• 9.5/10
    STRATOVARIUS - Elysium - 9.5/10


Armoury Records
Release date: January 18, 2011

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Stratovarius has picked up right where they left off from their previous album Polaris with their thirteenth studio release, Elysium. The Finnish Power Metal legends Stratovarius have been making music for over twenty years, and their epic albums seem to get bigger and better each time.

Elysium also marks the second studio release with guitarist Matias Kupiainen. Although Kupiainen brings a slightly different sound and guitar style to the band (due to the departure of longtime guitarist Timo Tolkki), what you’ll hear is still the true Stratovarius brand of Metal. However, Kupiainen’s influence has taken root, and he is credited for sharing compositions on six of the nine tracks, and is also the album’s producer.

The album starts strong with the opening track “Darkest Hours”. This is the first single from the album, and was released as an EP in November 2010. The second track “Under Flaming Skies” is their second single. This is a heavier and faster song than “Darkest Hours” and contains some great elevating and passionate vocals from Timo Koltipelto, not to mention a very intense and uplifting guitar solo from Kupiainen.

The vocals from veteran singer Timo Koltipelto are very precise and spot on. His high-pitched, fervent style has been a benchmark for European Power Metal over the last several years. Koltipelto is now the longest standing member of Stratovarius. At the age of 41, he shows no sign of letting up, and appears to be in his prime. Arguably the finest vocal performance on the album is the track “Move The Mountain”. This is a moving and inspirational ballad which features a soft, stirring, and captivating vocal performance to say the least. The melancholy tone of the song allows Koltipelto to raise the vocals to a very intense and emotional level.

Elysium also features an eighteen-minute epic self-titled track. This marks the longest song Stratovarius has ever composed. This track can actually be divided up into four sections; the first five minutes could be considered an overture, then the next six to seven minutes delves into a musical odyssey and takes on a completely different theme. The song then turns into a soft and acoustic interlude, which crescendos into a grand finale. Overall, it is simply a remarkable piece of music that deserves high acclaim.

What sets Stratovarius apart from their contemporaries is their ability to compose and perform some of the best melodies in the business. They can put any song together and make it seemingly flawless. The ability to create exceptional compositions album after album is truly an amazing feat, and Elysium is no exception.


  • 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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