Stratovarius – Elements Pt. 2 Review

Originally written by Gregory Bradley.

In this time of a serious drought for decent power metal here in the United States, I thank the metal gods for bringing this album upon me. While not the best, it is certainly a rock solid power metal album. From the get-go, “Alpha and Omega” starts of the disc in a driving, medium paced, stylish fashion. It immediately assured me that this album was going to be an improvement over the first part of this two album series. About half way through the album, another mid-pacer hits us in the form of “Awaken the Giant”, an equally great song. In agreement with Stratovarius’ already established high speed flower-power-metal style, this album includes a handful of super high speed twinkly songs; they’re really the reason why I got into the band in the first place. The combination of a lightspeed solo and/or some ultra-intricate harpsichord work and mind-bogglingly catchy refrain make for some excellent listening. Songs of this caliber on Elements Pt. 2 are manifested in the form of “I’m Still Alive”, “Know the Difference”, and “Dreamweaver”. These are the real standouts of any offering from Stratovarius. “Know the Difference” has a truly excellent harpsichord intro, and “Dreamweaver” has one of the catchiest riffs imaginable. Naturally with Stratovarius you’re gonna get some ballads. It’s in the contract you signed when you bought the album. Oddly enough, I actually enjoyed the ballads on here! While they’re no where near as good as a supersonic track, they actually did fit in the album, and didn’t come off as über cheesy. “Season of Faith’s Perfection” has some nice, eerily calm keyboards along with a decent chorus and a great outro. “Luminous” was a little to ‘cute’ for my tastes, but it’s still not as bad as some ballads I’ve heard in the past. The final track on the album, “Liberty” is probably the only song I didn’t like on the album. It sounds like a cross between something out of the South Park movie and a 80s power ballad. My main gripe is the fact that they chose to end the album with this song, leaving a bad taste in your mouth from an otherwise excellent album. My love-hate relationship with Stratovarius continues with Elements Pt. 2. While they have always impressed me with their awe-inspiring fast tracks, their slower, ballad type tracks continue to bog down their albums. With this album, it was thankfully kept to a minimum, but the ballads still made their presence painfully noticeable. Still, this album comes with my recommendation for the fan of power metal, the great tracks substantially overpower the weaker ones.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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