July 7, 2021

I think you all know the format by now and exactly what to expect from the former Stratovarius guitarist with The Enigma Birth being the fourth part of his crazy but brilliant power metal opera produced under the name of Timo Tolkki’s Avalon.

Tolkki has hit on a winning formula and the old adage “if it ain’t broke” continues to hold true from this great musician and he must eat, sleep and live with just the one world that sums up his music with the word being EPIC. Avalon is not for the faint of heart as this is another huge slab of preposterously over the top power metal with everything thrown in including the kitchen sink. Not a man for half measures, Tolkki has taken a style/genre that is already know for being monumental and grandiose and has maxed it by a power of ten. When Timo Tolkki is in town then moderation simply goes out of the window and that is exactly what we want from this much larger than life musician, songwriter and producer as power metal was always designed to be bigger than big!

As usual, he has brought in a collection of extremely talented musicians to help him in his quest for musical perfection and the names of the contributors may change but the quality never does as Tolkki always insists that the highest standards are maintained and, again, he has eked out every ounce of power and emotion from his array of stars parading under the Avalon banner. As usual, Timo Tolkki plays guitar with Andrea Arcangeli (DGM/Noveria) on bass, Marco Lazzarini (ex-Secret Sphere/Odd Dimension) on drums and Antonio Agate (Sweet Oblivion) on keyboards & orchestration plus additional guitars from Federico Maraucci (Blue Beam Project) and Aldo Lonobile (Secret Sphere/Archon Angel/Sweet Oblivion). Once again, there is a big Secret Sphere influence in the making of the album with Aldo Lonobile being heavily involved in the project as co-writer with Tolkki and has again produced the album. You can then add to this most talented roster some pretty stellar names with Tolkki bring in a superb collection of vocalists in James LaBrie (Dream Theater), Jake E (ex-Amaranthe, Cyrha), Marina La Torraca (Phantom Elite, Exit Eden), Brittney Slayes (Unleash The Archers), Raphael Mendes (Icon Of Sin), Fabio Lione (Rhapsody, Angra, Eternal Idol), Caterina Nix (Chaos Magic) and the Norwegian YouTube vocal star and actor PelleK. It doesn’t matter how you measure the quality of your vocalists as that is a pretty impressive list by any standard and they all interact perfectly and bring their own touch of magic to the project.

Timo Tolkki again shows that he is a true master on guitar and the addition of Maraucci and Lonobile is real icing on the cake as they provide huge riffs and blistering solos with ease. Of course, it is the singers who totally command your attention and each seems to have been given songs that suit their particular ranges and styles with each song blending onto the next and there is not even a hint of discontinuity given the large number of vocalists in the project as the songs have been crafted to perfection. There is the usual symphonic and metal opera feel throughout but power aplenty too making this a great album to rock out too. Of course, there are several exquisite ballads that thrill to the core and they are spaced very evenly throughout the album so that the pace may slow slightly but the intensity never does.

The Enigma Birth has everything that you are looking for in your lofty power metal project with instrumentation that is off the scale, singers operating on a new plane altogether and songs that are, for want of a better word, just perfect. The album is hard, heavy and rocking whilst maintaining all of the usual melody, hooks and vocal harmonies expected from the Avalon project with this part four being a real masterpiece. Those already committed to Tolkki will be delighted with this latest work of art and to any yet waiting to discover him and his works then make a start immediately as you are missing out on some truly magnificent symphonic power metal. All four albums work beautifully as separate entities but together they become something monstrous and with a life of its own, you owe it to yourself to be part of the team as symphonic metal just does not get better than this.

The Enigma Birth track list

  1. The Enigma Birth (feat PelleK) (4:34)
  2. I Just Collapse (feat Caterina Nix) (6:13)
  3. Memories (feat Caterina Nix, Brittney Slayes) (5:44)
  4. Master Of Hell (feat Raphael Mendes) (3:51)
  5. Beautiful Lie (feat James LaBrie) (3:51)
  6. Truth (feat Jake E) (3:48)
  7. Another Day (feat Marina La Torraca) (5:05)
  8. Beauty And War (feat Raphael Mendes) (5:17)
  9. Dreaming (feat Fabio Lione) (6:30)
  10. The Fire And The Sinner (feat Jake E & Brittney Slayes) (3:06)
  11. Time (feat Marina La Torraca) (5:58)
  12. Without Fear (feat Fabio Lione) (4:51)