STRATOVARIUS – Darkest Hours (EP)

STRATOVARIUS - Darkest Hours (EP)
  • 9/10
    STRATOVARIUS - Darkest Hours (EP) - 9/10


Release date: November 30, 2010

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It’s so rare nowadays to see a band that has been around for 27 years to still be making good music on a consistent level. What’s even nicer is the fact that Stratovarius has remained loyal to their true fans by refusing to change. The genre of music that Stratovarius is known for is Power Metal, and they haven’t toned it down or deliberately changed their style by becoming mellower in the hopes of attracting a larger and wider fan base. Instead they’ve stuck to their guns and have continued doing what got them to where they are today.

What can be said of their latest EP besides that it rocks and kicks ass? It won’t take more than one listen to prove that this is a very good album no matter how you look at it. And, that listen won’t take long either because there are only five tracks carrying 25:53 minutes worth of music, ergo the EP insignia.

The first two tracks, “Darkest Hours” and “Infernal Maze” are songs off of the new upcoming album titled Elysium due out on January 18, 2011. If you dig these two tracks, chances are that you will most likely enjoy Elysium just as much. The remaining three tracks are a demo version of “Darkest Hours” and two live songs titled “Against The Wind” and “Black Diamond.” For those Bob Seger (and the Silver Bullet Band) and KISS fans out there, rest assured that these are original Stratovarius tunes and not the ones envisioned by all of you.

The demo version of “Darkest Hours” is extremely interesting (to put it mildly) as to how a demo comes to life and ends up on an album.  This demo version paints a clearer picture about what a band does to an idea they have while jamming or how they go about making a demo track worthy enough to land on the band’s next release. For music lovers with a curious nature, this twist is something refreshing and hopefully contagious; something other bands will hopefully pick up on and incorporate into how they do business in the future.

The last two tracks, “Against the Wind” and “Black Diamond” are two live tracks that stand on their own merit. For those unfamiliar with Stratovarius, or more importantly their live work, this will give some insight into their sound during a live performance. While it is a fact that some bands are better in the studio than seeing/hearing them live, these two tracks prove that Stratovarius can most certainly deliver — whether it’s live or in the studio.


  • George Fustos

    George was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He has engineering degrees in Chemical and Electrical Engineering. He favors Metal, Rock, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Blues, and even some Jazz and Motown (depending on the tune). He used to dabble with the bass quite some time ago. His most influential bassists are Jaco, Billy Sheehan, Stu Hamm, Geddy Lee, and John Entwistle (RIP Ox). Band-wise he's really into Rush, Tool, early Metallica, Pink Floyd (including Waters and Gilmour as solo artists), The Who, Iced Earth, Iron Maiden, Halford, Joe Satriani, certain Judas Priest, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert Collins (Blues guitarist), Motörhead, and a German band called Skew Siskin that Lemmy says in an interview as being "the best band out there today."

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