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Review: Stratovarius - Eternal

Label: Ear Music
Year released: 2015
Duration: 54:22
Tracks: 10
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 12, 2015
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers Rating

Rated 4.07/5 (81.43%) (14 Votes)

Stratovarius is one of those bands that can inspire joy or rage depending on who's listening, so seeing people calling them weenie and cheesy is as common as seeing them called masters or giants. Eternal, the 16th full-length by the group, features Timo Kotipelto (vocals), Jens Johansson (keyboards), Matias Kupiainen (guitars), Lauri Porra (bass) and Rolf Pilve (drums), and will continue to mix feelings in the Metal community, as it offers us a logical follow-up to Nemesis music-wise, featuring all the elements from the new Stratovarius, a couple of nostalgic arrangements here and there, and even some Cain's Offering influences on some parts.

The album starts with "My Eternal Dream", a characteristic tune with a strong chorus, fast pace and lots of keyboards. "Shine in the Dark" is presented as one of the more melodic songs of the album and explicitly shows the Cain's Offering influence mentioned above. Allied to that are the two weakest songs in the album, "Lost Without a Trace" and "Fire in Your Eyes", the latter being a poor excuse for a ballad by a band that excels on slow songs, like seen before on "Forever", "4000 Rainy Nights", "Years Go By" and even "When Mountains Fall". Aside from those two, songs like "Rise Above It", "Feeding the Fire" and "In My Line of Work" all have plenty of good arrangements and showcase what we expect from Stratovarius: catchy tunes, plenty of energy and mesmerizing solos, which should definitely satisfy the listener. The highlights of the album, however, are the great "Man in the Mirror" and the grandiose "Lost Saga", an 11-minute opus filled with cool riffs and a respectable performance by Kotipelto, which, by the way, sounds more powerful than he has in a long time.

All in all, returning fans and casual listeners alike should enjoy Eternal almost in its entirety, as it is not overly melodic nor is it trying to reinvent the wheel, instead relying on solid performances and down-to-earth songwriting. Oddly enough, it also relies heavily on a tried-and-true formula, so it doesn't actually put anything new on the table, which can be a downside. For me, though, this is a worthy entry in their already rich discography, and although not strong enough to rank among the greats such as Visions, Episode, Destiny, Dreamspace and even Nemesis, it has definitely earned a place in the second-tier Stratovarius' albums, alongside Elysium, Infinite and Fright Night.

Other related information on the site
Review: Darkest Hours (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Destiny (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
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)
Review: Elysium (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Episode (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Infinite (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Infinite Visions (reviewed by Pierre B├ęgin)
Review: Nemesis (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Polaris (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Polaris (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Stratovarius (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Visions (reviewed by Risser)
Interview with Jörg Michael (drums) on February 1, 2003 (Interviewed by Christian Renner)
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