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Review: Stratovarius - Elysium

Label: Armoury Records
Year released: 2011
Duration: 56:35
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 2.5/5

Review online: February 6, 2011
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating

Rated 3.73/5 (74.69%) (49 Votes)

I have been successfully avoiding this band for years, as the last effort of theirs I subjected myself to was Rebirth – haha just kidding, it was Elements Part 1 which I found so candy-assed and silly it was pretty much impossible to tolerate. So I guess I am not really the audience this is aimed at, but here we go anyway. This is the 13th studio album from Stratovarius, one of the flagship bands of Finnish Power Metal in a career that goes back more than a quarter-century, albeit with no original members remaining since the jettisoned that nutbar Timo Tolkki.

What do you expect a Stratovarius album to sound like? This is that, exactly. Stellar production, crystal-clean performances, sweeping melodies and choruses that always go for ‘bigger is better'. I find this a lot better than the awful Elements as this at least has some meat on it, and the songwriting is trying to do something besides annoy. Here the compositions are as pompous and bombastic as you would expect without really overdoing it, although most of the songs do wear out their welcome long before they are over. By the third repetition of the pumped-up chorus I am ready to bail, and the song is only two thirds over. The worst offender in this regard is the closing title track, which is a mind-numbing 18 minutes long but only has enough oomph for maybe seven, and it mostly just interminable. There are no songs that stand out as bad on this disc, but there are none that really grab you and stand out as excellent either. The writing here is mediocre, and all the ProTools in the universe can't compensate for that.

If you like this kind of overdone PM then this is an album you definitely want. But I for one think this kind of thing is pretty shallow and bereft of real artistic intent. Metal junk food, in a sense. It fills you up, but it isn't really good for you.

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Review: Destiny (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Elements Pt. 1 (reviewed by Christian Renner)
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