How many bands that their leader member has left them continue having the same success according to their past? Not many and Stratovarius belong to the category that the bands know the meaning of making great albums after some bad moments. Timo Tolki left them and now through their second album Elysium without him on guitars they show that they are in a great form and they deserve our attention again!
Elysium is the album which has its fast and slow songs. The fastest songs are “Under flaming skies” and “Event horizon” and especially the second one brings in my mind the old good days of the band from the period of 1994-1997, great riffing, druming, solo and a anthemical refrain. These kind of songs we have loved from Stratovarius. “Infernal maze” is the track which we first heard from the single Darkest Hours, a great song that begins slow and suddenly after some seconds all change and speed with melody become the rulers. A song that has changing solos between guitar and keyboards.
Stratovarius is a well-known power metal band that makes the difference among the others because of its many mid-tempo songs and in here there are some like “Fairness justified” and “Lifetime in a moment”. Both of them have as a characteristic part their refrains that are sung by all the members while in other older songs Kotipelto was singing on his own.
My two complaints about the album are that Matias Kupiainen could give us more solos without the keyboards and Timo Kotipelto could sing one level higher than he does in the most songs. Every one can realise that his voice is kind different and I do not think that he gives everything he has.
These two complaints are not existed when we listen to the final track “Elysium”, a magical song and strong too that can take you to another dimension where lyrism rules. A song that lasts 18 minutes and is consited of three parts. Every time I listen to it, as an idea it reminds me of the song “The ivory gates of dreams” from Fates Warning, maybe because of its progressive moments which are compined with the power clues. A perfect song full of riffs, solos and Kotipelto presents himself better than in any other moment of the album.
This album will gain you by the second listening. All the members try to do their best and more of them Jens Johansson who is heard in every song more that in Polaris.
A great album, but I do not think that is better than the previus Polaris. With Timo Tolki on guitar may things would be different, but he is not here and after some time I think that they will be one level better!
Points: 7 / 10
Review by Dr. Feelgood