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Symfonia - In Paradisum

Label: Edel
Format: CD download
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 7.5/ 10

The much ballyhooed return of ex-Stratovarius guitarist Timo Tolkki, paired with ex-Angra/Viper/Shaman vocalist Andre Matos. Throw in one time members of Helloween, Evergrey and Sonata Arctica. Given those pedigrees, it’s none too surprising these nine tracks are rollicking, high pitched vocal power metal. Just don’t expect originality, which is fine for me, here.


The opening ‘Fields Of Avalon’ treads into Avantasia territory, Matos inhabiting a similar range to Edguy mastermind Tobias Sammet. Keyboards are present underneath almost everything. The driving ‘Santiago’ begins as if an old school Blackmore composition, although there are also solo acoustic and Medieval neo-classical guitar sections within its 5:56 dynamic run. Not as Pied Piper-ish as the intro to ‘Pilgrim Road’ however. Matos’ talent can’t save the weak ‘Alayna’ ballad. ‘Forevermore’ gets things back on track, upbeat and familiar, plus the use of a liturgical backing organ. The harpsichord kick-off to ‘I Walk In Neon’ definitely recalls Tolkki’s former employer. The low moan of cello, which greets the ‘Don’t Let Me Go’ ballad is recurrent throughout the closing number. Playing it safe, relying on their collective pasts, Symfonia have sparked interest and guarantee at least another release.

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