Stratovarius - Elements Part 2
Nuclear Blast
Melodic Power / Speed Metal
9 songs (50'37)
Release year: 2003
Stratovarius, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Marty
Album of the month
Elements Part 1 released earlier this year saw Stratovarius moving away from the traditional speedy melodic power metal that they have become so well known for in favor of a more epic, orchestrated and slower paced overall sound. Sure there were still a couple of speedy numbers on that album, but epics such as Soul Of A Vagabond, Fantasia and Elements showed the band experimenting with a more of a progressive yet still very melodic sound with an overall lighter feel and not really in the power metal vein at all. The album got mixed reviews and although many fans gave it a chance and eventually liked it, others were quick to dismiss it as a substandard Stratovarius album. Those who were somewhat disappointed with Elements Part 1 should find salvation with the follow-up, appropriately titled, Elements Part 2.

The opening track, Alpha And Omega sees the band continuing in the same vein as the Part 1 album with a slow and pounding heavy track that is a great mix of quieter and heavy parts and serves as a sermon by God (or any other divine creator) reassuring us as humans that not only is he the creator but can also be the destroyer as well if we don't clean up our act as far as inhumanity to others and our catastrophic effects on the environment; a decent song that manages to slowly build up the drama for the rest of the album. Any traces of similarities to Elements Part 1 disappear with the next 2 tracks, Walk To My Own Song (the first single from the album) and I'm Still Alive. Both are classic speedy power metal tracks with great catchy riffs, great vocals and soaring choruses and I'm Still Alive may very well be one of the best songs I've heard from them in many years. Season Of Faith's Perfection is one of several big epic power ballads on this album and is a great mix of synthesizer and acoustic guitar for the quieter sections and big blasting riffs for the heavier parts. Reminding me a bit of Before The Winter from the Visions album, the great soaring vocals by Timo Kotipelto make this solid epic power ballad as good as any that they have ever done before. Awaken The Giant is a slower pounding heavy track with a very Black Sabbath style of guitar riff throughout. Weird vocal effects give the song a bit of a different feel than ever but it's consistency with the riffing and a great chorus result in one excellent tune. The band returns to the glory days when they played more of a speedy neo-classical style with Know The Difference, a tune that opens with speedy guitar and harpsichord arpeggios and great speedy double bass drumming. Another big soaring chorus and solid performance by Timo create another monster track. The band slows things down and gets very reflective and philosophical with Luminous a big and rich sounding ballad that has heavier sections and examines the sometimes inhumane way we as humans treat each other even though down to our biological make up, we're all the same. Dreamweaver with it's big heavy intro quickly kicks into gear for yet another solid Stratovarius track that has some of the best vocal performances on the album and is an instant classic. The album ends with another huge power ballad that again proves just how good this band is at doing those sorts of songs. This is Stratovarius at it's finest as far as the power ballad goes. A great opening vocal by Timo with piano, the song builds and slowly gets heavier and Timo sings his heart out on this one. A great soaring song that brings a sense of "closure" to the Elements saga.

I have to question putting Alpha And Omega as the opening track. Although I see the relevance as far as the lyrical content, it really is one of the weaker songs on the album. Once that song is over, we are treated to one of the best Stratovarius albums to come out in many years and overall, it has the melody, power and heaviness of the Visions album. Stratovarius hasn't sounded this heavy and so "complete" in quite a while. All the songs whether they're speedy power metal or power ballads are extremely well written and all have such a sense of completeness to them. Timo Kotipelto's voice is amazing on this album. I criticized some of his singing on the last album for sounding very strained at times but that just isn't the case with this album. Overall, a great yet diverse Stratovarius album that should please the fans, especially those looking for the band to release another album along the lines of the classic Visions album. This one is about as close as you're going to get.

Killing Songs :
Almost all of them but especially Walk To My Own Song, I'm Still Alive, Awaken The Giant, Know The Difference and Dreamweaver
Marty quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Stratovarius that we have reviewed:
Stratovarius - Dreamspace reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Stratovarius - Nemesis reviewed by Chris and quoted 97 / 100
Stratovarius - Elysium reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
Stratovarius - Polaris reviewed by Marty and quoted 85 / 100
Stratovarius - Stratovarius reviewed by Jeff and quoted 75 / 100
To see all 14 reviews click here
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