Stratovarius
Eternal


3.0
good

Review

by Xenorazr USER (120 Reviews)
September 22nd, 2015 | 18 replies


Release Date: 2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Calm after the storm.

Power metal is a divisive beast. The genre draws as much praise as it does mock and scorn. Yet even power metal fans and purists can't always agree on what constitutes a good or bad album. This is more or less what happened following Stratovarius' 2013 effort, Nemesis. Many embraced the zealous album's nature, yet a vocal portion regarded it as a band straying even further from their roots. As one who initially viewed power metal and Nemesis through such a dismissive lens, I can confidently argue that the movements Stratovarius have taken as of late are subtle, especially compared to their peers (see Sonata Arctica and Nightwish). Furthermore, an album like Nemesis, despite featuring odd moments like the DJ-esque sequence in "Halcyon Days," was a necessary injection for the band to reestablish their once firm rule over the power metal kingdom. After a comfortable two-and-a-half year grasp, the Finnish outfit have bestowed us with another supply of melodies to nod and sing along to. That much is a given with Stratovarius. The real question, however, is how it moves the band forward (or doesn't).

A long-standing appeal of Stratovarius has been their ability to craft indulgently catchy tunes. They've always been supremely accessible, often thanks to the combination of light production, complementary guitars and keyboards, intelligible vocals and agreeable track length. And though these casual appeals can make the band seem like just that, any dedicated listener can tell you the music goes further than simple fun. Timo Kotipelto and company haven't even strayed from more ambitious material (see Elysium's title track and Eternal's own "The Lost Saga"), but they've always expressed a harmonious charm in their music. It's not just that the aforementioned aspects work, it's how they work when the pieces fall together. No matter the taster, Stratovarius is super sweet, but ongoing fans can attest to why that sweetness tastes so damn good. This is where Eternal comes in.

Rather than being a strict continuance from Nemesis, Eternal feels like a bit of a retread. This may suggest a sense of indecision and stagnation after the strides made from Elysium to Nemesis, but it's a logical decision. Stratovarius were already charging at full speed, to go further would make the band more prone towards speed metal. Certainly not the worst of concepts, but also far from the best. Eternal even preserves much of what made Nemesis such a reckoning force in the first place; the silky smooth production is intact, high octane moments ("Rise Above It" and "Feeding the Fire") still shout loud, chant-inducing choruses are in high supply, etc.

However, where Eternal reveals its differences is in how it chooses to incorporate these (and other) facets. This time we see more toned down tempos brought to light, with "Lost Without a Trace" being the most lax moment of the entire album. Similarly, "In My Line of Work" and "Shine in the Dark" effectively showcase the band on autopilot. The good news is that Stratovarius on autopilot is far more engaging than most bands, regardless of genre. And like I said, it's still effectively done. The not-as-good news is that we never get a sense of the band challenging themselves. Nemesis came at the exact time it needed to, unleashing what felt like a siege of sheer power (pun not intended) from start to finish. Eternal, by comparison, feels more like an album stuck between dimensions throughout Stratovarius' career. It's a far more defensive affair than its predecessor. Whether that's good or bad rests on whether you expected another potential game-changer.

If Eternal is an indication of what Stratovarius thinks is the best course of action, then whatever they bring us next will be a bit more retroactive. Nemesis' naysayers may find more to enjoy from Eternal, since there is a sense of longing to return to the olden days. Meanwhile, new and ongoing fans alike will be able to savor the new material with hardly a qualm. The music is still competent and more than a little enjoyable, it just doesn't drive the power metal nail deep enough to leave a more lasting impression.



Recent reviews by this author
Dream Theater Distance Over TimeAvantasia Moonglow
Swallow the Sun When a Shadow Is Forced into the LightSeventh Wonder Tiara
Shylmagoghnar TransienceAmorphis Queen of Time
user ratings (125)
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Gurzgri (4.5)
Boasting an accessible, but nevertheless refreshing approach to traditional Euro-Power, Eternal is a...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
September 22nd 2015


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Been going back and forth with this album. I do enjoy it, but also think it's a step backwards from Nemesis.

bloc
September 22nd 2015


70254 Comments


Wasn't digging this too much. Not a terrible album by any means, just a bit bland.

Xenorazr
September 22nd 2015


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I can see that view. I may be a bit biased, but like I said, the album doesn't make too strong of an impression. I still think it's fun though.

ksoflas
September 22nd 2015


1430 Comments


Excellent review, pos'd.
There's no Stratovarious without Timo Tolkki.

FlyheadMetal
September 23rd 2015


2422 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this band is fucking rules!

forefather12
September 23rd 2015


11 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

amazing album for me.one of the best after destiny !!!

well done stratovarius !!!

Xenorazr
September 23rd 2015


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Dang. This album flew way under the radar here.

Sabrutin
September 24th 2015


9724 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This is getting a lot of particularly positive reviews. I don't really understand why, but the album is cool. A bit too repetitive and simple in structure, but it has some great hooks. "Shine in the Dark" is definitely my favorite track here, "Few Are Those" is another highlight too for me.



It's also a bit funny how things got reversed, with Stratovarius now taking huge influence from Sonata Arctica. Opening track "My Eternal Dream" is basically built around the chorus of Sonata's "The Cage".



Pos'd btw

Xenorazr
September 28th 2015


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Thanks for the comment Sabrutin! I do agree that "Shine in the Dark" is my favorite track too, it's the one I keep coming back to, but I already feel I'm getting burnt out on it. I'm honestly surprised how many people seem to like it more than Nemesis, because that album still feels fresh to me while this one is already working its way into the shrug-aside folder. Not a bad album by any means, just not a very striking one.

Snowdog808
October 2nd 2015


2930 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I do enjoy it, but also think it's a step backwards from Nemesis. [2]

linguist2011
October 8th 2015


2656 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is still a very good album, but I can't help but feel if it's more of a step down in terms of quality from previous album Nemesis. I still like the bombast and find it to be a bit of a soft spot when I'm listening to this style of power metal, which Stratovarius always manage to pull off aplomb for the most part, but they've obviously done this much better in the past. The band reach the peake of their creative strength with the "The Lost Saga" in my opinion.

walfernu
October 12th 2015


102 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Somewhere after "Element part 1" I completely lost interest in Stratovarius. The power metal formula had worn me out. Yes, I've listened to a few songs of the following albums but nothing really hooked me back. Don't know exactly why but I decided to listen to "Eternal" in full and to my surprise I must say it's a great album. Not a comeback to "Episode", "Visions"... but there are hints here and there and way more inspired songs than in the previouos albums.

Xenorazr
November 14th 2015


1466 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Time hasn't been kind to this album. I still think there's enjoyment to find, but it's since fallen into the background for my music library. Other than "Shine in the Dark," I don't find myself listening to this. And that was the lead single. Doesn't really spell well for the entire album when that happens. Rating dropped to 3.0

Sabrutin
November 14th 2015


9724 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah album's too linear and samey to stand the test of time properly. Still some good fun though.

EcoChocolatacchi
August 23rd 2016


10 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Strato was my first band that you couldn't find on the radio, and i already forget they released this. First few tracks and The Lost Saga held this up from being terrible.

Meridiu5
June 13th 2022


4169 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I thought the mid was the best on this, even though its industrial, not classical power.



the first three are just pure cheese diarrhea.

pizzamachine
June 13th 2022


27258 Comments


It’s cool that this has instrument

Koris
Staff Reviewer
June 13th 2022


21181 Comments


@Meridiu: Unfortunately that's a problem I've always had with Stratovarius. They have all these cool semi-proggy power metal songs that are quite well-written, but then they shoot themselves in the foot with some really cheesy straightforward tracks that come off as lyrically lazy

That's also one of the reasons Dreamspace is my favorite record by them... the dark atmosphere is consistent throughout, and the album lacks a lot of the cheesy stuff that would mark their later work





You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2023 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy