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Review: Stratovarius - Darkest Hours
Darkest Hours

Label: Ear Music
Year released: 2010
Duration: 25:55
Tracks: 5
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: December 19, 2010
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Readers Rating
Darkest Hours

Rated 3/5 (60%) (13 Votes)

As a taster for their upcoming Elysium album in 2011, Finnish Power Metal giants Stratovarius have a treat for us in the shape of Darkest Hours, their new single or EP or whatever you want to call it, which consists of two new tracks, two live numbers and a demo. Worth picking up? For fanboys, absolutely. The rest of us? You might as well wait for the full-length.

While Darkest Hours gives you the opportunity to sample two tracks from the aforementioned Elysium (and the artwork is pretty snazzy, too), the bonus content isn't anything mind-blowing. As for the new songs, well, they are very good indeed. Lead track "Darkest Hours" is a reflective, mid-paced thumper which sounds an awful lot like modern Nightwish but with a great chorus that finds Timo Kotipelto giving an angelic vocal. The keys are high in the mix, making this sound even more fantastical than Polaris, swathing the music in ethereal, starlit atmospherics. "Infernal Maze" starts with some a capella from Kotipelto before bursting into a huge, choir-led intro and then into a faithful double-kicking bonanza. Coupled with an interesting solo section, this will certainly whet your appetite for the band's forthcoming record.

The rest of the EP is made up with a demo version of "Darkest Hours", which is essentially the same apart for some alternative lyrics, and then we have two tracks recorded on the Polaris tour, the eternal "Black Diamond" and a pretty good version of "Against The Wind". I've heard these songs a million times so I would have preferred something a little more unusual (maybe a track from Destiny or even the much hated Stratovarius). Still, the new songs promise good things for Elysium. Roll on January.

Other related information on the site
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Review: Elements Pt. 1 (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Elements Pt. 1 (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Elysium (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: Elysium (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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Interview with Jörg Michael (drums) on February 1, 2003 (Interviewed by Christian Renner)
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