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Review: Stratovarius - Stratovarius

Label: Sanctuary Records Group
Year released: 2005
Duration: 49:24
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 2/5

Review online: February 12, 2009
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Readers Rating

Rated 2.17/5 (43.48%) (23 Votes)

Looks as though ring leader Timo Tolkki had been spinning Metallica's; Metallica a fair bit during the recording of Stratovarius. Make a little comparison of the two releases, Metallica's "Black Album" ushered in their new sound; gone were the speedy riffage and balls-to-the-wall attitude. In was a slower pumping sound. Take a look at Stratovarius; gone were the soaring melodies, the constant onslaught of the double kick, and the neo-classical solos. In with the "Black Album"-worship through the guitar and drum-work, hell even the album covers are similar, being black except for the respective bands logos.

What on earth was running through Tolkki's mind completely fails to register. Both the Elements albums were fantastic, with that winning Stratovarius formula. Here everything sounds so uninspired and forced. Just one listen to opener "Maniac Dance" and I was already tempted to turn this off. A shoddy attempt at sounding mainstream, "Fight!!!" manages to get the blood running a bit and is probably the best Stratovarius has to offer us. There's nothing majorly insulting about this album, and nothing that really stands out as good. Leaving me with not a lot to say, "Just Carry On" has a main riff which could have easily been pilfered from Judas Priest's "Breaking The Law". Really I could only recommend this to the most die hard of Stratovarius fans, but there's no equivalent of "Find Your Own Voice" or "No Turning Back". The best comparison I could give from the Strato-Logue would be "Uncertainty" from Episode - the whole album sounds just like that, except the first two tracks and also not as good as "Uncertainty".

Stratovarius is an album best forgotten. If you're a die hard, give a look in but don't expect anything great. It'll be very interesting to hear the new Stratovarius album without Timo Tolkki, and I'm very curious as to see what their songwriting will be like. A massive letdown that almost tarnished the godly name of Stratovarius for good. Disappointing

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