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STRATOVARIUS - Visions cover
4.12 | 39 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1997

Filed under Power Metal


1. The Kiss Of Judas (5:49)
2. Black Diamond (5:40)
3. Forever Free (6:01)
4. Before The Winter (6:05)
5. Legions (5:43)
6. The Abyss Of Your Eyes (5:37)
7. Holy Light (5:47)
8. Paradise (4:27)
9. Coming Home (5:33)
10. Visions (Southern Cross) (10:15)

Total Time: 61:01


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

About this release

Release date: June, 1997
Label: Noise Records/Victor

Japanese version contains 2 bonus tracks:
11. Black Diamond (Demo Version)
12. Uncertainty (Live Version)

Thanks to progshine, Unitron, diamondblack for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

I typically find sunny, upbeat power metal of the sort Stratovarius specialise in to be a very hit-or-miss thing, which examples of it either really exciting me or leaving me a bit cold. Take, for instance, Visions; it's not really a radical departure from the standard Stratovarius sound as expressed on the preceding Episode, and includes similar dips into neoclassical and progressive metal styles.

And yet, somehow, Visions comes together into a total package for me in a way which Episode never did. I've always respected Stratovarius' musicianship but found that their compositions can fail to move me emotionally; not so with Visions, which swept me along despite myself and stands head and shoulders above all the other Stratovarius material I've heard. On Visions, Stratovarius manage to pull off the rare trick in power metal of managing to be colourful and vibrant without coming across as cheesy, and I salute them for accomplishing it.
Visions is the sixth full-length studio album by the Finish Power Metal band Stratovarius. It was released in 1997 on Noise Records and self-produced by the band’s guitarist/mastermind Timo Tolkki.

The style on music found here is speedy, soaring, upbeat Melodic Power Metal with constant double kicks, plentiful guitar solos, and a prominent keyboardist who doesn’t just take on a background role (Jens Johansson of Yngwie Malmsteen fame).

The album opens with the excellent, concert-favourite tracks “Black Diamond” and “The Kiss Of Judas.” If you wonder whether or not to try out the album, or even the band, then these are songs that you may want to preview first.

Similarly excellent, is the brilliant “Legions” which sounds at first almost identical to Queensrÿche’s “Queen Of The Reich” before veering off on a tangent into that quintessentially European “Glorious/Victorious” feeling, and becomes more of its own song. Singer Timo Kotipelto’s vocals on this track are incredible.

There’s also a fair bit of variety on the album; for example “Paradise” is fun and bouncy, “Holy Light” is a virtuosic instrumental track and there’s also the strong, tasteful power ballad “Coming Home.” The album’s other Power Ballad, “Before The Winter” shows large tendencies towards 1970s Progressive Rock and points towards the direction that the band would take on their Elements Part 1 and Part 2 albums.

The album ends with the 10-minute title track, which is a multifaceted gem with acoustic parts, choral parts, speedy stereotypically Power Metal sections and slower moody sections. It pretty much mixes everything from the album thus far into one single song.

The standard of musicianship, songwriting and production are all top notch on this record, everything is very tight and there is no filler. This is a very strong album for Stratovarius and a good choice to start your collection with.

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