"ELEMENTS Pt. I"
The review of this album gives me the opportunity to write some things that I don't understand. People seem to have turned their back to Stratovarius during their last efforts. The usual excuse is that "they produce the same kind of music again and again". Ok, I can understand that to a certain extent, as indeed after "Episode" Stratovarius' music is more or less the same. But then we must define what we expect from certain groups: There are some groups that evolve and change their style from CD
to CD (Dream Theater, Paradise Lost, Queensryche etc), and there are some others that prefer to produce one kind of music with little variations (Rhapsody, Gamma Ray, Running Wild, Stratovarius). In such bands what matters is whether the CD is good or bad. For example how could one expect an AC/DC album to be different???? And on the other hand see what has happened with Helloween: After they released the two "Keeper" albums most of the people criticize them for changing their style as if "Master of the Rings", "Better than Raw" and "The Dark Ride" were bad albums (on the contrary they where GREAT). And if Helloween had kept producing the same albums like "Keeper" we would say that they keep releasing the same things again and again. I think we (metal fans) are quite greedy and ungrateful listeners.
Anyway, the things here is that Stratovarius seem to have listened to their critics and decided to release a "different" album. And this is the surprise: that the band has changed its music route a bit and this works really well!!! Some trademark Stratovarius songs of Euro-power metal are here ("Eagleheart", "Find Your Own Voice") and are astonishing as usual. But the change is that the group decided to turn to a more "classical" direction. So it "dresses" most of the songs with classical instruments (played by orchestra) and choirs, giving an epic, majestic tone to the album! Long, slow, mid-tempo anthems of pure noble feelings. Honestly an amazing effort from a band, which many had forgotten. This must be the more qualitative release of the finish band. A CD, which stand as really tall, and far away for the rest of the genre to follow. Members of the band perform as if there is no tomorrow their classical/power metal songs (all composed by Tolki), but special reference must be given to Timo Kotipelto for his unearthy performance. If you have to listen to a song before buying the album then try to listen to "Papillon", this lyrical masterpiece. Stratovarius have gambled and won. Not it's your turn to reward them. Congratulations!
by Alex Savatianos 9/10