TIMO TOLKKI - Hymn To Life
March 10, 2002, 20 years ago
Stratovarius fans take note: the promises/threats are true, and Hymn To Life is as far away as Tolkki can get from Stratovarius without becoming a Backstreet Boy. Moody and mellow, the album is a collection of ballads and pop-ish tunes covering everything from love to religion to Christmas (I kid you not with this last item). There isn't a single trademark Tolkki riff or solo to be heard, the guitarist focusing instead on his vocals - which are great - and the emotional value of each song. Oddly enough, the two best tracks on the album feature guest vocalists: ex-Helloween singer Michael Kiske on 'Key To The Universe' and Within Temptation's Sharon Den Adel on 'Are You The One?', the latter being the only song that comes close to being Stratovarian. The song 'I Believe' is also a solid piece of work even if it is a little bit too basic for my tastes. There is one heavy track to be found mid-album - the song 'Father' - which flies in the face of everything else on Hymn To Life to the point of being unlistenable. Take this as the point of view from someone who has rarely enjoyed Tolkki's pop tendencies over his fret-shredding work.