Rating:
6.2
Stratovarius - Destiny
5 October 1998


01. Destiny
02. S.O.S.
03. No Turning Back
04. 4000 Rainy Nights
05. Rebel
06. Years Go By
07. Playing With Fire
08. Venus In The Morning
09. Anthem Of The World
10. Cold Winter Nights [European bonus]
11. Dream With Me [Japanese bonus]
12. Blackout [Scorpions cover][American bonus]


Destiny is the album that introduced me to the Finnish power metal giants Stratovarius and in retrospect, I must say that it wasn't a very good place to start. I later went on to discover the greatness of their previous release Visions, but Desinty never grew on me and I still don't like it much even today. The reason for this is that it suffers from uninspired, unimaginative songwriting and doesn't even come close to realizing the band's true potential.

Before I move on to explain why I feel this way about Destiny, it is very important to say that while I claim the album is predictable and boring, I do not think it is bad, not at all. Timo Tolkki's solos are very enjoyable, even though he is far better at playing fast than he is at playing interesting. Also, songs like the emotional ballad "4000 Rainy Nights" and the catchy "Playing With Fire" are quite enjoyable. Overall this is an average album, but therein lies the problem: it is too average. Even on the first listen Destiny creates an unmistakable feeling of musical deja vu and this is the FIRST Stratovarius album that I heard.

It's not difficult to see (or hear) where the feeling of deja vu comes from: the songs are too simplistic and there's too much repetition. The 10-minute title track "Destiny" is a good example of this, it begins with a boy soprano singing a very slow, unimaginative tune that doesn't really go anywhere. This melody is repeated several times until one begins to wonder whether the song itself will go anywhere and when it finally does, it's still predictable at every turn. The closing song "Anthem Of The World" shares the exact same problems, it is needlessly long, the melodies are simplistic and uninteresting. The rest of the tracks don't suffer from being too long, but - with a few exceptions - they're no more exciting or enjoyable. There are no surprises on Destiny.

Two more factors contribute to this album feeling uninspired. The first are the lyrics, which are no more or less obvious and boring than the music itself. References are made to such intriguing subjects as the nature of God, the human condition and pre-determination, but no attempt is made to elaborate on this. In the end, the lyrics are still all about not turning back and flying free like eagles in the sky. The final problem is Kotipelto's cold unconvincing vocal performance. There's no doubt that he is a good singer, but on Destiny Kotipelto sounds emotionless and sedated. He's supposed to be performing something truly epic, singing to every single human being on the planet ("Anthem Of The World"), but his voice lacks the passion needed in order to pull this off with conviction.

Destiny is a decent album and for most Stratovarius fans, it is probably an essential part of their discography, but I want more from these very likeable Finnish metallers, much more.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 5
Originality: 4
Production: 8


Band profile: Stratovarius
Album: Destiny


 


written by ErnilEnNaur | 07.03.2011


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

Guest review by
The Silent Man

Rating:
8.0
Destiny is one of those friendly album, which every listener can enjoy immediately: just push play and let the songs carry you away. Trust me, this album will remain in your cd player for a long time. Why? What's the secret? If you loved Visions, you should know it: excellent melodies based on minor scales. In fact every song has good vocal melodies and a melodic guitar solo. What I really love about this record is Timo Kotipelto's vocals: sad, cold and surprisingly high. The songwriting, all by Timo Tolkki, is good and quite 'simple? (if we can call 'simple? a power metal song): the songs are created around one or two melodies and they are embellished with fast melodic guitar solos, choruses and unfailing Tolkki-Johansson guitar-keyboard duets .

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published 22.09.2003 | Comments (12)



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replica of me - 07.03.2011 at 07:47  
I absolutely disagree with this review. In my opinion it is one of their best releases. It has got everything a power metal album should have. Sure, there are 2 songs which I don't like so much but the remaining ones are pure magic.
Sword_Chant - 07.03.2011 at 12:38  
Not a very good review, didn't really explain fully what this album has to dislike. Destiny isn't anything near that bad, it's just different from Visions...more progressive. Not to mention I also found this album their LEAST predictable, 'Destiny' is regarded as one of the best Stratovarius songs ever. Brings chills to me every time.. something I rarely get out of the new Strato albums.

For me, the problem of 'predictable' with this album is that Tolkki repeated the Stratovarius formula a million times in every RR release and he's doing the same with his new band Symfonia as well. But many people regard this album to be one of the best...and thats probably the reason why TT copied so many of it's structures over time. Sometimes, this album is regarded as the best they ever made. For me, Episode and Visions are their prime sound and this was more of an experimental album that created awesome moments as well. As I said earlier, completely disagree with the review and i'd rate it well over 8.
Metal Invader - 07.03.2011 at 14:09  
I like Visions and Infinity more then this album..its not that bad but i like only 3 songs wich is to little to hold a hole album for me..just mine opinion!:)
ErnilEnNaur - 07.03.2011 at 14:41  
Written by Sword_Chant on 07.03.2011 at 12:38

Not a very good review, didn't really explain fully what this album has to dislike.


What should I have expanded upon? What should I have explained better and how? I'd really like to know how to improve my skills as a reviewer, so I'd appreciate if you could elaborate on this a little bit. I felt I explained my problems with the album rather well (considering the word limit), but maybe not? I look forward to your further thoughts on this. Thank You.
RavenKing - 07.03.2011 at 14:42  
It's true that the album is uninspired and lacks emotion.

Drums are a huge annoyance on the fast songs because they're way too loud.

As for lyrics, Stratovarius' lyrics have never been good. Lyrics simply don't go anywhere. No concept, no story, nothing. Even when I still listened to Powermetal (10-12 years ago), I couldn't care less for lyrics in Stratovarius. Imo, lyrics are only there to support vocals. They're silly and meaningless.
!J.O.O.E.! - 07.03.2011 at 15:03  
Written by Guest on 07.03.2011 at 14:41

Written by Sword_Chant on 07.03.2011 at 12:38

Not a very good review, didn't really explain fully what this album has to dislike.


What should I have expanded upon? What should I have explained better and how? I'd really like to know how to improve my skills as a reviewer, so I'd appreciate if you could elaborate on this a little bit. I felt I explained my problems with the album rather well (considering the word limit), but maybe not? I look forward to your further thoughts on this. Thank You.

It's more or less impossible to expand upon comments whereby one states that the album has poor songwriting, not with some seriously indepth (and boring) analysis. If something is boring it's just boring. It's boring because it's not interesting. It's not interesting because the songwriting isn't good etc. ad infinitum.
ErnilEnNaur - 07.03.2011 at 16:14  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 07.03.2011 at 15:03

It's more or less impossible to expand upon comments whereby one states that the album has poor songwriting, not with some seriously indepth (and boring) analysis. If something is boring it's just boring. It's boring because it's not interesting. It's not interesting because the songwriting isn't good etc. ad infinitum.


I sort of agree, but I do analyse things to death, especially when I dislike them. If not for the word limit, the review might have been 2000 words long, but who'd want to read that? I do feel however that whenever I write a negative review, I owe the fans a very good explanation as to why I dislike the album and whenever I write a very positive review, I owe the non-fans a good explanation for that too. I cannot think of my reviews as just getting my opinion out there, I think of them as essays really. I am also hugely critical of my own writings (I really cannot stand to read my first review anymore) and I'm always looking for constructive feedback, no matter how positive or negative, because that is the only way to evolve. When it comes to recognizing poor or uninspired songwriting, I think one has to be a musician or at least play an instrument moderately well to recognize it. That's not to say that just because I am pretty good with keyboards, I am somehow a superior listener, that I don't believe for a second.
!J.O.O.E.! - 07.03.2011 at 16:57  
Written by Guest on 07.03.2011 at 16:14


I sort of agree, but I do analyse things to death, especially when I dislike them. If not for the word limit, the review might have been 2000 words long, but who'd want to read that? I do feel however that whenever I write a negative review, I owe the fans a very good explanation as to why I dislike the album and whenever I write a very positive review, I owe the non-fans a good explanation for that too. I cannot think of my reviews as just getting my opinion out there, I think of them as essays really. I am also hugely critical of my own writings (I really cannot stand to read my first review anymore) and I'm always looking for constructive feedback, no matter how positive or negative, because that is the only way to evolve. When it comes to recognizing poor or uninspired songwriting, I think one has to be a musician or at least play an instrument moderately well to recognize it. That's not to say that just because I am pretty good with keyboards, I am somehow a superior listener, that I don't believe for a second.

I've always felt reviews are as much about entertaining as they are about informing so a balance is definitely necessary. Pure analysis might be more useful but I personally don't like overlong reviews as they often miss the point of highlighting an album's feel whilst bogging themselves down in irrelevant insight. No one really wants to read about technical definitions and guitar techniques (probably because to the laymen it means nothing) so I'd always give credit to something that's a bit more poetic and creative. This reply is a bit of a non-sequitur really so apologies for that.

Anyway I think it's a common complaint of people who disagree with a review to suggest that the reviewer didn't explain why it it's good/bad, I can only assume because they don't share the views stated or can get into the mindset to understand the points. Or something.
The Shape 1973 - 07.03.2011 at 17:04  
Written by Sword_Chant on 07.03.2011 at 12:38

Destiny isn't anything near that bad, it's just different from Visions...more progressive. Not to mention I also found this album their LEAST predictable, 'Destiny' is regarded as one of the best Stratovarius songs ever. Brings chills to me every time.. something I rarely get out of the new Strato albums.

For me, the problem of 'predictable' with this album is that Tolkki repeated the Stratovarius formula a million times in every RR release and he's doing the same with his new band Symfonia as well. But many people regard this album to be one of the best...and thats probably the reason why TT copied so many of it's structures over time. Sometimes, this album is regarded as the best they ever made. For me, Episode and Visions are their prime sound and this was more of an experimental album that created awesome moments as well.

My first Strato album and still my favourite. I agree on the title track being one of their best. Episode and Visions are great, I would add Infinite to the list as well. Its a shame they never found this level again.
Shadowcross - 07.03.2011 at 18:03  
My favourite 3 are Destiny, Visions and Episode.. Destiny is probably not quite as good as the other two but it is definitely a 9.0 for me!
Mountain King - 07.03.2011 at 18:37  
I would rate it 7. There are like 4 or 5 songs that are good songs and Rebel is my favorite! I prefer other Starto albums over this, Polaris is one of them...
Sword_Chant - 07.03.2011 at 19:27  
Written by Guest on 07.03.2011 at 14:41

Written by Sword_Chant on 07.03.2011 at 12:38

Not a very good review, didn't really explain fully what this album has to dislike.


What should I have expanded upon? What should I have explained better and how? I'd really like to know how to improve my skills as a reviewer, so I'd appreciate if you could elaborate on this a little bit. I felt I explained my problems with the album rather well (considering the word limit), but maybe not? I look forward to your further thoughts on this. Thank You.


It wasn't that you didn't expand on the reason why you thought the album is average, it just seemed like you have a general dislike for the lengthier songs which almost more than often repeat elements (which is also very much done in a deliberate way specific to the style of albums like this). While it's true that this album has been done to death, the repetition has been shown more in TT's new bands rather than the past...probably a big bit of proof that this was a very rewarding and inspiring album not only from the man who composed it but also by the fans, who seemingly continue to follow his new projects.

You could have explained a bit better on what other songs seemed uninspired apart from the lengthier tracks, without going into a track by track analysis (which someone pointed out and that would be pretty boring to say the least). 'Destiny' and 'Anthem of the World' are long and do repeat, but if you describe the whole album as uninspired then what about the shorter tracks? This just wasn't elaborated on as it maybe could have been, because people might just think generally you dislike all proggy lengthed tracks. Hope I explained a bit better and that it helped
ErnilEnNaur - 07.03.2011 at 21:19  
Written by Sword_Chant on 07.03.2011 at 19:27

It wasn't that you didn't expand on the reason why you thought the album is average, it just seemed like you have a general dislike for the lengthier songs which almost more than often repeat elements (which is also very much done in a deliberate way specific to the style of albums like this).


I don't mind the length, I mind that it's not used very well. The opening melody of "Destiny" is repeated too many times and it's not an interesting melody. First the boys soprano sings, then guitars come in on the background, then guitar plays the same melody, then a choir sings, that's four times listening to the same tune. I like long epic songs such as "White Pearl, Black Oceans" by Sonata Arctica, but "Destiny" seems to be long for the sake of being long, that doesn't make a song epic, it makes it boring. I'm glad you liked it though, it's always possible that there is a certain je ne sais quoi about a song, album or band that some individuals hear and others do not.

Quote:

You could have explained a bit better on what other songs seemed uninspired apart from the lengthier tracks, without going into a track by track analysis (which someone pointed out and that would be pretty boring to say the least). 'Destiny' and 'Anthem of the World' are long and do repeat, but if you describe the whole album as uninspired then what about the shorter tracks?


OK, I am glad I you ask about this. I was going to mention other songs too, but that would have made the review too long. Other songs that I didn't like were "Venus In The Morning" and especially "Years Go By". Both of these songs can put me to sleep. "Years Go By" is also a very problematic song in terms of lyrics, because some of the lines don't even flow naturally with the music, for example the line "In my life I have been an outcast". It's like Tolkki didn't even care about how the lyrics sound, he just needed some and went with the first lines that popped into his head. If the lyrics were fantasy-based and tongue-in-cheek, then I'd turn a blind eye to this, but they're not.
Dark Cornatus - 08.03.2011 at 00:10  
I'm another who disagrees, mainly for the harshness in the the album is so unoriginal. It was made in 1998, and at this time; Symphonic Power Metal was in it's infancy. Where also could you have heard the melodic opening choirs in Destiny, or the classical sounding introduction from Anthem of this World?

Destiny has filler songs for sure, but there were good songs too. On every Stratovarius album there is filler though. I would have it rated more of a 7-7.5.
farfaramir - 08.03.2011 at 05:00  
Uuuuum, I think time doesn't do good things to this album. I mind, it wasn't the most original album of all times, but now with so many stratovarius clones... Obviusly is going to sound unoriginal for you! XD...

By the way, I agree with Ravenking about the lyrics. In this one I consider myself to not have english as my first lenguage, I don't have to understand what they are saying if I don't want XD... So I could enjoy it a lot more, the lyrics destroyed Visions for me.
Dark Cornatus - 08.03.2011 at 09:24  
Written by farfaramir on 08.03.2011 at 05:00

Uuuuum, I think time doesn't do good things to this album. I mind, it wasn't the most original album of all times, but now with so many stratovarius clones... Obviusly is going to sound unoriginal for you! XD...

By the way, I agree with Ravenking about the lyrics. In this one I consider myself to not have english as my first lenguage, I don't have to understand what they are saying if I don't want XD... So I could enjoy it a lot more, the lyrics destroyed Visions for me.

I seriously don't even care about lyrics in music anymore. With most metal it is about the overall sound. I think you need to be like this to listen to a lot of cheesy lyrics that are supported by great music.
RavenKing - 08.03.2011 at 14:28  
Written by farfaramir on 08.03.2011 at 05:00

Uuuuum, I think time doesn't do good things to this album. I mind, it wasn't the most original album of all times, but now with so many stratovarius clones... Obviusly is going to sound unoriginal for you! XD...

By the way, I agree with Ravenking about the lyrics. In this one I consider myself to not have english as my first lenguage, I don't have to understand what they are saying if I don't want XD... So I could enjoy it a lot more, the lyrics destroyed Visions for me.


Problem with Stratovarius' lyrics is they lead absolutely nowhere. Meaningless. They feel only like random words and generic sentences thrown awkwardly.
Gamma Ray has the same problem at times, though it is less bad as Stratovarius.

I know that Stratovarius is not an atmospheric band, no more than Powermetal can be an atmospheric genre, but this kind of meaningless lyrics doesn't help when it comes to make you feel related to the songs.
Milena - 09.03.2011 at 08:33  
Actually, the review is pretty well written, I've last heard the album ages ago and still know what he's talking about especially about Timo's voice, though I have a feeling he's always cold, and raped to sing as high as he can (don't think anything dirty, guys). Except that, after the previous enjoyment, I feel like this about every Strato album. And the lyrics are pretty much the worst thing about them, they always seem to be about self-empowerment (which I enjoy to hear from time to time, but when I think of a loonie like Timo Tolkki trying to give me an empowering feeling, I just give up) or something more fitting for an ecology class in school rather than a metal album.
ErnilEnNaur - 09.03.2011 at 08:49  
Written by Milena on 09.03.2011 at 08:33

Actually, the review is pretty well written, I've last heard the album ages ago and still know what he's talking about especially about Timo's voice, though I have a feeling he's always cold, and raped to sing as high as he can (don't think anything dirty, guys).


I absolutely agree about Kotipelto's high notes, he has to push his voice too much to reach them, it sounds bizarre and it's not enjoyable, because I am a singer and I can hear him hurting his vocal chords. I disagree about him always being cold, though. I used to think that he wasn't a very good singer until Cain's Offering came along. Jani is a far superior melody-maker and lyricist and I loved Kotipelto's voice on their debut album. I think he nailed the dark, emotional songs such as "Oceans Of Regret" and "Morpheus In A Masquerade", so I think the problem for him on "Destiny" is Tolkki's music. I couldn't perform those songs with any emotion either. Not that I am as good a vocalist as Kotipelto

Quote:

And the lyrics are pretty much the worst thing about them, they always seem to be about self-empowerment (which I enjoy to hear from time to time, but when I think of a loonie like Timo Tolkki trying to give me an empowering feeling, I just give up) or something more fitting for an ecology class in school rather than a metal album.


I feel that way too. The lyrics are sort of dead on so many of their albums, I feel like they don't mean what they're saying. And once again, it's no wonder that Kotipelto sounds dead, when the lyrics he has to perform are dead; It's pretty difficult to win a race with a dead horse.
Milena - 09.03.2011 at 13:54  
Written by Guest on 09.03.2011 at 08:49



I absolutely agree about Kotipelto's high notes, he has to push his voice too much to reach them, it sounds bizarre and it's not enjoyable, because I am a singer and I can hear him hurting his vocal chords. I disagree about him always being cold, though. I used to think that he wasn't a very good singer until Cain's Offering came along. Jani is a far superior melody-maker and lyricist and I loved Kotipelto's voice on their debut album. I think he nailed the dark, emotional songs such as "Oceans Of Regret" and "Morpheus In A Masquerade", so I think the problem for him on "Destiny" is Tolkki's music. I couldn't perform those songs with any emotion either. Not that I am as good a vocalist as Kotipelto



Yeah, I think he was pushed in the studio a lot; and basically he has a very strong vocal so he should be let to do his own thing though I think he'd do a lot better with a heavy metal style of singing, you know, with the screams, the oldschool kind of stuff rather than this power metal 'sing like you have a pipe in your ass' thing (stealing Tony Kakko's expression here ). But I'm no vocalist
Sword_Chant - 14.03.2011 at 13:33  
Written by Milena on 09.03.2011 at 13:54

Written by Guest on 09.03.2011 at 08:49



I absolutely agree about Kotipelto's high notes, he has to push his voice too much to reach them, it sounds bizarre and it's not enjoyable, because I am a singer and I can hear him hurting his vocal chords. I disagree about him always being cold, though. I used to think that he wasn't a very good singer until Cain's Offering came along. Jani is a far superior melody-maker and lyricist and I loved Kotipelto's voice on their debut album. I think he nailed the dark, emotional songs such as "Oceans Of Regret" and "Morpheus In A Masquerade", so I think the problem for him on "Destiny" is Tolkki's music. I couldn't perform those songs with any emotion either. Not that I am as good a vocalist as Kotipelto



Yeah, I think he was pushed in the studio a lot; and basically he has a very strong vocal so he should be let to do his own thing though I think he'd do a lot better with a heavy metal style of singing, you know, with the screams, the oldschool kind of stuff rather than this power metal 'sing like you have a pipe in your ass' thing (stealing Tony Kakko's expression here ). But I'm no vocalist


Tolkki has always written songs like that, especially in the studio sessions. If you listen to the album Elements Part 1, theres a song on it called 'Find Your Own Voice' which he made Kotipelto sing live during their 2003 tour. Is he trying to kill the guy or what? He's also doing it with his new band Symfonia...pushing how high the note is like its to try and prove some kind of point. Cain's Offering is good because its taken a step back and feels controllable, without being painful.
Milena - 15.03.2011 at 08:46  
Written by Sword_Chant on 14.03.2011 at 13:33

Tolkki has always written songs like that, especially in the studio sessions. If you listen to the album Elements Part 1, theres a song on it called 'Find Your Own Voice' which he made Kotipelto sing live during their 2003 tour. Is he trying to kill the guy or what? He's also doing it with his new band Symfonia...pushing how high the note is like its to try and prove some kind of point. Cain's Offering is good because its taken a step back and feels controllable, without being painful.

Ohh, Elements, I remember those two. Those are the first Strato albums I've listened to, and I've listened to them for three hours straight to try and remember something, I was exhausted Yeah, we pretty much agree on Cain's Offering, it's better for Kotipelto's voice because Jani Liimatainen is not an asshole

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