Rating:
8.2
Stratovarius - Nemesis
22 February 2013


01. Abandon
02. Unbreakable
03. Stand My Ground
04. Halcyon Days
05. Fantasy
06. Out Of The Fog
07. Castles In The Air
08. Dragons
09. One Must Fall
10. If The Story Is Over
11. Nemesis
12. Kill It with Fire [Japanese bonus]
13. Fireborn [Limited edition bonus]
14. Hunter [Limited edition bonus]


What a difference a line-up change can make. An energy is present in Stratovarius's camp which can only be pinned down to a fresh chemistry. New gun Rolf Pilve has quite the role to fill and expectations are high as he replaces Jorg Michael who provided the drums for many of the band's classic records. Perseverance is key and even after all their previous dramas Stratovarius have made Nemesis their most expressive return to form.

The album reaches a high point of consistency from which it never falls and the single "Unbreakable" is just that. Unbreakable. In fact the entire album might be described as unbreakable as the songwriting is resolute and unrelinquishing in its provision of seductive hooks. Jens Johansson's keys characteristically dance in expected fashion among the saturated layering of effects. Saturated it may sound, see tracks like "Halcyon Days" with its abundance of symphonics and electronic padding, but it is nevertheless supremely catchy with bass and guitar shining through in an equitable union.

Kotipelto has no trouble in finding his way through the throng of backing vocals and bombastic atmosphere. Yet despite some stunningly conceived choruses his delivery sounds somewhat constrained at times. This all comes down to the new guy, the band's new source of rhythm. Pilve offers a bracing precision which aids considerably in establishing the album's consistency. The drums are exceptionally well accounted for throughout the album and serve as an axis point for the band's performance as a whole.

However, Nemesis isn't particularly inventive. While moments like the cascading keys in the initial bridge of "Castles In The Air" might conjure up images of a more inspired Stratovarius, the album isn't as creative as it is consistent. Much of its variance depends heavily upon the padding of layered effects rather than an abundance of fresh ideas. The less interesting track here is the ballad "If The Story Is Over"; yet it isn't throwaway material as it offers Kotipelto a chance to take precedence, and is the most differing track from Nemesis as a whole.

An equilibrium seems to have been established from which there is considerable potential to draw and take up a more diverse approach to composition. The band has made a return to form which just might inspire more creative processes in the future.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Stratovarius
Album: Nemesis


 



Written on 14.03.2013 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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MarioCalnSnchez - 14.03.2013 at 09:25  
Good Reveiw, I agree with it!
The Shape 1973 - 14.03.2013 at 16:39  
Best of the post Tolkki material by some margin. Still not got the hooks and catchy chorus' of Tolkki era though.
mariano - 14.03.2013 at 17:23  
I think this album might be their heaviest, some riffs remind me Carcass...
Lonniehaskel - 16.03.2013 at 00:11  
Mariano, you took the words right out of my ... hands. This is effortlessly their heaviest, and I was thinking of Carcass as well lol
Hordaland - 16.03.2013 at 02:47  
I think it's their best since Infinite.
Hordaland - 16.03.2013 at 02:48  
Written by The Shape 1973 on 14.03.2013 at 16:39

Best of the post Tolkki material by some margin. Still not got the hooks and catchy chorus' of Tolkki era though.

Indeed.
Void Eater - 18.03.2013 at 05:11  
Agree with the review, except I'd give it a higher rating. I could never get into Stratovarius despite liking a lot of flowery euro power metal, and while this still sounds like Stratovarius, the songs are just flat out better than anything I've heard by them, and the majority of power metal in general. Currently my favorite album of the year, and surely gonna be a contender for the top album of 2013.
R'Vannith - 18.03.2013 at 10:22  
Written by Void Eater on 18.03.2013 at 05:11

Agree with the review, except I'd give it a higher rating. I could never get into Stratovarius despite liking a lot of flowery euro power metal, and while this still sounds like Stratovarius, the songs are just flat out better than anything I've heard by them, and the majority of power metal in general. Currently my favorite album of the year, and surely gonna be a contender for the top album of 2013.


I prefer this to most albums I've heard from them as well. Generally speaking they're not a band I've been overly impressed by but I do really like "Visions" and "Destiny." I think this one is on that level of consistency for sure. So far it's my favourite power metal release this year.
Sir Thrashalot - 21.11.2013 at 00:04  
Written by R'Vannith on 18.03.2013 at 10:22

Written by Void Eater on 18.03.2013 at 05:11

So far it's my favourite power metal release this year.


Totally agree with that. I've been enjoying Stratovarius records for about 12-13 years now. But it has been a very long time since an album made me listen to it so often in such a short amount of time. I really enjoyed the entire album and I too believe that it is their heaviest by far. Heavy but they did not leave behind any "sugar-coated" keyboard passages that I particularly enjoy from them. It has me headbanging and singing along loudly in the car.

You don't really need to listen to it 2-3 times before it grows on you, I loved it at first listen. I personally believe that Stratovarius nailed it on this, I could not have expected a better album from them.
R'Vannith - 21.11.2013 at 02:47  
Written by Sir Thrashalot on 21.11.2013 at 00:04

Totally agree with that. I've been enjoying Stratovarius records for about 12-13 years now. But it has been a very long time since an album made me listen to it so often in such a short amount of time. I really enjoyed the entire album and I too believe that it is their heaviest by far. Heavy but they did not leave behind any "sugar-coated" keyboard passages that I particularly enjoy from them. It has me headbanging and singing along loudly in the car.

You don't really need to listen to it 2-3 times before it grows on you, I loved it at first listen. I personally believe that Stratovarius nailed it on this, I could not have expected a better album from them.


This one had me hooked from the first spin as well, something which hasn't happened with any of Strato's other albums. This one's a simpler album than some of their classic material perhaps, but it's just so damn catchy! Power metal played the way it's supposed to be with an impressionable heaviness. And yeah they still work in those tasty, sugary keys!

If this one's anything to go by they've got some gusto left in them yet, my expectations for the next one have been very much raised.
Sir Thrashalot - 22.11.2013 at 17:55  
Written by R'Vannith on 21.11.2013 at 02:47

Written by Sir Thrashalot on 21.11.2013 at 00:04

If this one's anything to go by they've got some gusto left in them yet, my expectations for the next one have been very much raised.


Just the same for me. I have came down from the "Don't expect too much anymore, it's just going to sound the same as the others", now I am anticipating the new release. Until then, I will keep enjoying this great album
Beckari - 10.02.2014 at 18:10  
This album is fudging perfect. I love all the songs, including the bonus tracks. It's pretty darn hard to find an album I like where I can actually say I enjoy all the songs!!

The album cover is also beautiful, I use it as my desktop picture. If you've not listened to it yet and enjoy some power metal, go buy it!
FinnRommi - 14.02.2014 at 22:23  
For me Nemesis is best the Stratovarius album since Infinite!
Sword_Chant - 20.05.2014 at 01:30  
Best album of 2013 in my opinion! Possibly the biggest Power Metal comeback for that year too, album wise. Disagree with the rating slightly though... i'd have given it an 8.5
R'Vannith - 20.05.2014 at 04:26  
Written by Sword_Chant on 20.05.2014 at 01:30

Possibly the biggest Power Metal comeback for that year too, album wise.


I thought so too, this one really renewed my interest in their music, and it ranks as one of their top releases from my perspective.

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