Album Reviews

Stratovarius – Elysium

Released by: Armoury Records

Release Date: Out Now!!!

Genre: Melodic Power Metal

Links: http://old.stratovarius.com/


Line Up:

Timo Kotipelto – Lead vocals

Matias Kupiainen — Guitar

Jens Johansson – Keyboards

Lauri Porra – Bass

Jörg Michael – Drums


Tracklist:

01. Darkest Hours

02. Under Flaming Skies

03. Infernal Maze

04. Fairness Justified

05. The Game Never Ends

06. Lifetime In A Moment

07. Move The Mountain

08. Event Horizon

09. Elysium


Where to even begin with the band Stratovarius? Holy crap these guys have gone through so much turmoil and break ups and back stabbing in the press and public arenas to make an easy soap opera out of their fiasco. If the more loyal fans of the band had to choose from the best and more popular line up of the band, those names would be of course Kotipelto, Tolkki, Jorg Michael and Jens Johansson. Well I guess when there popularity and fame then comes pressure to keep on delivering the goods and this apparently wasn’t handled very well by all parties involved. Despite what anybody thinks or which side they took when the Stratovarius vs Tolkki publicity war raged on, one thing you can agree on is that these guys together made a hell of a lot better music; Episode, Visions and Destiny we’re all great melodic power metal albums.

Is surprising to me how the band has still forged forward under the Stratovarius brand, despite the fact that many fans we’re hurt during this crazy turbulent period. So they did and now they come a unique period again in their life span, Tolkii has moved one and boycotted all preceding of anything that has to do with financial earnings of the band, signing off the entire Stratovarius catalog, the Stratovarius name, and all royalties to Timo Kotipelto, Jens Johansson, and Jörg Michael.

Anyways enough about the history and let’s talk about the new record which features bassist Lauri Porra and Matias Kupiainen on guitars. Surprisingly enough I was impressed by the quality of the music here, while I won’t go as far as to say is one of the best Strato albums ever like some seem to say, there are some kick ass tracks here that sustain their power melodic approach in conjunction with Johanseen’s powerful keyboards ala the older Strato days.

The speed demon scorcher of “Infernal Maze” torches the sky with a furious keyboard laden undertone and a speedy power guitar riff throughout, also one of Timo Kotipelto’s best vocal jobs in a while. The interesting message of “Fairness Justified” carries a long way on this mid level tempo cruncher with an opaque background symphonic chorus that leaves an impact. I was sucked into the deep moving rhythm of the chunky bass of “Lifetime In A Moment” and the EPIC 18 minutes title track really smashes the walls down as the creeping bellowing keyboard opening gives away to an array of different style and substances all throughout this journey of progressive power metal, one  of their best composed tracks in a long time.

What an event here ladies and gents, for fans of the band I must say you will be deeply surprised as the quality of “Elysium” and despite all the adversity and embarrassing antics Stratovarius decided to get back to doing what they do best; play music. I won’t go on record and say that they are better off without Tolkii as only time will tell,  but the truth is that he has moved on and started his own band which gives him liberty to do what he loves to do also. And enough about his replacement Matias Kupiainen, he’s a very talented guitar player that does a commendable job on this latest piece of work. Who knew right? Maybe a come back album and perhaps their best since “Destiny” and “Infinite” for sure. I guess once you put all the crap behind you still remember is all about the music and the fans and I hope Strato never forgets that message since they still have a very loyal fan base.

Written by Denys

Ratings Denys    8/10


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