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That by this time every artist tries to release their own Metal Opera kind of bugs me. Either it is horribly bad and just a vision of a autocratic guitarist with bad singers, or there is no proper concept and no story to the album. This should not be the case with Timo Tolkki´s Avalon. “The Land of New Hope” tells the story how the world will look like in 2055 when only a few survivors will go on a journey to search for the land of new hopes. All in all a nice concept which is easy to understand. The main singer of the projectimmediately catches my eyes: Michael Kiske, who already is part of Avantasia in a major role. Well, and there we have the problem, it sounds like Avantasia; sometimes one can hear some trusted Stratovarius-tunes, but all in all it is so similar to Avantasia, just a bit more quiet and the harder parts are missing. With Russel Allen of Symphony X, Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica and Rob Rock of Impellitteri the male line-up is complete and not bad at all.
The ladies taking part in the project are Sharon Den Adel of Within Temptation, who became a real catch for this record, now that she got rid of this siren like singing of the past few years With Elize Ryd playing the main female role on this record, you could argue whether she is a catch or not. I unfortunately always have to say that she is anything but a Rocksinger and I would have expected that she - as she always sings background for Kamelot and as such a talented singer as everybody says – she would do the Opera parts, but no, for this Tolkki hired Magdalena Lee. The song “Enshrined in my Memory” is indeed a really good song, which immediately becomes to ear candy, but it could be just as well the winning song of the next Eurovision Song Contest. Next to Timo Tolkki, Jens Johansson (Stratovarius), Derek Sherinian (BCC), Mikko Härkin (Sonata Arctica) and Alex Holzwarth (Rhapsody of Fire) take care of the musical part of the record. The orchestrations are all done by Sami Boman. Overall, the songs are all quite catchy and stick in your mind. One can say that after Avantasia Avalon is one of the better Metal Operas so far. But there are many things that could have been done better, like the concept and the vocal melodies here and there. But all in all a good record.