Album Reviews
Band: Allen / Lande

Title: The Great Divide

Label: Frontiers Records

  

'The Great Divide' must be one of the most anticipated releases in years, as once again the vocal might of Russell Allen and Jorn Lande reunite, for this their fourth release.

The major talking point on the net surrounding this album is the fact that this is the first album not to feature the songwriting and production of Magnus Karlsson, as in steps Timo Tolkki.

So with three critically acclaimed releases under their belts, have Frontiers Records taken a risk on the former Stratovarious guitarist?  Well to be honest not a chance, as Tolkki brings a certain heavier flare to this new album.  Not only does he write and produce the album, but he also plays guitars and bass, leaving the drumming to skinsman supreme Jami Huovinen. 

The album opens up in emphatic style with ‘Come Dream With Me’ and instantly you know this album carries on the Allen / Lande stylings of the previous album, only this time there is a more metal edge to proceedings, as you would expect with Tolkki at the desk. The two giants of the Metal world give an impressive, first class performance as ever as the album continues with the excellent ‘Down From The Mountain’ and the faster paced ‘In The Hands Of Time’. 

The mighty Tolkki brings a touch of the pomp and circumstance of his Avalon project to the mix with the stunning ‘Solid Ground’.  A track full of soaring orchestrations, all backed by the thunderous drums of Huovinen.

The soaring anthems continue with the excellent ‘Lady Of Winter’, before the tempo and pace are brought back up in spades with ‘Dream About Tomorrow’.  Although if I had to pick one track from the album that really shows what this album is all about, then it would have to be the massive ‘The Hymn For The Fallen’.  This song is just pure power filled Melodic Metal ear-candy. 

For me the album could have finished there and I would have been satisfied, but the album continues its impressive path with the towering anthem and title track ‘The Great Divide’.  There is a touch more of the Melodic Metal side of things with the storming 'Reaching For The Stars’, before this superb release closes in style with the haunting ballad ‘Bittersweet’.

For those who doubted Tolkki's abilities to take up where Karlsson left off will have to eat humble pie, because this is one of the finest Melodic Metal albums you’ll hear this year, and one that take this series that one step further.  All we need is for the pair to get together with a backing band and take the project to the next level with some live shows, because these songs and the previous three albums, deserve to be heard in the live arena.

Review by: Barry McMinn

 

Tracklisting:

1. Come Dream With Me
2. Down From The Mountain
3. In The Hands Of Time
4. Solid Ground
5. Lady In Winter
6. Dream About Tomorrow
7. Hymn For The Fallen
8. The Great Divide
9. Reaching For The Stars
10. Bittersweet

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