• 7.5/10
    STRATOSPHERE - Fire Flight - 7.5/10


Escape Music
Release date: October 22, 2010

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Stratosphere is a new Scandinavian Prog/Symphonic Metal act that presents a very classic sound. The band is the brainchild of keyboard virtuoso Jeppe Lund, who has put together a very tight knit group of excellent musicians. Their debut album Fire Flight portrays the grand essence of the 80s Neo-Classical Metal sound along with a hint of 70s Progressive Rock.

There are really two key ingredients driving Stratosphere’s sound. First off, you have famed lead vocalist Goran Edman most widely known for his great vocal work on the classic Yngwie Malmsteen albums Eclipse and Fire And Ice. The other main component is up-and-coming guitar prodigy Jonas Larsen. Although not well known, Larsen is credited with winning the Copenhagen Guitar Battle contest for an astounding two years in a row.

Regarding Edman and his vocal work, it is nothing short of perfection. Edman’s clean-cut, high-pitched vocals are presented with excellent precision. He truly shows the utmost professionalism in every track. The highlight of his work can be heard during the ballad “Enemy Of My Soul”. Edman shows off his full range during this track by hitting some captivating low notes during the opening verse, and then transitions to his signature high tenor during the chorus. He also puts together some great runs toward the end of a song, which is reminiscent of a classic Glenn Hughes vocal performance.

Jonas Larsen, on the other hand, could very well be the pilot of the next generation of great Neo-classical guitarists. Although it is obvious his main influence is Yngwie Malmsteen, there is no lack of talent as he tries to mirror some of Malmsteen’s amazing riffs and solos. This is best heard on the instrumental track “Rendezvous”, which, if you didn’t know what you were listening to could be easily be mistaken for a Malmsteen performance. The solos are simply amazing on this track.

Materially the songwriting unfortunately comes off as somewhat dated and the songs are not fresh by any means. There is a blatant attempt to capture the sound of a classic Malmsteen album or even a post-Dio Rainbow album. Also, the album only contains ten tracks (including two instrumental songs), which give the album a feeling of incompleteness.

There is no question Stratosphere has an abundance of talent. They definitely have much more to offer than their initial presentation of Fire Flight. Hopefully this band can begin to come into its own identity a little more and create a more unique sound. Overall, Stratosphere is a talented band that just needs to make a few adjustments, and then you’ll have a potential classic band on offer for sure.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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