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Stratovarius - "Elements - Pt. 1"
Nuclear Blast 2003

So, after awhile we can enjoy a new release from Finland's finest power metal band. I can not help you if you have not heard for Stratovarius and you also do not know that they already got a cult status in their native country. If we don't count their LP "Transmission" this is their first release after 2000 and ninth studio album overall. But do we have to be happy?

Eagleheart, which was also released as a single and is opening track of the album is a total crap in comparison to song such as Hunting High And Low from the previous release. There is no powerful energy, although positive this one is, that must be represantative for such songs. I realy don't know what they wanted to tell us with it.

Soul Of The Vagabond on the other hand, has got an impressive opening which truly creates strong emotions. It also features a great complexion of Tolkki's guitar, Johansson's superb compositions and not to forget drumer Jörg Michael behind the drums. This sound harmony is also one of the best things about the band. If there was no dramatical, but terrible chorus it would sound even better.

Find Your Own Voice is real passion for every metal maniac. It is also one of the best songs on the record. Their lead singer Timo Kotipelto shows us his very best. Accompanied by Tolkkis solos and Johanssons keys he is unstoppable force. This song is a groundbreaker and shows the band in their very best performance!

Fantasia is not a bad song. In a way it is even fantastic and I think that this is the part of the record where band finally finds a musical stability. In the middle of a song, Kotipelto starts to ask himself how it should be in this world if there was no more wars, diseases, churches, religions, etc. Exactly, a full fantasy in true meaning! It also represent that lyrics are not as it is often in power metal nowadays, without brains and spirit. But it is something usuall for Stratovarius, one of the most freedom loving power metal band on Earth.

Learning To Fly cleared me out that "Elements Pt.1" is definitely a good record, even if it is not better from its predecessor. As we have already heard a lot of similar songs, some other band would made a total cliché from this song. But Stratovarius have put out interesting power metal hmyn combined with excelent instrumental harmonies.

A total contrast, Papillon cast us out to the land of cold and sorrow. Female choir appears, while Kotipelto is showing a mixture of anger and sadness in his voice. It is one of the most melancholic songs on the record. Similar to Mother Gaia from Infinite.

Stratofortress is an instrumental song, which drives in with full force. There, Mr. Timo Tolkki shows us some of the best things which we've learnt from I. Y. Malmsteen's guitar school. A great effort by him. I can even found some Russian elements in it. A perfect link between two songs.

Elements was expected to be the best song from the record. However, it is not. I expected more. Mostly because this 12-minutes epic includes annoying chorus performance. It would be better if it was sang by Timo or in some other fassion. Also, I was not happy with such quick fade-out. It is still a good song, but just not as I expected.

A Drop In The Ocean is perfect for a closing track. Very emotional and melancholic in their manner. It reminds me a bit of one song from Kotipelto's solo effort. Very beautiful melody that closes with ocean waves.

Stratovarius in fact did a good job with this record, although it could be even better. They have much experimented on it, but in the end it gave them quite impressive result. I hope that "Elements-Pt.2" are going to be even better and of course a slat different. Stay tunned!

Author:   Peter

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