Revolution Renaissance - Trinity 3.5/5
1. Marching with the fools
2. Falling to rise
3. A lot like me
4. The world doesn’t get to me
5. Crossing the rubicon
6. Just let it rain
9. Frozen winter heart
Talented, but more recently, irrational guitarist Timo Tolkki has been the laughing stock of the metal universe since his last few years with power metal act, Stratovarius. Around the time of the ‘Elements’ CDs, Tolkki, in a so-called mental break became enraged with certain members of the band and subsequently fired vocalist Timo Kotipelto and drummer Jorg Michael. Then after a series of events, in which Tolkki was “assaulted” and then hospitalized after a suicide attempt, the classic Stratovarius line-up reunited and the band released their 's/t' release in 2005.
Yet the writing was on the wall and the band could still not coincide together and Tolkki later announced that Stratovarius would be breaking up. Material that had already been written for the next Stratovarius CD was used by Tolkki for his new project and the name of the CD had become the name of the new band, called Revolution Renaissance. The band was always going to be doomed right from the start, as Tolkki’s odd behaviour and outbursts against his old Stratovarius friends were frowned upon by the metal public and Stratovarius fans alike. The first release ‘New era’ came out in 2008 and was comprised of Tolkki on guitars and guest musicians to round out the band until permanent members could be found. 2009’s ‘Age of Aquarius’ featured those permanent musicians, including vocalist Gus Monsanto, bassist Justin Biggs, drummer Bruno Agra and keyboardist Mike Khalilov.
The 2 Revolution Renaissance releases were average at best, but also completely expected. The train wreck finally came to a halt in July 2010, when Tolkki announced that the band had split-up, citing reasons such as personal problems, a lack of interest from fans and the current situation in the music industry. While Tolkki was laying blame elsewhere, he should have been looking at himself as the reason why this band did not succeed. Even though the band had now been disbanded, there was still the event of the 3rd and final CD, which was released in early October of this year. Named ‘Trinity’, the final CD features ex-Hammerfall bassist Magnus Rosen (after the departure of Justin Biggs) and also keyboardist Bob Katsionis, following the departure of Mike Khalilov.
Those unaware of how Revolution Renaissance sound, they would best be described as melodic and symphonic European power metal, similar in style to the 90s Stratovarius, but just minus a fair amount of polish. Songs vary in tempo and length, but quite a few tracks from the first 2 releases are more often than not fairly uninspired and also lack depth. There are some pretty good songs here and there on the previous 2 CDs, but unfortunately they are few and far between.
It seems a shame now though, that with the demise of the band, Timo Tolkki has created the best release of the 3 with ‘Trinity’. The songs on the CD are far more enjoyable and memorable, and it sounds as though Tolkki’s writers block has been finally lifted. Despite vocalist Gus Monsanto not being the best singer in the world (and trying to sound like Timo Kotipelto too I might add), there are certain tracks where he does excel. Namely the 2nd track on the CD “Falling to rise”, it’s not only of the best track on the CD with its catchy guitar riffs and chorus, but Monsanto is pin point in his delivery. “A lot like me” is another strong track, a tad slower however fairly epic with deep sounding bass and drumming. “Dreamchild” is another great track, with a classic European melodic metal pounding riff with catchiness galore. With a wicked sing-a-long chorus and solo to boot, “Dreamchild” is definitely a standout on the CD.
It’s no secret that Tolkki has tried to continue the Stratovarius sound with Revolution Renaissance, with quite a few tracks on ‘Trinity’ written in the same vein from classic Stratovarius releases such as ‘Destiny’, ‘Episode’ and ‘Fourth dimension’. The epic and lengthy title track “Trinity” sounds like it could have come straight from one of those CDs mentioned, and despite the obvious similarities, the track is actually pretty good.
I can’t say that what’s on offer with ‘Trinity’ is anything new, aside from the Stratovarius influence. In actual fact it does sound recycled and it is all material that we’ve heard before. Not a deterrent for anyone though, as I still consider ‘Trinity’ to be quite solid and easily Tolkki’s best effort since the ‘Elements’ CDs back when he was with Stratovarius.
Overall however, to quote someone close to me – Too late she cried, as she waved her wooden leg – the band is no more and they have departed with their best release of the 3. Sad really, although Tolkki is now pressing on, preparing to launch another metal project named Symfonia. Whilst is in its early stages so far, the musicians Tolkki has surrounded himself with is quite impressive to say the least. Andre Matos (ex-Angra), Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Evergrey), Mikko Härkin (ex-Sonata Arctica) and Uli Kusch (ex-Helloween, ex-Masterplan). Hopefully with all those big egos, this super group can coincide and release one heck of a CD in 2011.
But until then, you can still enjoy the final release of Revolution Renaissance, with the well-crafted ‘Trinity’. This is a good sign for Timo Tolkki and hopefully his problems of the past 7 years are finally behind him. So long Revolution Renaissance, bring on Symfonia!
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