Saturday, September 19, 2015

Stratovarius - Eternal (2015)

If you are a fan of Finnish power metal, then 2015 has certainly been a mouth watering year for you. Not only has both Nightwish and Cain's Offering released great albums in "Endless Forms Most Beautiful" and "Stormcrow" , Amberian Dawn is about to release new material as well. But one of the most legendary of them all have also shown some new tunes this year. "Eternal" marks as the 15th studio effort from Stratovarius, a huge mile stone that many bands dreams of reaching, but only few does.

I was surely excited for this album since the band has done splendidly since Timo Tolkki left, doing better and better for each passing album. Even with my excitement, I still had concerns if the band could really match their 2013 release "Nemesis", or even the before mentioned "Stormcrow", in which Timo Kotipelto and Jens Johansson helped out on. And sure enough, "Eternal" is not an improvement over any of those two albums.

Do not get me wrong, "Eternal" is a excellent album that fits well amongst the other post-Tolkki albums, but I find it to be more of a normal power metal album with all of what you would expect. If you know the band and its discography, then you will not be surprised at all by "Eternal". It is definitely boring that it is the same old thing that is coming out through those speakers, but I can live with it as long as there is quality to it, and you know that Stratovarius has plenty of it.

The band certainly start out strong in "Eternal" with two classic Stratovarius pieces that will please the fans and be much appreciated when played live. Both "My Eternal Dream" and "Shine In The Dark" sets the bar for the rest of the album with their predictive, but effective structures and catchy melodies. "Few Are Those" stands out as well thanks to its grand chorus and really catchy riff, and "Man In The Mirror" has a hard edge to it that I enjoy. The band ends "Eternal" with the massive 10+ minute epic "The Lost Saga", a nice long song that ends the album in epic fashion. Stratovarius is not known for their long songs (especially since the humongous 18 minute long "Elysium" was not so successful), but this is a valid effort.

I generally like Stratovarius' last album "Nemesis" more than "Eternal" because it has more originality to it. "Eternal" just feels like "Stratovarius for dummies" because it has everything you would expect from the band. Still, the quality of the craft itself does make the album a pleasant experience, which just shows the experience the band has. Stratovarius does strengthen their position as Finland's premier export of excellent power metal, a position they have held in about 20 years. A good, solid effort, but if I would recommend a Finnish power metal album from 2015, I would still chose the Cain's Offering album "Stormcrow" over this one.

Songs worthy of recognition: My Eternal Dream, Shine In The Dark, Man In The Mirror

Rating: 7/10 Lost sagas

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