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In Paradisum
April 2011
Released: 2011, Edel
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

In case you missed it, each year here at all the staff make some predictions for our Year End Special. Here was my #2 prediction for 2011 written in December of 2010.

“Symfonia. The new band featuring… 
André Matos (ANGRA, SHAMAN, VIPER) - Vocals 
Jari Kainulainen (STRATOVARIUS, EVERGREY) - Bass 
Mikko Härkin (SONATA ARCTICA, KOTIPELTO) - Keyboards 
The debut album is out in March. With that kind of fire-power, I’m calling it a (very) early contender for many Top 10 lists in 2011.”

That pretty sums up my current feelings writing this in March. I was not disappointed at all and the debut album IN PARADISUM actually exceeded my expectations. Sometimes when you have these glorious (on-paper) super-groups the sum is not as good as the whole. Well, I’m so delighted that in this case the whole is an incredible amalgamation of talent that has written, recorded and produced an instant classic in my mind.

I couldn’t be happier with what these five fine gentlemen have created. If you like mid-era Stratovarius (EPISODE through INFINITE) then Symfonia will put a smile on your face a mile wide. Imagine Matos best performance in years! Imagine Tolkki playing fast Metal guitar again! Imagine Matos fronting classic Stratovarius. Think of old Edguy and Angra. Well, you get the idea. Originality and innovation, thankfully are not high on the priority list. The band know their strengths, have realized what fans have been demanding for years and have delivered, a pure, power Metal classic. Matos and Tolkki have both done self-indulgent and poorly received solo work over the years and perhaps they realized they need to play to their strengths.

Backed with three world-class journeymen this band kills with power. The triple opening punch of double-kick driven cuts with infectious sing-along choruses, will knock you on your ass. Hints of acoustic guitar, some keyboards, cello and varying tempos only add to the diversity and listening pleasure of the entire album. The mid-tempo ‘Rhapsody In Black’ is one of my favorite tracks on the album with an elite vocal performance by Matos. Every song is a winner.

IN PARADISUM indeed! I am in paradise after hearing this album. It’s probably the best 45 minutes of music I’ve heard this year thus far. Watch out Stratovarius! I’ll see both if you again at the 2011 Best of/Year end lists!
Track Listing

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


Andre Matos - Vocals
Timo Tolkki - Guitars
Jari Kainulainen - Bass
Mikko Härkin - Keyboards
Uli Kusch- Drums
Uli Kusch - Drums

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