Home > *Music, Reviews > Stratovarius – Elysium: Review

Stratovarius – Elysium: Review

January 13, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

The power metal veterans Stratovarius are to release their latest album on January 14 (January 12 in Asia). It is their thirteenth full-length studio record and is entitled Elysium. Being in the scene for so long, one can either expect the band to be in their comfort zone or on the burnt-out declination. Though it is not as harsh as the words make it out to be, Elysium signifies the  “burnt-out declination” of Stratovarius.

The Music (rating: B-)

  1. Darkest Hours
  2. Under Flaming Skies
  3. Infernal Maze
  4. Fairness Justified
  5. The Game Never Ends
  6. Lifetime in a Moment
  7. Move the Mountain
  8. Event Horizon
  9. Elysium

Elysium follows a style quite loyal to the heavy-power metal genre. Such bands as Firewind and those of similar kin have many shared characteristics. The music in this album largely relies on powerful beats and heavy riffing to support the main focus: the vocals. They are sung powerfully and at higher pitches, which is to be expected from a band of this nature.

In fact, everything that is to be expected from a band of this nature is given, but little more than that. The sound is already so established, and Stratovarius does not push it any further in this release. Elysium turns out to be somewhat stale and generic. There are a few notable moments throughout the record, but the majority of it is passable. That is not to say it is a bad record, but it does not distinctly exceed standard. It has simply been done before, and at higher levels of creativity and musicality for the most part.

As a band, Stratovarius can be quite impressive in both the music and the instrumental end. It is clear even in Elysium. The problem is that more often than not, they shy away from their capabilities. Such songs as “Infernal Maze” display vocal prowess and wonderful phrasing. Other songs, like the opening track “Darkest Hours,” show Stratovarius molding themselves into the genre’s definition without an innovative or technical edge. It seems more frequently the case of the latter than the former with this record.

Elysium is not necessarily a bad album, but it is missing much of what is required to achieve greatness. It is rather unidentifiable by style, due to its extreme loyalty to the heavy-power metal genre. But it also does next to nothing on the innovative or instrumental side to become standout. What Elysium gives is a predictable – very possibly meaning boring – listen to music enjoyable by only the most faithful of power metal fans.

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  1. Rdc
    January 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    My friend, please, think in Stratovarius like Stratovarius not like old Tolkki’s band. Listen again the album, with your earphones, and forget about all pre-concept. Just let the music enter in your head.
    I know every music of Stratovarius, I have each album. I love Tolkki, Polaris is good but just good, but Elysium deserves more credits, it’s solid.
    “Elysium is not necessarily a bad album, but it is missing much of what is required to achieve greatness.” – I don’t agree with that but I respect your point of view. By the way, please listen deeply once, and perphaps you understand what I’m trying to say.
    Thanks for writting my friend.
    Cheers!

    • CJ
      January 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm

      As per requested, I listened to the album again (probably the third or fourth time total) sincerely hoping that you were right, but my initial opinion stands. There are a few moments dispersed throughout the record that impress me in many ways. Unfortunately, they are sparse, and there is not a single song in this record that leaves me yearning for another listen; only moments. The song structures are rather stale and repeated, and there is not much variety with Elysium to make it an self-sustainable album. Again, let me reiterate that this is not a bad album. I just found it to be much too generic and with insufficient substance to warrant a higher grading.

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. Eagleheart
    January 21, 2011 at 5:05 am

    Yes, Elysium might not be their best album, but IS the best stratoalbum since Elements, I would even dare to call it “Elements Part 3”. Darkest Hours is a song which strongly resembles Deep Unknown and other album openers, and it’s not bad… Under Flaming Skies is a very melodic piece which quickly enters one’s ears… Infernal Maze is a real little gem and the staple piece in the first half of the album… Fairness Justified and The Game Never Ends are tracks that didn’t really hold my attention at the second or third listening… Lifetime In A Moment is a nice little piece, very melodic and very eerie at moments, with a very creepy background music during the guitar solo… Move The Mountain is one of those typical stratoballads which are not bad, but not excelling at the same time… Event Horizon is a great upliftingly-paced and melodic thingie, can pass… But the real showstopper and breathtaker is the title song, which really holds my attention from the first to the last second… It’s by far the longest stratosong ever, but also one of the best and one of the most melodic n’ dramatic… Especially the Elysium Part 3, that part is the very best possible closing an album can have… So, to sum it up, globally I’d give the album a solid 7,5/10, but the title song deserves 10/10…

  3. Elysiumite
    June 9, 2011 at 4:04 am

    Yes, the first time I listened to the song Elysium with headphones I was blown away.
    Absolutely soul capturing, Epical, should be made into a Metal opera of sorts!
    I want that song played at my funeral!

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