Predictable, un-imaginative, uninspiring and bland

As the editor of this site, you’d think that I’d keep all the cream and palm off the crap to other writers.

But as it turns out I apparently love listening to terrible heavy metal because here I am reviewing the latest turd from Timo Tolkki. Once the brains behind the most over-rated and overblown power metal band in Europe, Tolkki eventually departed Stratovarius after a spectacular nervous breakdown. With the inglorious passing of his subsequent Revolution Renaissance project, his latest vehicle is a band featuring cast-offs from every other power metal band that’s ever existed. Also featuring ex-Angra/Shaman/Looking-Glass Self vocalist André Matos, keyboard player Mikko Härkin from Sonata Arctica, ex-Stratovarius bassist Jari Kainulainen and drummer Uli Kusch from every band in Europe, Symfonia is exactly what you’d expect from a group so named and containing such people. And it sucks.

In a word, In Paradisum is rubbish. In a sentence, it’s predictable, un-imaginative, uninspiring and bland, featuring the same ideas Tolkki ran out of more than a decade ago. If the name of the band isn’t warning enough, the cover art should suffice. Graphics like this belong on Final Fantasy games, not metal albums. The songs are dreary, without a single original element. Matos sings way higher than any human should be allowed and while it’s a credit to him that he does so without actually going off-key, a register this high becomes annoying very, very quickly – and this album is almost an hour long. Kusch phones in his tracks and Kainulainen does pretty much what he always did: stands around in the background of promo shots. Härkin is allowed some of the spotlight but, let’s face it, Janne Wirman he ain’t. Naturally, the real focus is Tolkki, which is sad because, like Yngwie Malmsteen, he’s simply relying on his name alone these days. But at least Yngwie retains the ability to make your jaw hit the floor once in a while, often when you least expect it. Tolkki can’t be bothered, instead content to merely serve up ten tracks of risably awful power metal pap. Every track on here could have come from any of the bands that these guys have been in before and Kusch alone has made this album dozens of times, and much, much better. No wonder he doesn’t seem interested. Neither should anyone else.


  1. Fields of Avalon
  2. Come by the Hills
  3. Santiago
  4. Alayna
  5. Forevermore
  6. Pilgrim Road
  7. In Paradisum
  8. Rhapsody in Black
  9. I Walk in Neon
  10. Don’t Let Me Go