September 28, 2022

Stratovarius – Survive Review – Your Online Magazine for Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

Label: earMUSIC

Release date: September 23, 2022

Genre: Power Metal

Connections: http://stratovarius.com/

Line up:

Timo Kotipelto – vocals

Matias Kupiainen – Guitars

Lauri Porra – Bass

Jens Johansson – Keyboards

Rolf Pilve – Drums

List of tracks:

1. Survive

2. Application

3. Broken

4. Firefly

5. We are not alone

6. Frozen in time

7. World on Fire

8. Glory Days

9. Breakaway

10. Before the fall

11. Voice of Thunder

It’s been a busy two years as a power metal fan, with many of my favorite bands from the genre releasing new albums. This trend continues, with Finnish power metal pioneers Stratovarius set to release their highly anticipated 16th album, Survive, next week. As the huge power metal fan that I am, Stratovarius are the band that introduced me to the genre in the mid/late 2000s, so I’m always very excited to hear new music from them. . Survive is their first album since 2015’s Eternal, although they’ve released a compilation with a few new tracks between albums. Coming off of Nemesis, which was one of my personal favorites of the band, I found Eternal to be fairly ordinary by Stratovarius standards: that is, it was still a great album, but it didn’t bother me. was not blown away. After several listens, I can say that even if Survive doesn’t quite crack my top three favorite albums of the band, it’s very close, and it’s top of the range!

Despite the long gap between albums, very little has changed here, with the lineup remaining the same, and the overall sound fully in line with what fans have come to expect from the band. Like Eternal, there’s plenty of high-energy, fast-paced power metal here, with perhaps a bit more emphasis on the bulky guitar work of Matias Kupiainen, who does a fantastic job as always. As with any Stratovarius album, however, Timo Kotipelto’s emotional and ever-sweet vocals and Jens Johansson’s flashy keyboards are just as important as the guitar work, if not more so, and the talents of both men are once again on full display. . The production is top-notch as always, with everything looking perfect, and obviously the performance is flawless across the board.

One area where I found Eternal to not quite top was songwriting. There were no massive misses or anything, but I found that overall there were no real surprises, and the majority of the tracks were very good, just not as memorable or impressive as the band can be at its best. While I wouldn’t necessarily say Survive does anything too shocking or innovative over its predecessor, I do think the songwriting is a bit stronger overall, with all the songs being great, and even though I found the slower tracks, in particular, to be a little lackluster on Eternal, that’s certainly not the case here, with the likes of “Broken” and “Breakaway” being among my favorites on the album. For the most part, Survive is a bit heavier than many of the band’s other recent albums, with some of the faster tracks such as the title track, “Demand” and “Before the Fall” in particular being quite heavy, but there are still plenty of more melodic, keyboard-driven tracks to be found here too, and they’re all great, plus a great ballad (the previously mentioned “Breakaway”), and of course an epic slow build closer. Overall, the songs are quite varied as usual, so fans of the many different aspects of the band’s sound are sure to find something to excite them.

At the start of the album is the title track (which was also the first single), and it’s an absolute bang! Opening with heavy, modern riffs with a melo-death sound, it moves along at a fast pace, with a good mix of heavy guitars and light touches, and of course Kotipelto does a great job as always, particularly brilliant on a chorus. very strong . It’s the kind of simple, super catchy opener that the band excels at, while giving the guitar work a bit more punch, to help take it to a whole new level. Next is “Demand”, another high octane track, which keeps the momentum going. This track alternates between more modern-sounding heavy guitar parts, as well as very classic Stratovarius-sounding parts, where the keyboards especially have a nostalgic feel. It’s another fast-paced track throughout, with a great chorus and a fantastic keyboard solo in the second half.

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The pace drops slightly with “Broken”, a more mid-paced, keyboard-driven track, with bulkier guitar riffs, to accompany nice bouncy keys. It’s a bit more relaxed track compared to the first two, but it also has a pretty epic feel to it, with elements that come together nicely, mixed in with light symphonic elements. The chorus is particularly fantastic, being a bit more laid back, but with all the different instruments coming together perfectly for a very epic feel, while the vocals and lyrics are particularly fantastic. Then comes the third single “Firefly”, another more melodic track, with a little more sober guitar work. It moves at a relaxed pace throughout the verses, not too fast but quite upbeat, and it has wonderful melodies throughout, with the chorus being particularly instantly infectious and super catchy. The instrumental section towards the end is the best part, with the pace picking up considerably, but it’s a great track overall, and one of my favorites on the album.

Next is ‘We Are Not Alone’, another fast-paced track with a heavy emphasis on very catchy and futuristic keys. The guitar work is very melodic on the track, and the chorus is once again very fun and catchy, with Kotipelto doing a fantastic job as always. The slightly longer first track on the album is “Frozen in Time”, a very epic, more mid-paced track, with very strong symphonic elements, to accompany a heavy emphasis on the keyboards. The guitar work is heavy in bursts, especially during the verses, but the symphonic elements, vocals and keyboards are the main highlights here, to help give the track a very epic feel, with an excellent chorus and a very epic, extended instrumental section that closes the piece. I didn’t like the track too much at first, but over time it grew on me a lot, and I now think it’s a great track overall. The second pre-release single is “World on Fire”, another more upbeat track, with a modern sound, nicely blending heavy guitar work and bouncy keys. I don’t find it as impressive as the other two singles, but it’s still a great song, with a really fun chorus, and some great vocal melodies.

Perhaps the most classic sounding song on the album is “Glory Days”, which is aptly named, with excellent riffs and melodic guitar work, combined with excellent keys, furious drums and a fantastic vocal work to help recreate the glory days of 90s Stratovarius, as well as classic European power metal in general. Fans of the band’s previous albums in particular will definitely love this track, and it’s one of my favorites. The only ballad on the album is “Breakaway”, which begins with very light guitar work and vocals throughout the opening verse before the epic symphonic arrangements start to kick in. It’s a very nice track overall, with a fantastic chorus, a very strong performance by Kotipelto, and great lyrics. The band have always excelled in ballads, so it’s no surprise to say that this is one of the best tracks on the album.

A quick final track is “Before the Fall,” which adds epic choral vocals, along with an increase in symphonic elements, to accompany the usual heavy guitars and luscious keyboards. It’s a very fast and fun track, with an epic and very catchy chorus. The album’s close is “Voice of Thunder”, a slow-building 11-minute epic, which remains at a fairly relaxed pace throughout, but unlike Eternal’s closing track, which I found a little meandering and unsatisfying overall, this track hooks the listener from the start and never lets up, with plenty of great moments throughout. I wouldn’t quite put it up there with the band’s best epic tracks, such as “Anthem of the World”, “Destiny” or “Elysium”, but it’s a great track, with lots of awesome instrumental sections , as well as a strong choir, and that closes the album quite well.

It’s been a long wait for Stratovarius fans, but in the end, “Survive” is worth it, continuing to build on the band’s legacy as one of metal’s oldest and most successful bands. most powerful in the world. Long-time fans should find plenty to enjoy here, as it has everything they could expect from the band and more, while newcomers to the band looking for top-notch power metal would be well-advised to start. by this album, to get a good idea of ​​what the band looks like in top form.

Rating: 9/10

Written by: travis green

My overall mind – Personal editor

Travis Green is a Canadian writer for My Global Mind, with a particular passion for power metal, as well as an interest in metal in all its forms.

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