Rating:
8.2
Stratovarius - Polaris
15 May 2009


01. Deep Unknown
02. Falling Star
03. King Of Nothing
04. Blind
05. Winter Skies
06. Forever Is Today
07. Higher We Go
08. Somehow Precious
09. Emancipation Suite: I Dusk
10. Emancipation Suite: II Dawn
11. When Mountains Fall
12. Second Sight [Japanese bonus]
13. Second Sight [Polycarbonate Mix version] [Vinyl Collector's Edition bonus]
14. King Of Nothing [Death Star Mix version] [Vinyl Collector's Edition bonus]

[Polaris Live - 2010 reissue bonus disc]
01. Destiny [live]
02. Hunting High And Low [live]
03. Speed Of Light [live]
04. The Kiss Of Judas [live]
05. Deep Unknown [live]
06. A Million Light Years Away [live]
07. Bach: Air Suite [live]
08. Winter Skies [live]
09. Phoenix [live]
10. S.O.S. [live]
11. Forever Is Today [live]
12. King Of Nothing [live]
13. Father Time [live]
14. Higher We Go [live]


In 2009 the legendary band Stratovarius rose from its ashes like a phoenix presenting us an all new album Polaris which is the first one they have made without Timo Tolkki who pretty much made Stratovarius into what it came to be. Now how did the band manage to make one of the best records of 2009 after someone who almost fully composed and produced all their previous releases left the band?
First of all, Polaris contains lots of positive surprises and reaches the quality of past Stratovarius classics. The performance is great as ever and the new guitarist Matias Kupianen really shows he has what it takes to replace a legend. There are no complaints to be made about the overall performance of the band even if it isn't their best.
Songwriting methods were new but the songs remind the old Stratovarius even if there are new and fresh spices added to the classical style of the band]. This time around the whole group contributed to the songwriting and they managed it well. The different type of songs made by different members of the band really work out as a whole and the album is quite balanced. The only thing one could complain about is some sloppy vocal melodies but Timo Kotipelto saves the day with his good performance making even the less good parts sound quite good.
The album has a good amount of variety and that is why choosing some few highlights of the album is difficult. However, the most memorable moments of this album are the songs "Forever is Today" and "Deep Unknown" which mix the old and new Stratovarius in a perfect way. Even production is very good. The sound is crystal clear and even if it lacks some kick it sure fits the style of this album well.
Overall the new Stratovarius managed to make a good power metal album that instantly lifts the listener into a very positive mood. Even if Polaris doesn't reach the high quality of the golden years of Stratovarius in the late 90s it sure is a worthy addition to their large discography

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


Band profile: Stratovarius
Album: Polaris


 


written by -Mayhem- | 12.02.2010


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



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Morphis - 12.02.2010 at 09:18  
After three poor and dull albuns finaly some decent music from Stratovarius, as for me this is the only good album worth to be in my player after Infinity.

Strato seems to gain some stability without Tolkki and Matias Kupianen really connected here making this a solid and balanced release.

This is indeed very far from the " high quality of the golden years" and for me is not "one of the best records of 2009".

As an old fan of Stratovarius i couldn't miss this one, but if u like power metal u principally must listen to Cain's Offering debut album and the new Leverage.

Good review.
The Shape 1973 - 12.02.2010 at 19:20  
Not a bad album, there are some good songs on here that will join the live setlist no doubt, but there are far too many fillers on here for it to be a classic return to form. Better than RR though.

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