It can go that quickly, here the “debut of the solo project of the STRATOVARIUS singer”, suddenly the second album of the band around the former STRATOVARIUS fronter. The debut “Waiting For The Dawn” already had been pretty good, even though it was not outstanding, so I was not too enthusiastic about “Coldness”, but you can always take up some good Melodic Metal, can’t you?
And as on the predecessor, Timo has gathered a quite illustrious crew around himself for the recordings: Janne Wirman (CHILDREN OF BODOM, WARMEN) on keyboards, Jari Kainulainen (STRATOVARIUS) on bass, on the six strings Mike Romeo (SYMPHONY X) and Antti Wirman (WARMEN, CRAYDAWN) and finally on drums Mirka Rantanen (THUNDERSTONE, TUNNELVISION, WARMEN). And as before neither the musicianship nor the production by Janne Wirman in the Beyond Abilities Studios and Tero Kostermaa in High And Loud’s ELK-Studios as well as the Finnvox Studios, where the mastering was done (by none other than Mika Karmila), are out of doubt.
Style wise there are no big differences to the pretty well received debut, which would have really surprised me, to be honest. Nicely enough there is no intro to be found, but “Seeds Of Sorrow” goes right into it, driving Power Metal of the European school, which thanks to Timo’s voice almost automatically slides a bit closer towards STRATOVARIUS. But after that they let go from quite a bit of the heaviness and goes into a more traditional Melodic Metal direction, at times even Hard Rock, as on the first single “Reasons“ and “Around“, where the emphasis is very different.
“Can You Hear The Sound“, for example, is quite a bit faster and puts in a lot of Metal, just like the driving “Journey Back“ with its slower chorus and a good drive, while “Snowbound” and “Evening’s Fall” are a lot slower and at times pretty atmospheric (especially the latter), but without getting balladesque. Here the Finns find a pretty good middle way between the two “extremes”. At the end we get “Here We Are”, a quite epic track with heavy guitars, alternating between mid-tempo and measured, with strong vocals, good end of the album.
Also the visual side is good (I unfortunately only have the cover here, not the whole booklet), the name Mattias Norén/Progart currently is my favourite cover artist together with Leo Hao, as he manages to put great atmosphere into his art, but without repeating himself!
My first impression of “Coldness“ was not that great, but I must say that this album grows with time, but without being complex or anything. It still is nothing outstanding, if you ask me, but definitely better than the past disappointments of STRATOVARIUS (meaning “Infinite“ and especially the “Elements“ albums) so I can still recommend this album to disappointed fans of the band, who also can deal with a bit more Hard Rock! (Online April 23, 2004)