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Stratovarius – Stratovarius

Label: Sanctuary Records
Format: CD
Released: 2005
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

After two elaborate "Elements" albums, and personal problems with songwriter and guitarist Timo Tolkki, Stratovarius regrouped and returned to the more straight ahead arrangements found on albums like say "Episode" for their self titled.


Now this is nothing far from what they have done in the past, the only elements missing is the fast double bass driven dueling guitar and keyboard solos and the ultra high end vocals from singer Timo. These arrangements have more in common with songs like ‘Playing with Fire’, ‘Hold on to Your Dream’, ‘Galaxies’, and ‘A Millions Light Years’. Musicianship and signature sound has not changed a bit, just less elaborate, more rock n roll.

‘Maniac Dance’ sets the tone for the whole disc with its crunchy guitar, pouding bottom end and straight forward delivery. ‘Fight’ has probably the most energy, ‘Just Carry On’ and ‘Gypsy in Me’ both have uplifting lyrics written by singer Kotipelto with equally spirited and positive music. These are two of my favorites, I always liked these ‘Destiny’ type songs.

‘Back to Madness’ has the random inclusion of a tenor voice, something I would expect on one of the "Elements" albums but here it’s like a eye sore, your just like where did that come from?? ‘Zenith of Power’ is the one track that has the dramatic orchestrated feel to it and the one tune that brings you back to the song ‘Visions’ a bit. ‘The Land of Ice and Snow’ is a semi acoustic ballad similar to ‘Forever’, with ‘Leave the Tribe’ and the lackluster anthem ‘United’ closing things out.

Is this their best? From this long time supporter and listener, no. Its good, its solid, its Stratovarius. I look forward to the next one. These guys aren’t done yet.

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