Timo Tolkki's Avalon - 'Return To Eden'

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Timo Tolkki's Avalon - 'Return To Eden'

Give a warm welcome back to one of the most talented musicians of our times – Timo Tolkki is here to stay.

We believe in miracles. Thanks to music, they often happen to us and Timo Tolkki certainly knows what it all means. After fighting his personal demons, the Finnish master is back to find his place in the Metal universe with the third instalment of his Avalon project, the first real and outstanding Metal Opera in recent times following several other similar endeavours which have proliferated in the last two decades.

This latest effort is a wonderful little gem from the former Stratovarius genius, and he's helped out by another guitar giant in the shape of Aldo Lonobile – the mastermind of Secret Sphere who also co-produced the release. Once again, there is a brilliant vocal cast that includes stars like Anneke van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering), Zak Stevens (ex-Savatage), Todd Michael Hall (Riot V), Mariangela Demurtas (Tristania, Ardours) and the mighty Eduard Hovinga (ex-Elegy).

'Return To Eden' is freely inspired by 'The Celestine Prophecy: An Adventure', a 1993 novel by James Redfield where we find a metaphor of the spiritualisation of the man who becomes pure energy; a Gnostic attempt to get back to the divine spark. Hall starts telling us the story with 'Promises' – if you're a lover of European Power Metal from the nineties, then you'll fall in love with this piece of art which is outstandingly performed by the amazing Riot V singer. Everything on 'Return To Eden' is full of life, energy and freshness, and you will find the strongest points of Stratovarius in the hands of Tolkki but also the sophisticated style of Lonobile.

Tolkki and his label tried to find the best of the best for the vocal parts; Stevens is perfect for songs like 'Miles Away' and 'Wasted Dreams', and Hovinga is pure magic on 'Give Me Hope'. Last but not least, there are two enchanting sirens – van Giersbergen and Demurtas – who make this album a real little Eden. Give yourself a present, leave all the nightmares outside so you can fully immerse yourself in the beauty of life and music. However, above all, don't forget to give a warm welcome back to one of the most talented musicians of our times – Timo Tolkki is here to stay.

Fabiana Spinelli

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