STRATOVARIUS — Stratovarius

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STRATOVARIUS - Stratovarius cover
2.68 | 17 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 2005

Filed under Power Metal
By STRATOVARIUS

Tracklist

1. Maniac Dance (4:34)
2. Fight!!! (4:03)
3. Just Carry On (5:28)
4. Back To Madness (7:42)
5. Gypsy In Me (4:27)
6. Götterdämmerung (Zenith of Power) (7:12)
7. The Land Of Ice and Snow (3:04)
8. Leave The Tribe (5:42)
9. United (7:07)

Total Time: 49:24

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: September 5, 2005
Label: Mayan Records / Sanctuary

Thanks to progshine, DippoMagoo for the updates

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UMUR
"Stratovarius" is the 11th full-length studio album by Finnish power metal act Stratovarius. The album was released in September 2005 by Mayan Records/Sanctuary Records. It was the last album to feature the "classic" Stratovarius lineup that had been consistent sice 1996, as bassist Jari Kainulainen was fired shortly after the release and guitarist Timo Tolkki decided to leave the band in 2008. Leading up to the recording of the album the band had been through some rough times. Timo Tolkki suffered a nervous breakdown in early 2004 and the band went into a year long hiatus while Tolkki was treated and eventually diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. Tensions were building and "Stratovarius" is a product created by a band on the brink of destruction. It´s quite misleading that the closing track on the album is titled "United".

The album sees quite a departure from the band´s usual power metal style. It´s not that you can´t hear that it is Stratovarius playing but the band have chosen to include more traditional heavy metal elements than ever before and at the same time abandoning some of the most traditional power metal elements that are otherwise trademarks of their style. That means sparse double bass pedal drumming, few neo-classical elements and actually few solos from both guitar and keyboards. Instead most tracks are kept in mid-pace and the riffs are heavier. One other thing is that lead vocalist Timo Kotipelto also moderates his use of high pitched vocals. He has quite the pleasant mid-range vocal style too though and I think his more varied vocal approach on this album suits him well.

"Stratovarius" is an album that among fans of Stratovarius are generally regarded as a "black sheep" in the band´s discography. Personally I welcome the change in style and I actually think it´s a pretty good release. It´s not a revelation in any way and it probably shouldn´t be counted as one of Stratovarius "classic" albums, but I think few would despute that it´s well produced, well composed and well played. The album is probably a bit too far removed from the band´s usual style to satisfy the most conservative power metal fan, but if you can appreciate Stratovarius playing a mix of traditional heavy metal and power metal this album ain´t too bad. A 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

Members reviews

ydewata
Stratovarius self-titled record in 2005 marks the return of singer Timo Koltipelto after a few years of infamous hiatus and the band failed to find a suitable (and in some cases, respected by the fans) replacement for the charismatic yet unique singer. The output is somewhat a laid-back record where it seems that everyone in the band (even the mastermind guitarist Timo Tolkki himself) did not working their asses in the best of capability at the moment… and there’s also “dark mood” that you may be able to spot here and there in the songs.

Stratovarius compiles 9 songs that you would pretty much able to recognize that half of the record is a mid-tempo power metal tracks worthy of banging your head, while the other half is using a-more-ballad-ish approach that may not please some of their diehard fans. Opening track “Maniac Dance” is simply an upbeat, angry, and dynamic song that pretty much tells the story of Tolkki’s feeling, emotion, and depression during his down-time after Kotipelto left the band. They were keeping the beat and melody pretty much balanced during “Fight!!!” and “Just Carry On”. The latter being a radio-friendly track is a song that you would love to love once you hear the intro. On the contrary of “Maniac Dance”, “Just Carry On” brings a more positive touch through the lyric (no wonder, this is Stratovarius that we knew all along!). Yet you could feel the dark mood here.

“Gypsy In Me” is also another highlight in the record. Kotipelto’s melodic voice penned the song really deep. Unfortunately, “Gotterdammerung” and “Leave The Tribe” being a somewhat boring songs here. The semi-ballad “Back To Madness” is quite a salvation here (although I think that Kotipelto pushes his voice to hard on this), while “The Land of Ice and Snow” is also another average slow track provided, although this has some highlight lyrical lines here and beautifully sung. Needs to be remixed, probably? The album closer “United” is delivered in a heavy tune and in mid-tempo. This song probably has one of the best sing-a-long chorus in the life of the band. Must be a great live song!!

Being a comeback record, the members of the band seemed to being very cautious that affected their energy delivered to the songs provided. You would rarely hear Jens Johanssen’s keys solo, the way his trademark boosts life to many Stratovarius songs. What disappoints me is that Jorg Michael seemed having difficulty to keep his drumming beat and tempo to the song, mostly to the slow ones. Yet still this effort is a fresh re-start for the band we could expect something more in the future to come.

Ratings only

  • cefr45
  • Nick & Simon
  • Necrotica
  • powermetal2000
  • Gabimm
  • DippoMagoo
  • KatiLily
  • SevDawg
  • Rendref
  • 666sharon666
  • Diogenes
  • SrEstaire
  • Wilytank
  • vikt73
  • snowman1980

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