Joined: 04 Feb 2000
Location: South of Voivodland
|Posted: Sat Oct 29, 2011 7:37 pm Post subject: Stratovarius - Elysium (2011)
I've never been a fan of Stratovarius.
I remember listening to one of their early albums (I don't remember which one) and thinking it was a band that had taken their Yngwie-Malmsteen-worship a little too far, right down to the name.
It didn't help matters that Jens Johanssen (their keyboard player) was a member of Yngwie's Rising Force band.
Later on, just out of curiousity, i started to read the soap opera stories about the band and their diva / guitar-player-songwriter and couldn't help to think it was all very amusing. Despite all this, i've always been a fan of Jen Johanssen's keyboard playing and i have most of his jazz fusion albums.
After the band got a new guitar player i decided to check out their last album, Polaris, and i didn't think it was anything special, so just for kicks i decided to give their new 2011 album Elysium a spin, without expecting much, and i was happily surprised with the songwriting, the choruses and the overall feeling of the album.
As most of you know, i am not a big fan of later-day power metal, but i like some Helloween and Manowar albums in small doses. Elysium sticks to the tried-and-true power metal formulas of the genre: melodic vocals sitting in beds of up tempo metal guitars with plenty of neo-classical guitar and classical solos. The difference between Elysium and other power metal albums that qualify in my book as cheese is that the choruses in Elysium are melodic in a NWOBHM way, but not overtly so.
There are no cheesy Journey-wanna-be ballads to be found in Elysium like the three horrid ballads found in the 2011 Cheese Theater album.
Elysium has enough variety in the music and the tempos to keep me interested. Sure, there are certain things that bother me about the album.. like the fact that, at times, Stratovarius' singer sounds too much like James LaBrie.
I could always do away without some of the uptempo songs like Event Horizon which sounds a lot like Rising Force's I'll see the light tonight
Still, Elysium is a great album with some really nice moments and good SONGS, which is something that is seriously lacking in most of today's over-technical metal music.
Here is the official video for the song Under Flaming Skies:
"I believe the common character of the universe is not harmony, but hostility, chaos and murder." -Werner Herzog