STRATOVARIUS – Elements Pt. 1

STRATOVARIUS - Elements Pt. 1


Nuclear Blast
Release date: January 27, 2003

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After a few years break, the highly successful Finnish/German/Swedish group of high-skilled musicians is back with a sort of conceptual, or better; thematic, album, Elements Pt. 1. The CD has been discussed a lot already throughout Internet, firstly because of its expectations, secondly because guitar player and songwriter Timo Tolkki offended the computer nerds by speaking out against downloading and “bootlegging” MP3 activity – a topic that of course has its advantages, but also can be frustrating and creatively killing artists. Whatever, you may feel free to have your opinion (very generous, huh?) as I won’t make up mine right here.

Some say Stratovarius hasn’t changed a bit after their constant record-tour-record-tour period that kind of wore them out a few years ago. Those people certainly haven’t spun this CD past its opening track, “Eagleheart”. Also the first single, “Eagleheart” is nothing but a catchy in-your-face and extremely melodic song, much in the vein of “Hunting High And Low”. It’s a great track, and it does good as a “comeback”-song, easily saying; we’re back, and here’s for putting up with our break. It doesn’t represent the record very much though. Elements Pt. 1 is much more symphonic and bombastic, even more mid-tempo than its predecessors. It has a couple of “mini-operas”, “Fantasia” and the title track, both amazing works you need to slowly get used to. The record also has a couple of those fast songs Stratovarius always did very well, but when you already have recorded a piece like “Speed Of Light”, where do you really go from there? It also has a nice mellow ballad called “A Drop In The Ocean”, but again, when you have recorded a song like “Forever” in the past, you really can’t take it much further… That’s the band’s little problem, the guys already outdid themselves in the past, which leaves the new side of Stratovarius working best on this CD: As I said, those “mini-operatic” pieces, the beautiful “Papillon” and “Soul Of A Vagabond”, which sees the band slow down and make a “Heaven And Hell”/”Egypt (The Chains Are On)”-epic.

Also very evident is the fact that no previous Stratovarius CD has sounded as good is this. The drums are amazing, the orchestration is neatly mixed with the heaviness, and the bass guitar has indeed gone through a face-lift also. The virtuoso wizard keyboard troll Jens Johansson acts like the freak he is and is given more freedom than ever, and that is another “element” that makes this CD Stratovarius’ best effort since Visions, maybe best since the masterpiece “Episode”. Don’t let others judge this piece of highly artistic work; Stratovarius has renewed themselves just as much as they needed to – without scaring the old hordes of legions away. Check out – where I am sure you can download a few tasters… ;-p


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