Stratovarius - Nemesis review
|Release date:||February 2013|
03. Stand My Ground
04. Halcyon Days
06. Out Of The Fog
07. Castles In The Air
09. One Must Fall
10. If The Story Is Over
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.
||Written on 14.03.2013 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.|
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