Kotipelto - Serenity
AFM Records
Melodic Heavy Metal / Power Metal
10 songs (45'29)
Release year: 2007
Kotipelto, AFM Records
Reviewed by Marty
Timo Kotipelto, the long-time Stratovarius frontman is back with his third solo offering entitled Serenity. The turmoil that Timo Tolkki caused within Stratovarius a few years back, and subsequent frustrations that it caused the rest of the band really surfaced with Timo Kotipelto's last solo album Coldness. Unlike his first Stratovarius flavored solo CD Waiting For The Dawn, Coldness was a more sombre, dark and pessimistic sort of album with Timo Kotipelto plainly airing his feelings about the whole Stratovarius fiasco for all to see. Now that everything has apparently been reconciled within the Stratovarius camp a couple of years back, Timo Kotipelto has returned with an album that is much more up tempo and positive in its outlook and shows him back on track; delivering the type of solid melodic hard rock album that we first saw with his debut album, Waiting For The Dawn. Once again, Timo has cleaned house and uses a bunch of brand new musicians including fellow Stratovarius bandmate Lauri Porra (bass) Thunderstones's Tuomas Wainola (guitar) and Mirka Rantanan (drums) as well as veteran virtuoso keyboardist Janne Warmen (Children Of Bodom).

Serenity is a solid blend of Statovarius styled melodic power metal as seen with tracks like Once Upon A Time, Angels Will Cry, King Anti-Midas (with it's classic late 90's Stratovarius style) and very well crafted melodic heavy metal. The speedier tracks feature a much chunkier and meaty guitar sound with Janne Warmen adding a touch of 'wildness" with his technical and speedy keyboard fills. The lead synth and guitar solo tradeoffs on tracks like Once Upon A Time and Angels Will Cry are truly spectacular and even bassist Lauri Porra gets into the fray once in a while with some great bass fills. The remainder of the album falls more into the melodic hard rock category with tracks like Sleep Well, and the title track Serenity being fine examples of Timo's grasp of this particular genre as well. The obligatory power ballad is represented here with the track After The Rain. After a nice piano intro, it progresses into a very nicely executed track. The final track entitled Last Defender is a bit of a departure for Timo as it touches more on a big epic sound with doomy Sabbath flavored repetitive riffing, lots of tempo changes and instrumental breaks and a wrenching and soulful vocal delivery.

Timo's voice is a strong as ever and his vocal melodies and choruses, for the most part, are very, very well done. Sounding much better and more coherent than either his last solo album Coldness or the last self-titled Stratovarius album, Serenity still doesn't quite measure up to his first solo album Waiting For The Dawn. There’s a lot to like about this album if you are a fan of Timo's and overall, it's a solid collection of songs but there are very few truly stand out tracks. I like the album and would recommend it to his fans but for others, he has done far better work than this and other than his classic work with Stratavarius, check out Waiting For The Dawn for his best solo work to date.

Killing Songs :
Once Upon A Time, Angels Will Cry and Last Defender
Marty quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Kotipelto that we have reviewed:
Kotipelto - Coldness reviewed by Shane and quoted 72 / 100
Kotipelto - Waiting For The Dawn reviewed by Marty and quoted 86 / 100
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