A new Allen/Lande release without mastermind Magnus Karlsson involved? Not sure about that. Timo Tolkki to take over as chief architect? Definitely know how I feel about that.
I came into this release – the 4th overall – with very low expectations. After Timo’s recent twin Avalon releases, I expected a bad production and some bland songwriting.
But I was wrong and I’m happy to announce that.
While I don’t think the album has the same wall of sound that Karlsson delivered or the same intensity in the vocals, it is still pretty good.
Interestingly, 6 of the 10 tracks feature just the one vocalist. Jorn on 3 and Russell on 3. Just 4 of the songs feature both vocalists and that’s a weakness of the album and shows how well Karlsson worked with both singers on all songs and intertwined their vocals on the first 3 records.
Thankfully the production is far better than the Avalon releases, with Dennis Ward brought in to mix the end results.
Anything featuring Russell Allen and Jorn Lande in full attack mode is going to appeal, so I’m glad everyone involved got it right.
Timo is responsible for writing all songs – with Jorn co-writing several with him. Timo is also responsible for the guitars, bass and keyboards. So it’s an impressive performance here and I’ll now expect more from him.
After 3 pretty similar releases (which I all rate highly), perhaps it is nice to hear these class vocalists at it once again, but with a different sound behind them.
The strong opener Come Dream With Me and the belting impact of the fast moving Down From The Mountain (both tracks featuring duel vocals) and In The Hands Of Time (featuring Russell) get the album off to the best possible start, with both singers in full fight.
It’s not until the quality metal ballad Lady Of Winter (featuring Jorn alone) do things slow down a little.
Dream Until Tomorrow is a song featuring both singers belting it out and is followed by another duet in the intense Hymn For The Fallen.
Russell closes the album with a pair of songs – one highly quality rocker and the other a powerful metal ballad called Bittersweet.
As much as I like the results here, I still haven’t played the album as much as I did the first three. I think the sonic impact of Magnus Kalrsson is the obvious missing ingredient here, plus the lack of interplay between vocalists, but otherwise, Timo far exceeded my expectations and this is still an enjoyable melodic metal / hard rock album worth of the Allen/Lande name.