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KOTIPELTO is the moniker for the solo activity of vocalist Timo Kotipelto, who has been the singer in Finnish pomp metal band Stratovarius since 1994. “Serenity” is the third solo release from this project, the album owning a lot to the eighties. Musical inspirations include mid-‘80s AOR and hair metal, as well as some clear influences from Ozzy Osbourne, Helloween and Iron Maiden. The album has been mixed in a way that makes it sound both more modern and heavier than anything else from AOR, with the guitars up front in the mix dominating most of the songs, and a slight feel of compressed sound further enhancing the loudness and heaviness of the songs. Which results in an album of melodic metal, with drawn-out guitar chords and mid-paced melodic guitar riffs, some slightly sharp keyboards added to enhance melodies, and the vocals of Timo Kotipelto soaring above the instruments. Uplifting melodies and catchy choruses are offered in plenty here, but the songs as such really aren't that interesting. Some may find the lack of originality bothersome on this release; for my sake I miss some really memorable riffs and melodies. Fans of melodic metal and the heavier side of AOR will probably be the ones interested in this release. Personally I do miss a heart and soul here.
OMB: February 22, 2008
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