earMUSIC [Release date 11.09.15]
Amazingly this is the band’s sixteenth studio album and they have been around since the mid-80′s, although the present line-up has no original members. Vocalist Timo Kotipelto has also been busy with Cain’s Offering who released their latest album, ‘Stormcrow’ this year.
With a Stratovarius album you know what you are getting, an upbeat mix of power and prog metal. Jens Johansson unleashes plenty of keyboard flourishes, including on the lead song and one with the biggest chorus, ‘Shine In The Dark’. This song is the band at their best, along with the album’s epic ‘Lost Saga’. ‘Lost Saga’ has it all from the the choral opening through to the pomp/classical finale and plenty of guitar/keys interplay throughout. It also marks a vocal tour de force from Timo Kotipelto.
Most songs on here you can imagine the band adding to their live set as it is sing-along choruses ahoy on ‘Rise Above It’ and ‘Feeding The Fire’. Being picky, a few more instant hooks/melodies could have lifted a couple of songs into the ‘must hear’ bracket. They need to keep their eye on the ball as it is a very crowded market out there in power metal land.
This is a classic Stratovarius album, one to please the fans and they are very good at the style of music they play. ***1/2
Review by Jason Ritchie
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