Archive for Timo Tolkki

Symfonia – In Paradisum [2011]

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 29th March 2011 by Nico Davidson

Band: Symfonia
Album: In Paradisum
Release Year: 2011
Genre: Power Metal

Symfonia is a power metal super group formed by Andra Matos (ex-Viper, ex-Angra, ex-Shaaman), Timo Tolkki (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Revolution Renaissance), Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius, ex-Evergrey), Mikko Härkin (Cain’s Offering, ex-Sonata Arctica, ex-Kotipelto, ex-Solution .45) and Uli Kusch (ex-Holy Moses, ex-Helloween, ex-Gamma Ray, ex-Masterplan). Their debut release “In Paradisum” was released 25th March 2011. Its title, translated into English, means “Into Paradise”.

The first track of the album is “Fields of Avalon” which begins with a rough, thrash-sounding intro. The drums soon accompany the riff, followed by the vocals. In the chorus, the vocals sound strained, almost struggling to sound powerful. The use of keyboards is little, but when used, works fairly well in between guitar riffs. The guitar solo sounds somewhat incomplete and choppy in parts. “Fields of Avalon” clearly wasn’t the ideal choice track to begin the album with.

Next is “Come By The Hills”, beginning with a harpsichord intro, which soon begins working alongside the guitars and drums, adding for an epic sound. There is a use of acoustic guitar which brings a certain gentleness to the track. The vocals, to begin with, sound feminine. During in other sections, the vocals sound strained again. The use of keyboards throughout the rest of the track leads of a mediocre sound at best. The guitar solo is an improvement compared to the one on the previous track, as it sounds as if the notes all flow together rather than being randomly put together.

Beginning with a rough sounding intro is the third track “Santiago”, which turns heavier with the introduction of drums to the track. The vocals sound stronger on this track to begin with, though they soon lose their power. There is a little use of keyboards during in the chorus which does little to improve the track. The slow guitar section which leads into a solo about halfway through adds for a welcome change in the track and improves the track slightly as it sounds well composed to begin with but soon turns choppy. “Alayna” is next, beginning with a keyboard-and-acoustic guitar intro. The vocals soon make themselves heard, ruining the track completely. The track keeps a slow pace, even when the electric guitars and drums are introduced. It is the lightest track on the album. When the vocals attempt to go more powerful, the track turns slightly heavier.

“Forevermore” comes next, bringing heaviness back to the album with it’s “System of a Down” styled intro. The track takes a lighter turn sometime after the introduction of drums to the track. The vocals, again, sound strained. The keyboards don’t do much on this track, except add a faint chorus effect and a slight harpsichord which can be barely heard only the strained vocals and pounding drums. The guitar solo is enough to make ears bleed with its lack of decent composition. Following after is “Pilgrim Road” which has a medieval-pirate sounding  guitar and keyboard intro, which is soon replaced by strained vocals and synths. The guitars and drums soon make a re-appareance, followed by a harpsichord effect. The chorus is as bad as a Justin Bieber tracker. The guitar solo is choppy and lacks energy.

The title track “In Paradisum” is next. It’s intro is composed of harmonic choir-like vocals, guitars, drums and orchestration, making for a brilliant introduction to a track. The vocals sound more strained than they have been on the previous tracks, working not so well with the acoustic guitars. The choir-like vocals make a reappearance when the track turns heavy again. There is also a use of female sounding choir-like vocals, adding a certain Gothicism to the track.  The guitar solo is probably the worse part of the track, whilst the drums sound as if they’ve been half-heartedly played. There is some narration by children, speaking of depressing subjects. The major problem with this track though is the fact that it’s over nine minutes long and one can only endure the sound of strained vocals for so long.

“Rhapsody of Black” is next, starting with a hard rock styled intro riff combined with pounding drums. The track turns lighter with the introduction of the vocals, which sound weak but less strained. When the track turns heavy, the vocals begin to sound strained again. The solo is poorly composed, with areas that need vast improvement. The overall track seems to lack energy and decent musicianship. Next is “I Walk In Neon”, with a harpsichord intro alongside a slight use of drums, just before the guitars and bass make themselves heard. The track turns light, with just the use of vocals, synths, drums and acoustic guitar. The vocals seem to keep switching between weak, strained and out of key.  The guitar solo sounds above average for the most part, but still needs some work. The track finishes soon after. The last track is “Don’t Let Me Go”, which begins with a cello and acoustic guitar intro, soon accompanied by the vocals, which sound slightly stronger. There is a little use of drums, though they can be barely heard due to the effects used on them. Oddly enough, this is probably the best track on the album, as the vocals sound half-decent.

For a debut album by musicians who all have experience in the metal scene, this is a poor excuse for a release. The vocals at best are weak and strained, whilst the instrumentation is fairly decent on half of the tracks. The guitar solos need a lot of work. The sound quality and production of the album is absolutely brilliant though. Perhaps Symfonia’s next release will have better composition and vocals.


Nico Davidson