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November 2015
Released: 2015, Ear Music
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

‘Timo who?’, a couple of my friends quipped upon hearing the new Startovarius album, ETERNAL. In reality guitarist Matias Kupainen replaced Timo Tolkki way back in 2009, (four albums ago) but I feel this is the album where he really erases (or at very least diminishes) the memory of the former founder.

ETERNAL sees the veteran Finnish Power Metal act firing on all cylinders and more. The band comes back with another one word album title, another 10 song album that run just under an hour and another epic closing song, ‘The Lost Saga’ running almost 12 minutes. It seems now the ‘polaris’ star/spaceship has replaced the fleur-de-lis as the bands official iconic emblem, as it makes it’s fourth appearance on the album art and cover.

Everything you need, want and expect is in full force, Kotipelto’s soaring range, fiery solos, pounding double-kick drums and keyboard washes. The production is superb on this largely fast album of the standard 4-5 minute long songs. The choruses are huge and catchy and very easily memorable. Kotipelto’s wistful lyrics have a positive, dynamic yet experienced world-weariness to them especially on cuts like ‘Shine In The Dark’ where he sings to his love about how she is ‘The glitter on the snow’ in a very nice and romantic turn of phrase. I’m going to steal it and use it on my wife this winter. He has the soul of a poet. The song ‘In My Line Of Work’ is a classic, sentimental tale of an artist being tired of the road and missing home but this could apply to anyone who misses their family when they have to travel for work.

ETERNAL is not just all pretty words and poems! The fire rages as the songs blaze only, slightly deeper and darker than a happy, happy Helloween album but no less melodic. The keyboards are slightly more restrained and the guitars pushed just a little to the forefront than the last few albums, but only slightly. Everyone plays with confidence on a an album that is solid with not a single weak track.

In my review of the last Stratovarius album I said that NEMESIS was the best album since INFINITE. I feel the same way about ETERNAL as it eclipses NEMESIS only by a thin slice of a razor. As the band celebrates their 30th anniversary (albeit with no original members) I’m delighted they can still produce superb albums, 15 albums deep.
Track Listing

1. My Eternal Dream
2. Shine in the Dark
3. Rise Above It
4. Lost Without a Trace
5. Feeding the Fire
6. In My Line of Work
7. Man in the Mirror
8. Few Are Those
9. Fire in Your Eyes
10. The Lost Saga


Timo Kotipelto Vocals
Matias Kupiainen Guitar
Jens Johansson Keyboards
Lauri Porra Bass
Rolf Pilve Drums



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