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3.63 | 24 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2003

Filed under Power Metal


1. Eagleheart (3:50)
2. Soul Of A Vagabond (7:22)
3. Find Your Own Voice (5:12)
4. Fantasia (9:56)
5. Learning To Fly (6:22)
6. Papillon (7:00)
7. Stratofortress (3:25)
8. Elements (12:00)
9. A Drop In The Ocean (6:51)

Total Time: 62:02

Bonus disc:
1. Run Away (4:51)
2. Soul Of A Vagabond (demo version) (7:37)
3. Find Your Own Voice (demo version) (4:44)

Total Time: 17:13


- Timo Kotipelto / vocals
- Timo Tolkki / guitars and vocals
- Jari Kainulainen / bass
- Jens Johansson / keyboards
- Jörg Michael / drums

- Veijo Laine / Accordion (Track 4)
- Mungo Vallonen / Percussion
- Riku Niemi / Percussion
- Hilkka Kangasmiemi / Choir Master
- Juha Ikonen / Choir Leader
- Jonas Ranas Rannila / Boy voice in (Track 6)
- Marco Hietala / Vocals (Backing)

About this release

Release date: January 27, 2003
Label: Nuclear Blast

French version bonus track: "Papillon" (French version)
Japanese version bonus track: "Into Deep Blue"

A special edition 3D cover box (NB 1037-0) was also released.

Thanks to progshine, DippoMagoo for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

Elements Part 1 is the ninth full-length studio album by the Finnish Melodic Power Metal band Stratovarius. It is one half of a two album set released in 2003 (the half other being Elements Part 2), although works as a stand-alone release. It was released through Nuclear Blast Records, and was self-produced by band leader/primary guitarist Timmo Tolkki.

The album sees the band incorporating much more of a progressive attitude into their sound; and really leaning heavily on synths, acoustics, choirs, strings etc. Most of the tracks are lengthy multifaceted compositions that each sound like the album closer on a normal album.

In some ways, the music is also a little more flowery than their previous work and some stricter Metal fans may find things a bit beyond the threshold of their tastes. There’s an almost symphonic feel going on here. If you aren’t generally a huge Queen fan, or frequently find yourself disliking cheesiness or pomp, then I’d recommend a try-before-you-buy attitude to this record. On the other hand, if you love things big, bombastic, dynamic and slightly progressive (yet really polished and slick) then tracks like “Papillon” “Fantasia” and the moody Title Track should be right up your street.

Regardless of musical direction, Elements Part 1 can feel a little uneven at times. There are a few moments like the opener, the brilliant catchy single “Eagle Heart,”” as well as the superb virtuosic instrumental “Stratofortress,” the melodic “Learning To Fly,” and the heavier “Find Your Own Voice” that really shine, but you can miss out on that on initial listening’s because something about the tracklisting feels ever so slightly off. It doesn’t flow right to my own ears, and this can take the power away from songs. I recommend re-aranging the tracks from shortest to longest, which seems to rectify this.

Overall; This is an album that saw the band in a transitional period, moving from their more direct and speedy past, to their more progressive future. It isn’t flawless, and some of the material can be a bit overwhelming at times, but there is still a lot of good to be found here. I wouldn’t recommend you make this your first Stratovarius album, but if you already like the band its certainly worth investigating.
After taking a couple of years to recharge their batteries (releasing 6 albums in 7 years from 1994-2000), Stratovarius came back with the Elements siblings, those being the last hurrah creatively for Timo Tolkki. Elements Pt. 1 was supposedly an experiment by the band to explore more bombastic and symphonic territories, but what we get instead is an inconsistent and overblown power metal album that shows Stratovarius branching out too much for their own good. Bluntly, everything on this album is too over-the-top. I know, you’re thinking Stratovarius has always been a little cheesy, but there’s a noticeable difference between this and say, Visions.

First, the vocals. Timo Kotipelto had always been used as a high-register vocalist until this album, but here they are REALLY FREAKING HIGH and almost unbearable. His falsetto goes so high you can’t even understand what the guy is singing. If you had ever wondered why his voice had dropped off so sharply around 2004-5, thank Mr. Timo Tolkki for writing these insane vocal lines and making Kotipelto sing them (I know this probably isn’t the only reason, but who doesn’t love a good conspiracy theory?). Making matters worse, his vocals are backed by way too many choirs; I usually don’t mind choirs used as background during a chorus here and there, but again, on Elements Pt. 1 they are just plain overused.

The songs are, for the most part, way too long. They’re bogged down by long, “epic” intros, more stupid choirs, and boring orchestral sections. I mean, look at the song lengths: Soul of a Vagabond 7:22, Fantasia pushing 10, Papillion 7, the title track 12 minutes? Almost all of these tracks could be cut down and made a lot better had the band shown some restraint in the above areas. I understand that a concept was trying to be conveyed on this album, but there’s no way in hell you can convince me that it couldn’t have been done in a way that’s more interesting. You can’t make a 10 minute power metal song with 9:30 of slow material and call it epic! You just can’t!

Did I say everything on this album is too over-the-top? I take that back. Everything on this album is over-the-top, except the instrument that actually matters: THE GUITAR! Save for the traditional neoclassical shredding that Tolkki will throw in on every album he creates, the guitars generally do just about nothing on this album. By this time, the riffs have become boring and predictable; they are used as nothing more than background noise for the keyboards. Tolkki has never been a virtuoso in the riffs department, but here it’s as if he isn’t even trying.

Find Your Own Voice is the perfect example where all of these problems come to a head. It could have been a great power metal song, but it succumbs to the many issues that are abundant on Elements Pt. 1. The song takes too long to get off the ground, with the music not really starting until a minute in. My vocal chords ache just listening to Kotipelto croon through the verse. Then the chorus comes, and…oh my god. The lyrics are indiscernible because Kotipelto is going so high, and at the same time, Jens Johannsson is playing some freakish keyboard solo. There’s just too much going on at once. Granted, this track has less symphonic elements than others, so it’s not a total snoozefest like some of the others, so maybe this wasn’t such a perfect example. However, I’m not going to go over the title track because I might fall asleep mid-review. The same could be said of Fantasia, or A Drop in the Ocean. Why would you make such a boring track as the album closer? WHY???

But, never fear! As this is still pre-2005 Stratovarius, there are still some parts of Elements Pt. 1 to be enjoyed. The opener Eagleheart is just about the only song on the album where the mass of cheese doesn’t get in the way. It’s poppy and radio-friendly, it’s still over-the-top, but it’s only a little under 4 minutes, and it went down as another Strato classic anyway. Just make sure you don’t watch its music video, because it stinks! Learning to Fly is a decent power metal song, although it’s still too long and Kotipelto’s vocals are too high again. And, this being Stratovarius, you gotta have an awesome instrumental shredfest in there somewhere. If the SNES had a better sound bitrate than 16-bit, you’d probably find Stratofortress on an old Kirby game or something. It’s an awesome song, with Tolkki doing by far his most impressive guitar work on the album…but it’s also the shortest. See a pattern here?

This album could have been great, and I know a lot of Stratovarius fans still regard it as such (just look at all of the different viewpoints of this album. There are a lot). Personally, I’m not hearing it. While there is a fair share of good material on Elements Pt. 1, the many experiments the band went through get in the way too often. Honestly, I’d say this would probably appeal more to fans of symphonic metal than power metal, or those who don’t mind if their power metal takes lots of risks.

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