Rating:
8.2
Stratovarius - Elysium
12 January 2011


Disc I
01. Darkest Hours
02. Under Flaming Skies
03. Infernal Maze
04. Fairness Justified
05. The Game Never Ends
06. Lifetime In A Moment
07. Move The Mountain
08. Event Horizon
09. Elysium
    1 - Part 1
    2 - Part 2
    3 - Part 3
10. Castaway [Japanese bonus]
11. Last Shore [collector's edition bonus]
12. Hallowed [collector's edition bonus]

Disc II [Digipack edition demo's]
01. Darkest Hours
02. Under Flaming Skies
03. Infernal Maze
04. Fairness Justified
05. The Game Never Ends
06. Lifetime In A Moment
07. Move The Mountain
08. Event Horizon
09. Elysium


After the surprisingly good Polaris and yes it is surprising since Timo Tolkki wrote most of the band's songs and hits, I had really high hopes that the new album would be even better but after listening to the single "Darkest Hours", I felt "Deep Unknown" was on a higher level.

Well I was wrong! The album is as solid as it gets. Unlike Polaris which contains some of Stratovarius' best songs ("Deep Unknown", "Falling Star", "King Of Nothing", "Winter Skies"), but also had its share of mediocre moments ("Blind", "Higher We Go"), Elysium on the other hand starts with the fairly good "Darkest Hours" and continues to impress me with each passing track. The production is crystal clear and not over polished at all, the highlight being the sound of Lauri Porra's bass guitar. The groove he provides on "Lifetime In A Moment" and "Fairness Justified" is phenomenal and contributes positively to the overall sound. The absence of the typical fast double bass songs is eminent throughout but that's not to say that there are none. "Infernal Maze", being one of the finest tracks on the album, has the best vocal performance by Timo Kotipelto since the Infinite album. Perhaps the biggest surprise in Elysium is the presence of the 18 minute epic title track with its epic feel and changing moods which stands as one of the most impressive works the band has released to date. The admission of guitarist Matias Kupiainen was a good choice even though the change in the band's sound might be repelling to the Tolkki enthusiasts but Kupiainen is doing more than well in filling the big shoes of Timo Tolkki, his influence on the 18 minute title track brought some very inspiring moments and showcased what drummer Jörg Michael is capable of ("Elysium" Part II is worth mentioning).

Overall Elysium tends to be a very impressive release and more consistent than its predecessor and one of the finest power metal releases of 2011. The progressive touch that the new sound incorporates brings a new atmosphere, and the band has succeeded in delivering what they want with the dark mood that accompanies the music and the lyrical context.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 10


Band profile: Stratovarius
Album: Elysium


 


written by Mountain King | 27.12.2011


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Doc Godin

Rating:
8.0
Stratovarius...That's that Finnish soap opera, right? Well, yeah, it's easy enough to chock this bands last few lack-lustre albums up to piss poor band chemistry and the downright cartoon-like drama that ensued because of it. So they "eliminated" the "problem", and came out with Polaris - an inching recovery, but a recovery nonetheless. Polaris, to put it lightly, was hit-or-miss on many tracks, but overall left most people, aside from perhaps the die-hard fans with an overall "meh" feeling. Fair enough, you can easily blame the new guy for that one, maybe the band chemistry just hadn't clicked yet? Well, the new guy is no longer the new guy, and there's been no reported in-fighting since Mr.Tolkki's days. I guess you could say every silver lining has a black cloud, because at this point they no longer had any excuse to release anything but their best. I'm not entirely sure what Stratovarius' "best" sounds like, but I can imagine it sounds something like this.

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published 26.01.2011 | Comments (51)



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Zender 1.8 - 27.12.2011 at 10:09  
Amazing!!! Thanks KIKO \\m//
-Mayhem- - 27.12.2011 at 12:54  
Rating could be higher..
Mountain King - 27.12.2011 at 15:50  
Written by -Mayhem- on 27.12.2011 at 12:54

Rating could be higher..

On a personal level and as a big fan of the band i would rate it an 8.6 or 8.8 maximum. But that would be a little biased. Being as objective as possible so that the rating would reflect how people who are not big fans of Power Metal would appreciate the album and not expect more...
Milena - 28.12.2011 at 00:18  
I've read somewhere that Lauri Porra contributed with the music and lyrics for a significant number of tracks for the first time. I've always respected him as quite an interesting individual, I've noticed him as such during my brief period of checking Stratovarius out, but he appears to be a man of many talents as well.
Mountain King - 28.12.2011 at 00:39  
Written by Milena on 28.12.2011 at 00:18

I've read somewhere that Lauri Porra contributed with the music and lyrics for a significant number of tracks for the first time. I've always respected him as quite an interesting individual, I've noticed him as such during my brief period of checking Stratovarius out, but he appears to be a man of many talents as well.

In my Elysium vinyl it's written that he composed the music and lyrics for Lifetime In A Moment. As for Polaris he composed the Emancipation Suite...
Milena - 28.12.2011 at 00:54  
Written by Mountain King on 28.12.2011 at 00:39

In my Elysium vinyl it's written that he composed the music and lyrics for Lifetime In A Moment. As for Polaris he composed the Emancipation Suite...

Hmmm, then it was for one of the previous albums I just thought of bringing that up since his name was mentioned in the review
-Mayhem- - 28.12.2011 at 12:28  
Written by Milena on 28.12.2011 at 00:54

Written by Mountain King on 28.12.2011 at 00:39

In my Elysium vinyl it's written that he composed the music and lyrics for Lifetime In A Moment. As for Polaris he composed the Emancipation Suite...

Hmmm, then it was for one of the previous albums I just thought of bringing that up since his name was mentioned in the review

Well songs he has composed for Strato sure are really fine (some of the best) but still nothing compared to his solo albums. Amazing mix of Jazz, Prog, Folk and a lot of other stuff.
He has also composed some of the finest Finnish soundtracks (some of them for a symphony orchestra)

And on top of his creativity he is also one of the best bassists on earth.
-Mayhem- - 28.12.2011 at 12:29  
Written by Milena on 28.12.2011 at 00:54

Written by Mountain King on 28.12.2011 at 00:39

In my Elysium vinyl it's written that he composed the music and lyrics for Lifetime In A Moment. As for Polaris he composed the Emancipation Suite...

Hmmm, then it was for one of the previous albums I just thought of bringing that up since his name was mentioned in the review

Well songs he has composed for Strato sure are really fine (some of the best) but still nothing compared to his solo albums. Amazing mix of Jazz, Prog, Folk and a lot of other stuff.
He has also composed some of the finest Finnish soundtracks (some of them for a symphony orchestra)

And on top of his creativity he is also one of the best bassists on earth.
Milena - 28.12.2011 at 13:16  
Written by -Mayhem- on 28.12.2011 at 12:28

...but still nothing compared to his solo albums. Amazing mix of Jazz, Prog, Folk and a lot of other stuff.
He has also composed some of the finest Finnish soundtracks (some of them for a symphony orchestra)

And on top of his creativity he is also one of the best bassists on earth.

The dude has solo albums? Mighty fine solution for me, since I hardly listen to Strato anymore
-Mayhem- - 28.12.2011 at 18:57  
Written by Milena on 28.12.2011 at 13:16

Written by -Mayhem- on 28.12.2011 at 12:28

...but still nothing compared to his solo albums. Amazing mix of Jazz, Prog, Folk and a lot of other stuff.
He has also composed some of the finest Finnish soundtracks (some of them for a symphony orchestra)

And on top of his creativity he is also one of the best bassists on earth.

The dude has solo albums? Mighty fine solution for me, since I hardly listen to Strato anymore

Well they are not metal but a mix of several things. Very bass driven and artistic instrumental stuff.
But really really good.
Milena - 28.12.2011 at 19:33  
Written by -Mayhem- on 28.12.2011 at 18:57

Well they are not metal...

Not an obstacle at all
EmeraldSword - 30.12.2011 at 02:54  
After reading the above posts, I have to say it's nice to hear Lauri Porra get a majority of the praise for this album. Def. the best I've ever heard coming from and impressed with his song writing abilities. "Lifetime In A Moment" is pure epicness. Now if he could only the fix the direction Warmen has been taking lately if he's still involved with that side project at all. I can't stand the abstruse pop songs, I miss their catchy neo-classical tunes.
Metal Invader - 04.01.2012 at 21:56  
I dont like this album..its bad same as Polaris

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