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New Era

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Average Rating
(14 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • The Good
    Revolution Renaissance is sort of a power metal supergroup that was founded by Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki. Vocals are split between former Helloween vocalist Michael Kiske (who vowed never to return to metal, but has many times over), Tobias Sammett of Edguy/Avantasia, and Pasi Rantanen of Thunderstone.

    “Heroes” is right out of the Edguy playbook, so it only makes sense to have Sammett at the helm. Fiery guitar licks and runs and furious double-kick drums run rough-shot over the track while Sammett belts out the inspiring lyrics. Kiske shows that even though he left Helloween to embrace a new sound, he still has a metal frontman deep inside him. The track isn’t as fast as most power metal, but it still have plenty of punch and melody.

    Tolkki fires off another killer lick on “We Are Magic.” This time Rantanen handles the vocals. He’s not as high-pitched as Kiske and Sammett, but he’s still just as melodic. Picture Steve Perry on steroids. The track is anthemic in its delivery. Rantanen returns on the dark ballad “Eden is Burning.” Sammett takes a final bow on the super-charged “Glorious and Divine.” “Last Night on Earth” is the definitive power metal track.

    The Bad

    The Verdict
    When I think of the top 5 European power metal bands, Edguy, Stratovarius, and Helloween are definitely up there. Now take those three bands and put them together in Revolution Renaissance, and you have yourself one hell of a power metal force. New Era combines high speed riffage with high octane vocals that will have power metal fans raising their fists in approval.

    Posted on November 14, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I agree whit the last reviewer this cd is great .The music and lyrics are well written and played and this cd is well produce .No new material here but it is great listening to a cd were they are just having fun .I hope this review was helpfull to you

    Posted on November 14, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • While one will likely question the validity of such a claim, “New Era” is an anomaly among the usual offerings from the typical list of Euro-flavored suspects, even though it really isn’t. Point blank, there is nothing “revolutionary” here, nor is it a “renaissance” of any kind, and, as cutthroat as it might seem for the opening of a review, “New Era” channels a lot of previous Stratovarius material beyond the typical nuances of the sound. For example:

    The solo in “Heroes” is lifted right out of 1995’s “Against the Wind”
    “Born Upon the Cross” is essentially a slowed down version of 2003’s “Elements”

    Yet, as odd as odd as it may seem, even with these kind of things staring me right in the face as I listen, and falling out of love with some of Stratovarius’ previous material over the last few years, it doesn’t make me angry. It doesn’t scream “rehash” or “lazy” at the top of its lungs like the similar occurrences on Stratovarius’ “Polaris” does. The reason behind this has a lot to do with the last, self titled Stratovarius album released in 2005. Looking back and listening to at that album, and taking Tolkki’s dislike of the album and band’s turmoil into account, it’s not hard to look beyond that music and see that the band was, quite literally, a mess, miserable and together mainly out the legal implications they would have faced if they didn’t reconcile. Simply put, it was an album that was far from honest even though I have to admit I liked the Dreamspace-esque darkness that dominated some of its songs.

    On the other hand, “New Era” does sound honest. Listening to it, it sounds as if Tolkki and his trio of vocalist actually enjoyed making this album instead of just aiming to get something out there to avoid breaching a contract. Again, if Kotipelto (a vocalist who’s voice is becoming less and less a personal favorite) sang these songs as originally planned, this would probably just be another, near soulless Stratovarius album, but the tri-fecta of singers borrowed from other outfits (Edguy, ex-Helloween, and Thunderstone) is much more than the gimmick it initially appears to be. Can’t imagine anyone other than Kiske singing “Last Night on Earth or “Revolution Renaissance,” the best title cut Tolkki has written in years despite the obvious and obligatory cheese. The same applies to the other vocalist and their efforts and are, and much like Olaf Hayer’s work for Luca Turilli’s solo works, are easily half the reason I’ve stuck with the album as long as I have, which is saying a lot when the newest albums by HammerFall and Gamma Ray fail to stick even when they do offer something different.

    In the end, there isn’t anything special about “New Era” – especially from a technical point of view. Still, even though it’s easy to acknowledge and accept this, the album (especially as a whole) does kind of feel special in some abstract, intangible way.

    Posted on November 14, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Being a metal fan from the 80’s, the transition to the new era has not been easy. I love Stratovarius and I also like Michael Kiske and Tobi Sammet vocals. I liked the material a lot! Newcomers may not like it at all, but even the other vocalist makes a very good job. I still wanted to hear more riffs, I hope Tolki works on this next time. The material sounds better than last CD from Stratovarius. If you are a heavy metal fan, the material won’t dissapoint you!

    Posted on November 14, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Almost one month before the release of ‘Revolution Renaissance – New Era’ the band’s founder and Stratovarius main man Timo Tolkki; announced the disbandment of his former band and the birth of this new project. The announcement was followed by skepticism and disbelief amongst the metal world…

    Tolkki gathered a group of rather unknown musicians and recruited vocalists Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween, Place Vendome, etc), Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) and Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone) to complete the line-up for this album.

    “New Era” sounds like a fresh start for Timo Tolkki; as well as a farewell to his former band. The music trends on the same path as the melodic power metal of Stratovarius did, but is less keyboard driven, it lucks the long-crazy-fast solos, most tracks fall in the mid-tempo category, while the instrumentation along with the production suggest a more down to earth approach.

    There is plenty of musical variety amongst the songs and the fact that there are three vocalists singing on the album adds even more versatility. The standout tracks, in my opinion are the title track, Eden Is Burning, Keep The Flame Alive, Heroes and Last Night On Earth.

    Musically speaking ‘Revolution Renaissance’ is the richest song on offer, bringing back memories of epic songwriting and vocal pyrotechnics. Heavy yet melodic riffs, breakdowns, rhythm changes, bombastic choruses backed by quires, a short but fitting guitar solo and Michael Kiske’s voice complementing everything with perfect precision, control, power and emotion. All in all a perfectly executed heavy metal epic.

    ‘Eden Is Burning’ is somewhat darker in mood and is dominated by heavy riffing, perfect instrumentation and some remarkable soloing by Tolkki. The song starts of at a mid pace with some heavy guitar riffs playing the chorus melody, slows down for some melancholic verses and picks up speed again for the chorus were Rantanen’s aggressive and somewhat raspy hard-rock voice fits perfectly.

    ‘Keep The Flame Alive’ is definitely one of the best power ballads I have heard in years. You hear sea waves in the background during the intro and then a beautiful melody (provided by a flute or bagpipe?) perfectly sets the mood of this magical piece. Vocal duties go once again to Michael Kiske who really shines here. Michael starts of with an emotional mid range, almost whispered vocal delivery, building it up slowly until switching effortlessly to a high pitched soaring voice during the powerful chorus. Tolkki’s emotionally driven guitar solo earns additional points for this track.

    ‘Heroes’ is a pleasant fast paced power metal track, with nice melodies, sharp guitars, double bass drumming and Tobias Sammet on the vocal helm providing a Avantasia meets Stratovarius feel to the whole thing. A catchy chorus and some nice guitar work round up this non-innovative but very enjoyable song.

    ‘Last Night On Earth’ has an up-tempo melodic power metal feel throughout. The more evident keyboards together with Tolkki’s melodic guitar leads/solos, some energetic drumming and one of the albums catchiest choruses; make Last Night On Earth a definite stand out. Kiske provides another confident vocal performance rounding of the track perfectly.

    My conclusion is that “New Era” is a very well balanced melodic metal album (I wouldn’t dare to say that this is a pure power metal album as it includes only two fast paced tracks). When compared to previous Stratovarius releases, it seems that some songs carry an atmosphere which is closer to the Episode album, others resemble more the style of Visions and there are also some Elements influences to be found here and there. Another advantage of “New Era” is the fact that the album offers better vocals and more controlled guitar playing compared to past Stratovarius releases. The only downside of this album is the fact that some songs luck a few additional guitar riffs in order to become more interesting and the absence of longer guitar solos.

    The bottom line: Outstanding vocals by Kiske (one of his strongest vocal performances in recent years), strong songwriting and guitar playing by Tolkki (no shredding), melodic-emotional-confident-fresh and uplifting atmosphere and some really good songs. This is definitely some of Timo Tolkki’s best work, but it does not surpass the brilliance of some earlier Stratovarius albums.

    Posted on November 13, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now