metal gems "Eden is Burning", "We Are Magic", and "Glorious and Devine". Expect plenty of riffing and solid solos from Tolkki, although this is not a shred fest by any means. There's even some wonderful 'power-doom' on the epic sounding "Born Upon the Cross", a track featuring powerful vocals, crushing riffs, and spooky keyboards. As strong as some of this stuff is, you can't help but feel that recent efforts from bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray, Avantasia, etc. kind of blow this out of the water. I think Tolkki is onto something here with Revolution Renaissance, but I think until he solidifies a line-up and gets a singer that is equally as good as who be brought on board for this studio project, we just might once again be subjected to the turmoil of what he left behind in Stratovarius. Let's hope not, as the basis for something really good is brewing here.

Revolution Renaissance: New Era
Posted by Scott Jessup, SoT Staff Writer on 2008-08-15 19:08:12
My Score:

So Stratovarius are now history and Timo Tolki's new project Revolution Renaissance New Era is here .This is the sort of album that many fans of Stratovarius will get a strong sense of deja vu but those who haven't heard them will surely be impressed. He has gotten together three of the best vocalists with Tobias Sammet, Pasi Rantanen and finally Michael Kiske who is my standout here with my favorite performance of his being the final and title track. The songs are catchy and pretty straight forward power metal with a mixture of fast, mid paced and slower tracks. The musicians do what they have to with no one really standing out. There are similarities at times here to various Stratovarius tracks, and if it wasn't for the exception of different singers and much less keyboards it might as well be Stratovarius who this release was originally intended for so what's the point in the new name?

I know this is a debut and times have been pretty turbulent for Timo. But it's the caliber of the vocalist's on offer here that holds your interest apart from which there's not a lot to seperate this from your run of the mill metal releases. Here's hoping next time instead of releasing what I would call a safe album the band gets an injection of fresher material. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Revolution Renaissance given that Timo Tolki has since recruited permanent members. Michael Kiske would have been my pick for vocalist, as this album reminds me why he's still my favorite singer.

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