Next review: » Stratovarius - Elysium
Released: 2003, Nuclear Blast Records
After a decent solo album by vocalist Timo Kotipelto and a head scratcher of a solo album from guitarist Timo Tolkki, Stratovarius are back faster than I thought they would be with their new tour de force - ELEMENTS PT. 1.
The album opens with “Eagleheart” sounding in style like the brother of “Hunting High and Low”. The song is the shortest on the album and seems to start fading out way too soon. This is the album’s first single and they already have a video online at Stratovarius.com for it! Up next is “Soul of a Vagabond” which reminded me of a little of past Stratovarius songs “Babylon” (without the godly monk-like chants) and “Infinity” (without being quite as epic sounding). Clocking in at 7:22 this track is slow paced but very well composed with the band along with choir and orchestral arrangements. “Find Your Own Voice” is the type of Stratovarius song that I love – speed metal a la “Speed of Light” or “No Turning Back”! A Stratovarius album without a good dose of speedy songs like this would be like an Yngwie album without a guitar solo! The somewhat silly Walt Disney-ish titled track “Fantasia” starts out with a simple but neat sounding keyboard part over straight ahead riffing before the tempo picks up. This track is the album’s second longest at nearly 10mins. There are many slower and mellow parts in this one, so if you don’t like that element of the band’s music then many parts of this one will be seen as filler – well that’s what I thought of it anyway. Close on the 7min mark in this one Jari actually does somewhat of a bass solo! It’s nothing too intense or flashy, but cool sounding nonetheless! “Learning To Fly” picks the tempo back up and the melodic power metal returns! This reminds me of an older Stratovarius song like “Against The Wind” or “We Hold The Key” – awesome stuff!! “Papillion” begins with a choir of little boys not unlike what is on the DESTINY album…ick. This is easily my least favorite song on the album. Up next is the instrumental “Stratofortress” which sounds killer! The leads in this one shred it up sounding very tight with the keys and leads following one another at warp speed, making for some of the best duel key/lead guitar parts they’ve done! The title track “Elements” is up next with a weird choir on the intro “Elements. Elements. Fear. Anger. Sorrow. Joy.”…Weird! After this intro, which I didn’t like, the song begins and sounds great. They jump back and forth between the heavier parts of the song and the clean guitar and orchestra. Again this is a very epic sounding track that fans of the song “Infinity” from the album of the same name will love. This is the longest track on the album at 12mins. The album closes with “A Drop In The Ocean”. Mr Kotipelto sounds fantastic at the beginning of this one with some very nice vocal melodies. The doubled vocal lines here and there are excellent as well. This is a ballad, and is the only song that is a ballad on the album that I actually like.
If you are already a fan of Stratovarius then this album is like preaching to the choir. I am already a devout convert and this album thankfully does not rock the boat too much but offers a cross section of material that I can draw parallels to from other Stratovarius songs and albums. Now I just wish my 2 CD special edition version of ELEMENTS PT. 1 that I ordered from Stratovarius.com would arrive soon!!!
02. Soul Of A Vagabond
03. Find Your Own Voice
05. Learning To Fly
09. A Drop In The Ocean
Timo Kotipelto - vocals
Timo Tolkki - guitars
Jari Kanulainen - bass
Jens Johansson - keyboards
Jörg Michael - drums
Previous review: » Stratovarius - Elements Pt. 2 (Special Edition)