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Revolution Renaissance - "EP" (Digital EP)

Revolution Renaissance - "EP" Digital EP cover image

"EP" track listing:

1. Heroes (album version, with Tobias Sammet)
2. I Did It My Way (acoustic, with Michael Kiske)
3. Angel (acoustic, with Michael Kiske)
4. Keep The Flame (acoustic, with Michael Kiske)
5. We Are Magic (with Tobias Sammet)
6. Last Night On Earth (Stratovarius demo)
7. Revolution Renaissance (Stratovarius demo)
8. Heroes (Stratovarius demo)

Reviewed by on November 9, 2010

"Half of the tracks on this EP are rather unflattering and leave the listener wondering why the band didn’t just stick to a four-song EP."

Timo Tolkki’s Revolution Renaissance made this EP a digital-only release just before the launch of the band’s final album, “Trinity.” The EP covers songs from the first album, “New Era,” which was written after Tolkki’s departure from the long-running Finnish titans Stratovarius. The release gives listeners a few different tastes of the original songs.

“Heroes,” the first on the album, is sung by Edguy/Avantasia’s Tobias Sammet. While the lyrics are a great fit for Sammet, the song ends up sounding like a Hammerfall track. One could make the argument that most of the songs sound a bit bland, sticking to common chord progressions. The second song, “I Did It My Way,” sounds like it was written by either Hammerfall or Bon Jovi. Here, we get an acoustic version of the song, with Tolkki’s backing electric guitars still present. Helloween’s Michael Kiske sings the vocals, as well as on the next two songs.

Kiske is easily the highlight of this EP, with his rich clean voice. His vocals on “Angel” are solemn and pleading as he sings, “Angel, I can’t take away the pain, I can only stand in rain. I’ll be there with you.” The song strangely fades out as Timo Tolkki starts ripping a guitar solo. Timo Tolkki’s guitar skills are to be praised, which begs the question, “Why did they fade out the song during the solo?” For the next song, an acoustic version of “Keep The Flame,” his guitar theatrics are restrained as well. The song is brought in by the sound of rolling ocean waves. Kiske masterfully sings over the acoustic instrumentation and the waves take the song out.

The next song sees Tobias Sammet back on the mic for the upbeat, “We Are Magic.” Here is where the band comes to life and the signature Timo Tolkki power metal is seen. The song, as strangely as on “Angel,” fades out during what feels like a high point. The band does not really know how to properly end these two songs. The next three tracks are Stratovarius demos of Revolution Renaissance songs, recorded with Timo Kotipelto and the full band before Tolkki’s departure. “Last Night On Earth” has the characteristic intensity of Stratovarius and makes for the most ass-kicking offering on the EP, especially with Tolkki’s guitar solo. “Revolution Renaissance” rehashes a melodic idea from the classic Stratovarius song, “Soul of a Vagabond,” although it’s not as dramatic or fulfilling as the song it takes from. The guitar solo is still gigantic, but the track just doesn’t cover much ground. The Stratovarius version of “Heroes” sees Timo Kotipelto getting very pitchy with his voice and struggling in places, which makes one wonder why this demo was included.

Half of the tracks on this EP are rather unflattering and leave the listener wondering why the band didn’t just stick to a four-song EP. The EP would have been effective with the three songs Kiske sings on and the Tobias Sammet version of “We Are Magic.” As it is, the EP is something only the core fans of Revolution Renaissance are going to appreciate.

Highs: Michael Kiske and Tobias Sammet’s vocals and the track “Angel.”

Lows: The Stratovarius demos and acoustic version of “Heroes” are really unessential and Timo Tolkki’s playing is, on the whole, restrained.

Bottom line: These re-workings of the original RR songs would be nothing to jump for without Michael Kiske and Tobias Sammet.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)