When STRATOVARIUS took a long break during 2000-2001, Timo took this opportunity to record a solo record that he has been talking about for a long time now. Just like every Finnish band in Finland likes to hire band members from other Finnish bands, Timo has gone all out and recruited drummer Gas from H.I.M., Janne Warman, Sami and Mirka from the WARMEN-project. Mikko of SONATA ARCTICA, Jari from STRATOVARIUS, Mike Romeo of SYMPHONY X and Roland Grapow of ex-HELLOWEEN. With that said, does the band deliver what is to be expected of this fantastic melodic line-up?
One word could describe this project: SUPERB! The Europeans have the winning formula and American bands should take note. The CD is based on ancient Egyptian mythology and its culture and is seen through the eyes of an Egyptian man who is reincarnated in different time periods. May sound just a little silly, but at least it beats the hell out of fantasy dragon slayings and black magic. With the theme of the disc being based in Egypt and its immediate surroundings, you would expect more of that sound layered throughout the disc. Most of it is captured on the intro.
Timo lets it all out on his debut with his trademark sound that people have come to know and love. Beginnings is great melodic AOR-based music which is embedded with catchy riffs and powerful drumming. What you will notice that unlike STRATOVARIUS, the music is more straight forward melodic Power Metal. The progressiveness is left out. You would think that this would be complex and crippling progressive music with unimaginable time changes due to the line-up. That is not the case and that is good.
With such a diverse line-up as this, you would have to wonder how would they all be able to make it work. Each individual has an amazing talent and could have a major ego, but they don't. This is one cohesive unit that people should take notice of. No one has to have a dramatic solo in the middle of each song. They get right to the point and make sure that (us) the fans are having a good time in the process of this journey.
The closest thing we have to sounding like true STRATOVARIUS is "Knowledge And Wisdom" with its quick double bass kicking and fancy guitar finger work. "Beauty Has Come" is nice ballad with nicely accentuated acoustic guitars and Kotipelto's voice really shines through with this heartfelt song. The combination of AOR and Power Metal makes this release refreshing to listen to.
It's not over the top, but rather a bit more basic and something that is quite needed in this time period since everyone is so focused on out doing each other in Prog-scene. A pure joy to listen to. (Online July 30, 2002)