Stratovarius - Elements Part II review
|Album:||Elements Part II|
|Release date:||November 2003|
01. Alpha & Omega
02. I Walk To My Own Song
03. I'm Still Alive
04. Season Of Faith's Perfection
05. Awaken The Giant
06. Know The Difference
10. Ride Like The Wind [Japanese bonus]
With less than a year between releases [?Elements Pt. 1? was released earlier in the year], Stratovarius fans must think Christmas comes twice a year. Stratavarius on the other hand are in a hive of creative activity with this second part of a proposed double album, with a further nine tracks providing ample proof that they're at the top of their game.
Unlike ?Elements Pt. 1?, this second half is altogether different both musically and lyrically yet strays little from what fans have come to expect from the Finnish quintet.
The sound of rolling waves that faded out their previous album introduces the rather heavy, slow, brooding sounding pace of ?Alpha & Omega?. At a whopping six and a half minutes, the band maintain the majestic overstated feel of the track, while Timo Kotipelto's vocals move with all the variation the track needs to exemplify the point.
Like ?Eagleheart? from the last album, ?I Walk To My Own Song? and ?Know The Difference? are the obvious single choices from the album. The fast paced [and shorter] numbers have all the usual Stratovarius characteristics of fast double kick drums, high operatic vocals and riffs of incredible swiftness and timing.
Carrying the pace once again is ?I'm Still Alive?, and while the track is again another Stratovarius standard, Kotipelto's vocals in a couple of high moments are woefully off key that it detracts from the song. Why these were left unchanged is beyond me.
?Season Of Faith's Perfection? and ?Luminous? provides the album's full on power ballads with subtle orchestration helping out with the epic feel, while ?Awaken The Giant? and ?Dreamweaver? return to the heaviness of the album's opening number.
Perhaps it's the over simplistic sentimentality in the lyrical content in ?Liberty?, or the predictable orchestration that really rears it's head for the first time on the album, but either way the closer ?Liberty? is a bit much. Stratovarius are certainly guilty of this crime from time and time, but there's something about ending the album with this song that really doesn's still well with what the rest of the album has to offer.
The experimentation that ran through ?Elements Pt. 1? continues through its sequel here. The next big challenge ahead of the group is where they will go from here? Either way, the Stratovarius reputation in kept intact for the time being, and that's both a relief to fans and the band themselves I'm sure.
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