9.2.13

Stratovarius - Nemesis 2013

Stratovarius is unique among power metal bands. For some reason, they never really put out above the sky production, but every once and a while they did one single good song, that memorable for the rest of age and sufficient to call it as a landmark of the genre. Technically speaking, Stratovarius also never did a killer stuff that required grade-12 musical wizardry skill. In fact, Timmo Tolkki had been mr.Slow Hand in power metal for decades and nobody seems to complaint. So, what’s attractive on Stratovarius music then? Oh yes, the melody. This may be the single reason to listen to Stratovarius. Stratovarius seems able to built the most minimalist material into the most memorable choruses, using the most natural lyric theme, or even from the minimum one word song title as the theme. Then for a bigger portions of Strat years, Timo Kotipelto is their voices. Now Kotipelto is another phenomenon. His voice is unique in the way too melancholy, something like Michael Bolton singing Van Halen situation. But again, Stratovarius express themselves well with Kotipelto’s singing character. So, after 13 albums so far, finally the big story of Strat had come. The fourteenth album is on, called Nemesis and is a major changes as I listen carefully for so far. We all know that Timo Tolkki wasn’t around for about two albums prior. Then young talent Matias Kupiainen steps in. In Nemesis, it is sure he wasn’t thinking about wasting his talent doing “easy” stuff forever. Most of song in Nemesis are credited to Matias, and so that the new sounds come in.

Abandon starts with basic riff with epic scale orchestration. The chorus and backing vocals is good, giving the major effect of power and epic there. Soon we arrived in the duel solos between Matias and oh yes, Jens Johansson. How we remind to the wizardry skill of Jens and his keys. Unbreakable is typically one shoot fantastic song from them. This will be added to their collection of hits such as Hunting High and Low, Eagleheart, and so on. Stand My Ground manifest the new musical directions from Stratovarius. They are not very much in the neo classical mood anymore and Matias prove that power metal still got a lot of room in unexplored riff and licks. Halcyon Days gone thicker in symphonic feel with its background choruses effects. The chorus that resembling typically Stratovarius music but now polished with new musical style. The next song called Fantasy, how can this word haven’t used as a title? Okay there is Fantasia in Elements Part 1. This is the fifth straight good song, with a choruses that we hard to believed haven’t heard before. Fantasy credited to bassist Lauri Porra as song writer. The song also helped with melodious keyboard licks, something that used a lot in this album. Out Of the Fog is not yet the filler and keep the album pace well. Castles in the Air must be Jens Johansson altered ego in the album, talking about some awesome keyboard shred in there. Another one word title song , Dragons come with tasty keyboard riff as the intro. One Must Fall is probably the most generic aka. filler for this situation. If The Story Over come with new ally Jani Liimatainen providing acoustic guitar and also co write the song. Timo Kotipelto and Liimatainen had collaboration in music and produced Blackoustic as the background event of this song. The album finally closed with Nemesis. A good song, but it is hard to get the climax feel, especially since the whole album is too catchy to get the proper ending.

Stratovarius have their major breakthrough in Nemesis. When you got a straight five good songs in one album, you know this going to be their golden record. The key of success in Nemesis is simple. Stratovarius’ melodic power metal finally got the proper technically strong music arrangements. Matias Kupiainene is shinning really well and above the sky with this releases. To get the thing better, we got Jens Johansson finally unleashed his maximum potential, either in solos or in creating memorable motives to get the song even more memorable. Kotipelko also has his moment in singing with more aggressive attack. New drummer Rolf Pilve and bassist Lauri Porra will enjoy their new musical adventure and provided the needed rhythm section well. This is a surprise releases from Stratovarius, especially when we think they will never compete to a younger power metal band that has all the machine-like guitarist or drummer, Nemesis put it on the ground for hand to hand combat against that youngsters. A must have.

Metal Harem class: ********* nine stars out of ten

Stratovarius – Nemesis 2013
Buy it here

1. Abandon
2. Unbreakable
3. Stand My Ground
4. Halcyon Days
5. Fantasy
6. Out Of The Fog
7. Castles In The Air
8. Dragons
9. One Must Fall
10. If The Story Is Over
11. Nemesis


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