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August 2007
Released: 2007, Candlelight USA
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: EvilG

Stratovarius vocalist, Timo Kotipelto, returns with his third solo album entitled SERENITY. It’s as difficult to find something overly bad to say about this album as it is to find something good. After spinning it through many times, it is enjoyable, but also comes off as being too paint by numbers and bland.

If you are a big fan of Kotipelto’s vocals, then you will not be letdown by his vocal performance on SERENITY. It’s not the vocals that are the hold back, it’s the safeness, sameness, and ‘heard it all before’-ness of the songs. There is the token fast song “Once Upon A Time” which starts out the album and on first listen will grab your attention making you think back to a happier time when we had a speedier Stratovarius. There is even a bass solo in this one which was a nice addition. The follow-up is the mid-paced hard rock song “Sleep Well”. The keys are a bit up front in parts of this one, and again, the paint by numbers feel doesn't help. Title track “Serenity” is ok, but is forgettable. The same mid-tempo and feel permeates several of the albums following tracks. The next time you will wake up is for “Angels Will Cry” which again sounds like a great Strato b-side, or Strato without that magical spark that you pick up from any great band. The sappy lullaby on here called “After the Rain” is not listenable at all, I've only made it through that abomination once.

With the high caliber of material Kotipelto has been involved with, you'd think more of his solo material would be awesome. While it's all “good”, it's not going to be more than passing interest to even hardcore Stratovarius fans. His last solo album from 2004, COLDNESS, was much stronger and opened a few different musical doors which were interesting. However, this time out, it's like diet Stratovarius. Personally, I'd prefer to hear Kotipelto singing in a much more aggressive power/thrash band with some of the darker near-sabbath elements found on COLDNESS....but maybe that's just me?
Track Listing

1. Once upon a Time
2. Sleep Well
3. Serenity
4. City of Mysteries
5. King Anti-Midas
6. Angels Will Cry
7. After the Rain
8. Mr. Know-It-All
9. Dreams and Reality
10. Last Defender


Timo Kotipelto - Vocals
Tuomas Wäinölä - Guitars
Lauri Porra - Bass
Janne Warman - Keyboards
Mirka Rantanen - Drums

Next review: » Kotipelto - Waiting For The Dawn
Previous review: » Kotipelto - Coldness

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