|Review: Stratovarius - Visions|
Label: Noise Records
Year released: 1997
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 16, 2009
Reviewed by: Risser
Here we are. This is the true pinnacle of Stratovarius' career; and despite this being a flawed album in a few ways it still is a great Power Metal masterpiece. The more I think about it, the more I realize each piece of the Visions puzzle is not all that great when analyzed in a vacuum: the guitar work is surprisingly bland at times, the keyboard solos are dull, the bass is inaudible, the drumming is interesting occasionally but usually average, and the vocals are typical yet well done; yet when you looks at the band as a whole on this album, you realize that they have created something quite amazing. Despite all the aforementioned gripery plus odd environmentalist lyrics that don't really suit the style in my opinion and two ballads (!), this album delivers the kind of soaring, epic, masterful music that we Power Metal enthusiasts exist for.
I won't go too in depth on much, like I said: it's the cohesion of the band as a whole that makes this such a great work of Power Metal art, but I do want to analyze one song: the title track, "Visions (Southern Cross)". This is how you write a freakin' Power Metal song, people. It clocks in at over ten minutes, but it's so captivating and interesting that I can't help but praise it solely. It has some of the best use of spoken vocals I've heard, catchy riffs and vocals, and one of the best slow, epic guitar solos ever. The end part where it gets all Stratovarius-happy is really awesome too, despite being slightly typical. I just can't say enough about how great of an ending to Visions that track is.
The other songs are all really strong too, except the ballads and "Holy Light" which are sort of weak, but that still leaves 7 inspiring songs to take away from this amazing album. Buy this if you like your metal melodic or epic at all; it's definitely worth it.
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