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Hymn To Life

Finland Country of Origin: Finland

Hymn To Life

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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: January 28th, 2002
Genre: Heavy, Power, Rock
1. Intro
2. Key To The Universe
3. Now I Understand
4. Divine
5. Little Boy I Miss You
6. I Believe
7. Are You The One?
8. Father
9. Fresh Blue Waters
10. Dear God
11. It's Xmas Morning
12. Hymn To Life

Review by Krys on December 31, 2001.

What do you expect when you get a CD from one of the best power metal guitarists? Outstanding guitar work, neck-breaking riffs, killer solos, galloping rhythm sections...? At least, that’s what I’d expect, but Timo Tolkki (Stratovarius) doesn’t think so and “Hymn To Life” is a collection of songs that the only resemblance of metal, or in this case even rock, is a sticker on the CD cover reminding us that this man is actually the one behind the Stratovarius axe.

What’s nu-pop? It’s my definition of dance, catchy music with a few heavy guitar licks, and with pain in my heart I have to label this CD as such. Because I don’t listen to this type of music, I don’t even know to what band or solo artist I can compare it to, but one thing that struck me the most is the fact that after the first spin I had the feeling I’ve heard it all before.

‘Now I Understand’, ‘I Believe’, ‘Fresh Blue Waters’ plus a few others are built around very commercial structures that right away should stick in your head and invite you to a dance floor. Sound interesting? I didn’t think so. I just can’t understand why Nuclear Blast decided to put their money into it and release this CD. If “Hymn To Life” came on a non-metal label it would have much better chance of succeeding in a commercial world and save itself from very discouraging reviews like this one all aver the metal world.

And lyrically, “Hymn To Life” is labeled as very personal portrayal of Tolkkin’s life, but I find it way too personal. Maybe I’m too hard on myself and I don’t keep my head in the clouds or I’m simply just too evil but take the last three songs, ‘Dear God’, ‘It’s Xmas Morning’ and ‘Hymn to Life’. Who needs to know that every night you fall on your knees to make a prayer? Or that speech at the end of ‘Hymn to Life’, I don’t remember hearing anything so naïve in a very long time. The sooner you realize that earth is not a paradise the better. Yes, we are the humans and if you haven’t noticed, in wartime, you kill or you get killed.

Bottom Line: From Timo I expected a hell of a lot more and I hope those solo experiments won’t have any affect on the future Stratovarius’ releases.

Categorical Rating Breakdown

Musicianship: 6
Atmosphere: 5
Production: 8
Originality: 5
Overall: 5

Ratting: 5.8 out of 10