Tolkki is looking for a permanent lineup, but for New Era he used several different musicians, including three vocalists. Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) sings on five of the ten tracks, Pasi Rantanen (Thunderstone) is on three songs, and Tobias Sammett (Edguy, Avantasia) lends his vocal talents to two songs.
The songs on New Era were written for Stratovarius, so there are obviously major similarities between them and Revolution Renaissance. It's bombastic and melodic power metal with Tolkki's guitar prowess on full display. Keyboards, pianos, and even a flute on "Keep The Flame Alive" provide atmosphere and ambiance.
There's a nice balance of tempos and intensities on New Era. There are a couple of power ballads, a few mid tempo tracks, and some uptempo prototypical power metal songs. All three vocalists do a good job, but I liked Rantanen's performance the best. Revolution Renaissance is off to a good start, but finding a permanent vocalist as good as Kiske, Rantanen or Sammet will be a challenge.
(released October 7, 2008 on Blistering Records)