Kotipelto - Waiting For Dawn

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8108-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 52:25:00

Within the last few weeks I watched a TV documentary on ancient Egypt called Egypt - Beyond The Pyramids narrated/guided by actor Peter Woodward (Crusade, the Babylon 5 spin-off) who guides us through various locales in Egypt, including the tomb of Ramses II. And, around the same time, I read an article in TIME magazine regarding whether King Tut had been murdered. The lure of the mysteries and history of ancient Egypt never dies - certainly not with archeologists, anthropologists, and the like, but also not with those who are merely fascinated. Enter into this Waiting For The Dawn, a concept album from Stratovarius vocalist Timo Kotipelto, that "takes you into the world of Egyptian mythology and history through the eyes of an Egyptian man reincarnated through various time periods." Those time periods pretty much remain ancient Egypt, though one can probably assume that the journey begins in our own time...

If you think that the artwork is reminiscent of that from a certain legendary UK metal band, you are right, as Derek Riggs is the artist behind this and Iron Maiden's Powerslave (among others). Kotipelto's cohorts in this project aren't mere session musicians -- fellow Strat Jari Kainulainen is on bass; Symphony X's Michael Romeo plays guitar; three fifths of Warmen guest in the form of Sami Virtanen on guitars, Janne Wirman (Children Of Bodom) on keyboards, and Mirka Rantanen (Tunnel Vision) on drums; Sonata Artica's Mikko Harkin also plays keys; while HIM's Gas plays drums and Roland Grapow (ex-Halloween) also plays guitar. Arjen Anthony Lucassen guests on two bonus tracks - "Book Of The Dead," which appears on the Finnish version of the album, and "Secret Book," which is on the Japanese version.

Stylistically, Waiting For The Dawn doesn't tread any new territory. While it stands out from the pack by being well done and well played -- a look at the performers list above assures that -- there is nothing that makes you sit up and go "wow, that's something I've not heard before." You could take any of the upper tier of progressive metal bands and compare this to it, in part because of that very guest list, but also because it's a genre that has certain hallmarks, certain expectations. There are elements of Iron Maiden to the sound, especially in that loping rhythm that I associate with Maiden. Maiden come to mind very much with "Arise." Of course, given the Egyptian motif of the album cover and the album's theme -- how could IM not come to mind. I can't get more specific than that concept-wise, as the lyrics weren't included with the promo version; so what time period is represented by which piece will be left to you. Other bands that came to mind for me were Angra and Shadow Gallery. In the case of the first, it is that I often thought that Kotipelto sounded like ex-Angra vocalist Andre Matos. Shadow Gallery came to mind with "Knowledge And Wisdom," which takes Shadow Gallery of Carved In Stone and makes it a little bit heavier.

The album begins with a harp-like keyboard flourish and soft focus guitars, which leads into the energetic "Travel Through Time," which sets things up story-wise. Though Lucassen only appears on the bonus tracks, "Travel Through Time" sounds like it could have come from one of his projects. Romeo plays guitar on the first three tracks (after "Intro", plus on "Vizier" and "Chosen By Re"), and you can hear the shift in sound with "Knowledge And Wisdom" (what lies beneath the Sphinx?), when Roland Grapow takes over on guitar, as his style is darker and less flowing. Not a criticism, but it gives this piece a different, more speed metal, like feel. Sami Virtanen picks up with "Battle Of The Gods," which has more laid-back feel, reflected in Virtanen's solos. Ironically, you'd think the pummeling rhythm (Rantanen) of "Knowledge..." would have been used for "Battle Of The Gods" (or even the martial rhythm of "Chosen By Re") and the more easy going rhythm of "Battle.." for "Knowledge..." Not that neither track works as is.

The album's lone ballad is "Beauty Has Come," though the album ends short acoustic "The Movement Of The Nile." Here Virtanen plays acoustic guitar, Janne Wirman plays piano. It is a sweet track, but not sweet in a sickly, sugary way. A little sad in way, as the woman of his dreams is, literally, the woman in his dreams. That martial percussion that begins "Chosen By Re" reminded me a lot of Rush's "Witch Hunt." The arrangement goes then in a different direction, where bass provides a dark bottom end, such that you feel it in the depths of your gut.

Waiting For The Dawn is a better than average album, elevated mainly by the persons involved including Kotipelto. The context in which Kotipelto wanted to tell his story doesn't stray too far from that of Stratovarius, or the genre in general. This sounds like a middling opinion. I really do like the album quite a bit. It's a solid release that doesn't short change the listener, but for all the energy being expended...well, as I said above, nothing that makes me say wow

Intro (0:59) / Travel Through Time (3:57) / Beginning (3:40) / Lord Of Eternity (4:04) / Knowledge And Wisdom (3:54) / Battle Of The Gods (5:04) / Beauty Has Come (4:54) / Vizier (4:20) / Chosen By Re (7:16) / Waiting For The Dawn (5:20) / Arise (6:20) / The Movement Of The Nile (2:24)

The Finnish edition includes also "Book Of The Dead" and the Japanese edition includes "Secret Name"

Timo Kotipelto - lead and backing vocals
Jari Kainulainen - bass
Mike Romeo - guitar (2, 3, 4, 8, 9)
Roland Grapow - guitar (5)
Sami Virtanen - guitar (6, 10, 11); acoustic guitars on (7)
Janne Wirman - keyboards (2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10); piano (7)
Mikko Harkin - keyboards (4, 11)
Mirka Rantanen - drums (2 - 6, 8, 9) Gas - drums (10, 11)

(on the bonus tracks: Gas - drums, Kari Tornack - keyboards, and Arjen Anthony Lucassen - guitar)

Waiting For The Dawn (2002)
Coldness (2004)
Serenity (2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin FI

Added: September 29th 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.kotipelto.com
Hits: 596
Language: english


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