Timo Tolkki
Hymn to Life

Timo Tolkki is one hellacious guitar player! I mean this guy can flat out shred with the best of ’em and make a lot of them say, “Woah! That guy can shred!” Starovarius is deservedly one of the most celebrated and beloved bands in modern power metal. Unfortunately, one listen to Hymn To Life will immediately make any fan of Strato or Tolkki think, “This is Timo Tolkki?”

You want a killer shred guitar record? Don’t buy this! You want a gutsy, melodic rock record with massive hooks? Do not buy this record! If you want a record where a massive power metal guitarist takes a soggy trip down his own personal memory lane and gets in touch with his inner child, then this record is for you! Buy this record, call up the girlfriends, make some General Foods International Coffee and listen to Tolkki pour out his heart out in songs like “Now I Understand,” “Little Boy I Miss You,” Father,” “Dear God” and “Are You The One?” Get caught up in the lukewarm melodies, be swept away by the cliche (and way too personal) lyrics, gaze in awe at the speakers as Michael Kiske (ex-yeah, like you don’t know) tries unsuccessfully to save “Key To The Universe” (the key, according to the lyrics, is “love”) from total deafening mediocrity.

I mean, I hate to be so scathing. God bless the guy for trying to write a personal record and break away from the typical “guitar hero” solo album, but I was asleep at the wheel from the moment Hymn To Life registered on on my CD-player. I bet Stuart Smalley would love this record! Someone of Tolkki’s talent could have done so much better. Maybe his mom will buy one.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Shawn Pelata
January 28th, 2002

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