Stratovarius
Elements, Pt. 1


4.5
superb

Review

by Venpts16 USER (27 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2012 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Elements, Pt.1 is everything good about Stratovarius in a 61 minute package. Taking their grandiose and melodic style of power metal to the next level, it is no surprise that this is one of their best works yet.

Stratovarius is a very hit-or-miss power metal band. After creating their signature style on albums like Visions and Destiny, they have blazed into the power metal business with much success during the mid-1990s. Some loved the band for their more melodic brand of power metal, pushing the very boundaries of how grandiose and outrageous the genre can get. Others hated the band because of their clichéd nature, and how their material sometimes lacks any diversity. For both groups associated with Stratovarius, they should know that Elements, Pt. 1 is everything that made those mid-90s albums so great, but to the next level. Containing many longer songs, a higher presence of grandiose and melodic writing than some of their previous releases, and some of the most ridiculous choruses and solos the band has ever performed, this might be the epitome of their career.

The first element that stands out on this release is the much longer song length. Though the band has never shied away from longer songs, this release has only two songs below four minutes in length, and four at, or greater than, seven minutes in duration. As a result, fans of songs like “Visions (Southern Cross)” or “Infinity” will likely be joyous for this release. “Soul of a Vagabond,” “Elements” and “Fantasia” exemplify the creativity the band has had over the years, and are some of the greatest epics they have ever penned. Other songs have also been blessed with longer lengths, such as the fast-paced “Learning to Fly.” The song itself has a fairly simple structure, but its six minute length, and fantastic writing, allows it to stand out as one of the finest tracks the band has ever made.

Though the longer lengths have benefitted the majority of this album, Stratovarius still continues making a collection of shorter, and faster, power metal songs. “Find Your Own Voice” is just one example of Stratovarius playing at their most comfortable, even if the song is a bit shorter. This song continues in the normal style of power metal, featuring fast riffs and solos, double bass drumming, and grandiose choruses that are created entirely to sing along to. Though the style may be very simple, the songs in this style add a bit of variety in between the numerous longer epics of the album, fulfilling any fan’s hunger for Stratovarius’s older material. As a result, the combination of complex and simple writing allows the band to branch out with their sound; making this album one of their most unique releases.

As for the individual performances on Elements, Pt. 1, the members of Stratovarius have improved dramatically over the years. Each member is a virtuoso at their individual instrument; having stronger performances than many of their power metal contemporaries. Very few musicians can sing like Timo Kotipelto can in “Learning to Fly,” or shred like Timo Tolkki throughout the entire instrumental titled “Stratofortress.” Of course, this duo should not solely be given credit for the higher technical and melodic elements, as more credit should be given to keyboardist Jens Johansson on this release. Throughout the album, (including the ridiculous aforementioned instrumental) he creates solos that are as remarkable as even Mr. Tolkki’s; pushing the boundaries as to how far a keyboardist can work in a power metal album. Outside of solos, he also leads numerous of the songs on this release, like the melodic anthem “Eagleheart.” As for the instrumentalists Jorg Michael and Jari Kainulainen on drums and bass respectively, both perform their jobs as well as they should. So, as a result, expect a lot of double bass drumming and equally quick bass playing in the backgrounds; as Stratovarius uses these elements in numerous songs, like “Find Your Own Voice.” However, these men get more opportunities to branch out and take a break from the blistering playing, as “Papillon” and “Elements” all focus on lower intensity and tempo playing.

In closing, if you get one Stratovarius album, I would advise that this should be that album. Though this album lacks the constant intensity of albums like Destiny and Episode, I can attest to Elements, Pt. 1 being much more varied, grandiose, and unique in comparison. The album may be difficult to get through in one sitting thanks to its 61 minute length, but it is everything you could possibly want from Stratovarius. Comprising of overblown sing-along choruses, insane soloing on both the keyboards and guitars, and enough melodies and diversity to make many competing bands look bland in comparison, Stratovarius is at the top of their game with Elements, Pt.1.



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user ratings (125)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Poet
July 2nd 2012


5934 Comments


I have tried over and over again to get into this band but I honestly do not like them. Timo is an
overrated vocalist imo and his tone is quite irritating. However Jens Johansson is an absolute stud
and Eagleheart is one of the best power metal songs ever.

Good review btw.

Venpts16
July 2nd 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks! Stratovarius is really inconsistent in my opinion. I really enjoy some of their albums, like this one, Twilight Time, and Visions. However, I found that some of their most liked albums (Fourth Dimension, Destiny, Episode) are very boring.

FictionalFlames
July 2nd 2012


1516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review dude, pos'd.

@Poet listen to Infinite as a whole if you haven't yet. imo it's their best album and it might run up your ally, and Timo (in my opinion) isn't that irritating as a vocalist.

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
July 2nd 2012


4435 Comments


Yeah, really good review. I listened to this album a while back, it was okay, but maybe I should pick it up again. anyway, POS'd.

Venpts16
July 2nd 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks for the poses! I agree with Fictionalflames about Infinite, it is easily one of their best and has some incredible songs (Hunting High and Low and Millennium in particular).

FictionalFlames
July 2nd 2012


1516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

don't forget about A Million Light Years Away either, or Phoenix.

Da11thMytrillSphere
July 2nd 2012


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Fantasia, the self titled track, papillon rules hard.

Venpts16
July 2nd 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Learning to Fly, Eagleheart, and Find Your Own Voice also rule hard.

I can't believe I forgot those songs, Fictional! They also are awesome.

ZedO
July 3rd 2012


1096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I only heard "destiny" (which is so good). Is this album their best release so far? (in your opinion)

pos'd, nice to see you back reviewing...

Venpts16
July 3rd 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Destiny is an awesome song. I personally think that this is Stratovarius's best, though a lot of people really like Episode, Visions, and Destiny. You should definitely try this out if you like those three albums (and Infinity).

johnnydeking29
July 3rd 2012


9143 Comments


powa metuhl

Digging: Sonic Youth - Goo

ZedO
July 3rd 2012


1096 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

okay, thanks a lot brother

Da11thMytrillSphere
July 3rd 2012


546 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Since episode until elements pt 1 they were avesome, when they realeased elements part 2 the dowfall began.

jopower
July 3rd 2012


105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review. I haven't listened to the entire album yet, but Eagleheart and Stratofortress are great tracks.

jopower
July 3rd 2012


105 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Stratovarius has cool album covers.

Venpts16
July 3rd 2012


283 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I enjoy Visions's album cover the most out of their albums. They have some unique album art for most of their albums, though.

FictionalFlames
July 3rd 2012


1516 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

space power metalz

BirthRite
July 3rd 2012


1318 Comments


pos



Dreamflight
July 3rd 2012


1760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great and underrated album. Review was great too.

Hey Poet I don't like this band either, but this album is awsome.

Zyhaal
April 7th 2013


193 Comments


learning to fly is fucking awesome, but im struggling a bit with Timo's voice.



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