Elements Part 2
STRATOVARIUS

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STRATOVARIUS - Elements Part 2 cover
3.16 | 14 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2003

Filed under Power Metal

Tracklist

1. Alpha & Omega (6:38)
2. I Walk To My Own Song (5:03)
3. I'm Still Alive (4:50)
4. Season Of Faith's Perfection (6:08)
5. Awaken The Giant (6:37)
6. Know The Difference (5:38)
7. Luminous (4:49)
8. Dreamweaver (5:53)
9. Liberty (5:01)

Total Time: 50:39

Bonus disc
1. Alpha & Omega (demo version) (6:35)
2. Vapaus (demo version) (6:05)

Total Time: 12:41

Line-up/Musicians

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

About this release

Release date: October 27, 2003
Label: Nuclear Blast

Japanese bonus track: "Ride Like The Wind"

Thanks to Pekka, progshine for the updates

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STRATOVARIUS ELEMENTS PART 2 reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

UMUR
"Elements Part 2" is the 10th full-length studio album by Finnish power metal act Stratovarius. The album was released through Nuclear Blast Records in October 2003. "Elements Part 1" was released in January the same year.

The music on "Elements Part 2" is unmistakably the sound of Stratovarius. Timo Kotipelto´s skilled and extremely high pitched vocal delivery, the tight rythm section of drummer Jörg Michael and bassist Jari Kainulainen, the neo-classical keyboard work of Jens Johansson and the strong guitar playing by Timo Tolkki. The band are as well playing as ever. The songwriting is pretty inspired too, even though the band were at this point slowly drifting away from the full speed ahead double pedal Euro power metal that they are mostly known for. "Elements Part 2" is a bit more mid-paced and focused on epic atmosphere than power and speed.

Packed in a clean and powerful sound production "Elements Part 2" is another professional and well sounding power metal album by Stratovarius. I don´t necessarily think it´s their best release, but even their more "standard" releases are quality to my ears and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.
Diogenes
Well, here we are with the second of the two Elements albums. Despite being named Pt. 1 and Pt. 2, being released around the same time, and having cover art with some half-person reaching up to a glowing ball, these albums don’t really have a lot to do with each other. While Elements Pt. 1 was a delve into broader and more symphonic territories, Pt. 2 shows Stratovarius returning mostly to a sound that’s more, hmm, Stratoesque.

Strangely, the few songs on Elements Pt. 2 that continue the band’s experimentation are also the ones that I find to be the most memorable. The album opener Alpha and Omega breaks the traditional Stratomold of leading with a short, upbeat number; its haunting atmosphere and slower pace make you feel as if you’re hovering above vast oceans and plains. This song absolutely NAILS the “epic” sound that Stratovarius whiffed on in the first part of the Elements project. Dreamweaver, too, is a solid track, being more of a midtempo hard rocker than a power metal song. The chorus to this one is great. And I know I’m in the minority here, but I really like Awaken the Giant. It’s slow, but still headbangable, and the distorted vocals actually work here for reasons that I will outline later. Regardless, all three of these songs strike the perfect balance between progression in the Stratovarius sound and typical melodic power metal.

Other than that, it’s business as usual for Tolkki and company. This means that the power metal songs are, erm, heavily inspired by earlier Stratovarius, and the ballads are forgettable. I Walk to My Own Song, I’m Still Alive, and Know the Difference will probably sound pretty damn familiar if you’ve hear anything this band has recorded before 2003. But therein lies the problem: it’s a little too familiar. The lack of originality isn’t as blatant as it would become later on (there are no recycled riffs or anything here), but these tracks are still very much alike to those you would find on Episode or Visions. That might appeal to you anyway, but be warned: the individual performances aren’t as good here. Save for the always steady Jorg Michael on drums, Stratovarius sounds like they’re just going through the motions. The once-mighty Timo Kotipelto, with less choirs and tri-vocal layering on this album, sounds weak and tired from the beating his vocal chords have taken over the years. He’s still hitting the notes, but sings with noticeably less power than on previous Stratovarius releases. Tolkki’s riffing is, again, repetitive, and his solos don’t add anything other than taking up part of the songs. Jens Johannsson appears to be playing his keyboard just because he’s in the band and Tolkki can’t figure out how to incorporate him in the songwriting. That’s more or less the impression that I’m getting from listening to the fast tracks. They’re solid alone, but underwhelming when all put on the same album.

On the surface, all of the ballads might seem pretty bad. Slow songs have never been Tolkki’s forte, even at the height of his creativity, but in truth, these aren’t so horrid. They aren’t good, but they aren’t bad either. Season of Faith’s Perfection and Luminous are just sort of there, but Liberty is actually a decent song with a catchy guitar solo, and I might have upgraded it a little more if it wasn’t another album closer (STOP ENDING ALBUMS WITH BALLADS!!! I swear…) I’m having a hard time saying anything else about these, so that should give you an idea of how effective they are.

So, there’s a lot of repetition, three of the songs are taking up blank space, and I still don’t like Tolkki. Then why the hell am I giving this three stars? Um, there really isn’t anything that’s BAD on Elements Pt. 2. Yes, there are only a few good songs that will stick with you, but there aren’t any moments where I’m inclined to hit skip or painfully rip out my headphones. It’s true that the ballads aren’t spectacular and the songs where Stratovarius usually excels aren’t that memorable either, but after filling their previous album with pointless and bland crap, Stratovarius have made an album with direction and some idea of what they’re doing. That, and it still might be of some value for the band’s hardcore fans because it actually sounds like Stratovarius this time.

Giving Elements Pt. 2 another leg up on its predecessor is the production. Again, it doesn’t sound a lot different than any Stratovarius albums except for Elements Pt. 1, but that’s mostly good news. Michael’s drums don’t sound nearly as triggered, and the whole thing isn’t as flat. Making more room for the actual METAL instrumentation, perhaps?

So I guess this isn’t the worst album you can get. It’s definitely not where you would want to start in the Stratovarius discography, and you still might prefer Elements Pt. 1 over this, depending on your tastes and tolerance for overlong and boring songs. Elements Pt. 2 is a fun listen, although pretty unfulfilling, and would be the last decent effort by the band for quite some time.

Members reviews

thellama73
I got this album after reading some very strong reviews of Stratovarius. This was the only record by them that the store had, and I had money in my pocket, so I thought I'd give it a try.

Sadly, it is essentially unlistenable. I've never heard such cheesy schlock. The singer has a very high pitched voice (not in a good way like Geddy Lee or Robert Plant) and he sounds rather like a chipmonk at times. The lyrics are dreadful and the melodies are trite. The only track I can stand to listen to is "I'm Still Alive" an ultra fast thrash piece that is reasonably catchy. The rest is just dreck.

I have heard that my choice of albums was unfortunate and that their other albums are much better, but thanks to "Elements Part 2" I'll never make any effort to find out.

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  • progpostman
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