Posts tagged ‘stratovarius’

November 17, 2013

Album 0379: Stratovarius – Visions


Release Date: 1997
Genre: Power Metal


1. The Kiss Of Judas (05:49)
2. Black Diamond (05:39)
3. Forever Free (06:00)
4. Before The Winter (06:07)
5. Legions (05:44)
6. The Abyss Of Your Eyes (05:39)
7. Holy Light (05:46)
8. Paradise (04:27)
9. Coming Home (05:37)
10. Visions (Southern Cross) (10:20)
11. Black Diamond (demo) (05:08)
12. Uncertainty (live) (06:14)

Total Length: 01:12:29

The Kiss Of Judas has an infuriating opening with a dirty bass and some annoying guitar sounds before we get into the first riff. It has some good moments but honestly is sluggish and not very much fun. It’s also way too lengthy. Black Diamond is at least faster, has a better chorus, and the hook is way more intriguing. Forever Free is a fairly nice track but again too long. That’s a very, very common complaint on here. The song should have stopped about a minute before it did.

Before The Winter is more of a ballad. It has that same complaint again, and despite liking some of it the majority is kind of boring. Legions is pretty simple, both in execution and my perception of it. I enjoy it, but once again too long. The Abyss Of Your Eyes could have again ended a minute earlier and it’s a decent track. Just forgettable. Holy Light is the token instrumental track, and at least that means they try and vary it up and it can deserve its length.

I also enjoy that it ends and transitions directly into Paradise, a song that at least doesn’t pull any punches at first and gets right into it. A pretty strong song combo. Coming Home is a fairly boring ballad, I can’t find too much to like about it. Visions (Southern Cross) is one of the band’s large songs. Contrary to almost everything else on here, it earns its length. It has a couple cheesy moments but is a really strong song with lots of good riffs.

The demo of Black Diamond obviously isn’t as polished but ends a bit shorter, about the point I would have wanted it to end the first time. The live version of Uncertainty is long and slow. I really, really don’t get it. This album had always seemed like kind of a shining icon before I listened to it, an album everyone loved and such. I don’t understand. Most of it is boring and even when it’s not I don’t think it’s enough to truly save it.

Final Rating: 6/10

February 15, 2013

Album 0248: Stratovarius – Elements Pt. 2


Release Date: 2003
Genre: Power Metal


1. Alpha & Omega (06:38)
2. I Walk To My Own Song (05:04)
3. I’m Still Alive (04:50)
4. Season Of Faith’s Perfection (06:09)
5. Awaken The Giant (06:37)
6. Know The Difference (05:39)
7. Luminous (04:49)
8. Dreamweaver (05:53)
9. Liberty (05:02)
10. Ride Like The Wind (04:49)
11. Alpha & Omega (demo) (06:36)
12. Vapaus (demo) (06:05)

Total Length: 01:08:11

Alpha & Omega is a strong song, the chorus is definitely the highlight. This album and the previous one were created at the same time, and they definitely feel like parts of a whole. I Walk To My Own Song is fairly good. It’s standard power metal, but again Strato falls into the trap of keeping the song going for too long. I’m Still Alive is better though. Pretty catchy and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Season Of Faith’s Perfection is a strange song, starting acoustically before getting heavy, and ending with some of the band’s most interesting keyboard stuff at the end. Pretty nice in all honesty.

Awaken The Giant is fairly good as well, but again I lose interest halfway through. The chorus is kind of nice though. Know The Difference is like the first couple tracks. Fast and fun, and that’s about it. Luminous is a really nice ballad track, I just love the synths on it. The mood they give off is a great. Dreamweaver is in a sense more of the same. The chorus is nice but the rest of the song doesn’t keep my interest up.

Liberty has a really bad start but ends up being an okay song. The demo of Alpha & Omega features some studio chatter for whatever reason, and the song itself is fine. Vapaus is the demo version of Liberty. It has the vocals in Finnish (I assume) instead of English and has some interesting things that aren’t as prominent in the final song, but still not completely sold on it. Pt. 2 just doesn’t grasp me as well as Pt. 1. I almost wonder if they had taken about 3-4 songs from this and gotten rid of maybe one or two tracks on Pt. 1 and could have had one amazing 80-minute album.

Edit (10/01/2013): I added the bonus track for Japan, a song called Ride Like The Wind which is a really fun, if basic, fast song. The chorus is catchy and you can’t help but bounce along to it.

Final Rating: 8/10

February 14, 2013

Album 0247: Stratovarius – Elements Pt. 1


Release Date: 2003
Genre: Power Metal


1. Eagleheart (03:50)
2. Soul Of A Vagabond (07:22)
3. Find Your Own Voice (05:13)
4. Fantasia (09:56)
5. Learning To Fly (06:22)
6. Papillon (07:01)
7. Stratofortress (03:26)
8. Elements (12:01)
9. A Drop In The Ocean (06:50)
10. Into Deep Blue (05:41)
11. Run Away (04:52)
12. Eagleheart (demo) (03:30)
13. Soul Of A Vagabond (demo) (07:37)
14. Find Your Own Voice (demo) (04:44)

Total Length: 01:28:26

Eagleheart is a fantastic opening track. The main melody is nice and the chorus is great as well, but the thing that really keeps me coming back is the dual lead of synth and guitar after the chorus. It’s a small piece of the song overall but it is just so cool. Soul Of A Vagabond kind of has a generic opening riff, but the production values on this album really lift it up and make me love it once all this cool stuff is put behind it. The chorus works well and I kind of think that this is a song I wouldn’t normally like but the band just pulls it off really well.

Find Your Own Voice is more of a basic power metal track. It’s kind of nice but goes on a bit too long, and doesn’t have anything that really catches my eye. Fantasia is inspired by the Neverending Story films. The tone of the song matches that of at least the first movie which is pretty neat and well done. The orchestral elements are great, and though the song may drag a tiny bit in the middle, it still sounds good. Learning To Fly is a much better basic power metal track, highly enjoyable.

Papillon makes heavy use of a young boy’s vocals. It adds an ethereal quality, and is a very good song. Stratofortress is a neat instrumental. I was actually familiar with the opening for a long time for an odd reason, but the rest of the song is fun too. Elements is a big track for the band. I really like the choral vocals, it gets a tad repetitive after a while, but I do really enjoy the song. A Drop In The Ocean has some nice moments like the chorus, but the song kind of meanders on for a while without direction near the end. This is the normal ending point for the album, everything past this gets us into bonus material territory.

Into Deep Blue is fairly basic for the most part, but I really love the opening, especially when it comes back at the end and they put whistling over. That section makes the song for me. It sounds creepy and demented, kind of like the Wrong Turn 2 soundtrack. Run Away is a good, fun track and wouldn’t feel out of place on the actual album. The demos round out this album. Eagleheart loses a bit from the lowered production values, as does Soul Of A Vagabond. Maybe it seems shallow in a way to think like that, but it’s also a huge part of the experience. Find Your Own Voice still sounds cool as well. I was heartily surprised the first time I heard this album. Stratovarius had always seemed a middling band to me, never really reaching great heights, but they certainly did here.

Final Rating: 8.5/10