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Released: 2001, Nuclear Blast
Perhaps I’m not the best person to review this CD because I love the band so much…so much in fact that even their non-metal songs like “Mother Gaia” work for me. So take in mind that this review is from the perspective of a major FAN of Stratovarius, from someone who loves all their CD’s. So what is this INTERMISSION? Sadly, it’s not all-new material and I had a lot of it. This is simply a collection of b-sides and other somewhat “rare” songs that are now available all on the one CD.
The cover artwork for INTERMISSION is the first thing I studied. It has pieces of their past albums: the dolphins from INFINITY, the Stonehenge looking structure from EPISODE, the planetary bodies from TWILIGHT TIME, the pyramids of FOURTH DIMENSION, the rainbow from VISIONS, etc. There are fifteen tracks on here. The first four are the new ones beginning with a ballad called “Will My Soul Ever Rest In Peace?” Stratovarius usually write good ballads and this is no exception. It’s kind of odd to me to begin an album with a ballad though!! Then it’s “Falling Into Fantasy” which sounds like it could of easily come from INFINITE. It’s a slower / mid-paced track with a powerful chorus. Finally on track three the tempo picks up with “The Curtains Are Falling” – it’s a good song but it doesn’t compete with the material on their recent studio albums. The last of the new songs, “Requiem”, is not really a song; it’s just a short acoustic piece. After the new material is over the next part of the CD is the cover song section beginning with Stratovarius’ excellent rendition of Judas Priest’s “Bloodstone.” The guitars are very well done on here; more closely matched to the original then the vocals. “Kill The King”, the often-covered Rainbow song, is done and it doesn’t do a lot for me. I’ll take the original with R.J. Dio on vocals. Next is another Rainbow cover, “I Surrender”, a repetitive song to begin with, it is something I’d rather skip over. After the cover songs are done with comes the tracks there were previously only available from things like the Japanese releases or the France releases of past albums. From these songs the ones that stood out the most for me was “Why Are We Here?” and “It’s a Mystery” – both which I had heard from second CD of the boxed version of my INFINITE album. Also, props to “When The Night Meets The Day” and “Cold Winter Nights” (euro bonus track for Destiny).
The album title is also reflective on the state of Stratovarius. The band is about to begin their intermission giving us a break until 2003. For some bands a two year break is normal, but not for Stratovarius. At least some of the band will be doing solo albums during this dry spell. The sooner they come out and they get back to making more melodic power metal, the better!
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