It bothers me when things I enjoy don’t get finished. Timo Tolkki’s Avalon was one such worrisome point. The first album in the Metal Opera concept trilogy came out in 2013 and the follow-up effort arrived almost exactly a year later. Then…silence. The years passed and as sad as it was I assumed the story would remain incomplete. Finally four years later the joyous news came that the project would be finished and then five years later, the conclusion has arrived.
Wasp man wrote excellent reviews for THE LAND OF NEW HOPE and ANGELS OF THE APOCALYPSE for Metal-Rules.com and because he is no longer writing with us as much, I’ve decided the close the circle and review RETURN TO EDEN. The disc came out in June 2019 and like the others is well produced and has a decent booklet with lyrics and so on. Stan Decker does the art again, giving us a nice consistent look across the trilogy.
Four years is a lot of time and as one might expect the line-up has changed significantly from Parts I & II. In fact only Timo himself and Zakk from Savatage seem to be the only remaining key components. The positive side what happened is basically that Tolkki hired most of Italy’s Secret Sphere to be the band, which, in my opinion is awesome because I love those guys!
I really enjoy these multi-part Metal Opera’s with tons of guest stars. This time we can part or present members of The Gathering, Riot, Savatage, Tristania, Elegy and more. As expected there is no change is style and we would not want there to be! We get speedy double-kick driven numbers, orchestral pieces, sparing vocals all over the place and lots of guitar crunch courtesy of Tolkki himself. In terms of plot I won’t spoil the ending for you, but the loose story ends as you might expect for this kind of mega-project.
Now that this Metal Opera is wrapped up, I wonder what Tolkki will do next? Overall RETURN TO EDEN is a very enjoyable Power Metal and a satisfying conclusion to the saga.
3. Return to Eden
4. Hear My Call
5. Now and Forever
6. Miles Away
8. We Are the Ones
10.Give Me Hope
12. Guiding Star
Todd Michael Hall-Vocals (tracks 2, 3, 5)
Annette van Giersbergen-Vocals (tracks 4, 8)
Mariangela Demurtas-Vocals (tracks 3, 9, 12)
Zak Stevens-Vocals (tracks 3, 6, 11)
Eduard Hovinga-Vocals (tracks 7, 10)
Chiara Tricarico-Vocals (track 9)