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Album Review: Stratovarius – Survive

Artist: Stratovarius
Album: Survive
Release Date: 23/09/2022
Label: earMusic
Reviewer: Mert Tyson

The European melodic metal masters Stratovarius are back with a new album “Survive”

From the opening track you know this is going to be something special creative hooks and turns everywhere with that classic melody that Stratovarius are known for. The guitar sound is outstanding along with a strong backline mixed with those immersive harmonic vocals. All enhanced by a fast and furious symphonic and orchestral driven masterclass in production.

This is the 16th studio album from the band and the lineup is pure genius with the amazing Timo Kotipelto once again proving that he is one of the world best vocalists and this album is no exception highlighting his many abilities throughout the record. The band backs up with the brilliance of Jens Johansson keyboardist influenced heavily by classic rock artists such as John Lord, moonlighting with Richie Blackmores Rainbow.

The backline is supported by the genius of Lauri Porra who in his own right has composed and written numerous musical scores that is heard throughout the record. Drums are staffed by the incredible Rolf Pilve who adds another dimension to this massive power metal five piece, his style and versatility shining and cutting though with every track on the record.  

Matias Kupiainen is an expert on the guitar. Matias a renowned record producer and songwriter in his own right brings everything together not only producing the record but showcasing a dazzling and spectacular representation and lesson on how to fucking play!   

So, as you can tell this band is a European powerhouse that really know what they are doing, they create music unlike any other. This album is a pure melodic feast for the listener, fans of power metal and especially the big hitters in the European scene will not be disappointed!

The opening track “Survive” demonstrates an absolute extravaganza of talent, proficiency, and artistic craftsmanship I remember from the glorious 80s and 90’s when the heavy hitters of power metal were king. The production along with the orchestral prowess and lyrical wizardry is sheer listening indulgence. You know you are going on a journey. A beautiful composition of what this style of metal can produce. Epic vocal harmonies and technical precision at its finest.

“Demand” hits the right notes with its melodic charm and elegance with the outstanding vocals of Timo Kotipelto and the duelling guitar maestro dominating and commanding the glorious metal riff.  

“Broken” yet again creates a masterclass of shredding with a fast and furious progressive melody. The chorus is another beautiful anthem with incredible vocals that are second to none and now I remember the beauty and fascination with Stratovarius I once had! The lead is impeccable with rhythmic genius every step of the way Matias truly shines!  The atmosphere of this song is simply breath taking.

“Firefly” Opens with another blistering guitar show coupled with another big chorus. The huge sound of Rolf and Lauri hit hard showing that they are truly Intune with each other supplying such a tight backline sound that resonates throughout this track.  

“We Are Not Alone” really highlights the sound of Stratovarius that may invite new listeners and appeal to long time fans. This is a very melodic and more metal song, bringing beautiful melody, harmony, rhythm, and symphonic undertones. A standout on the album for me. This is what makes Stratovarius so incredibly special.

“Frozen In Time” slows it down ever so slightly bringing out those beautiful harmonies yet again with that sound, that sound of what is Europe and this style of music. One cannot explain the pure listening pleasure, elegance, and beauty of symphonic metal.

“World On Fire” is the first video from the album and is a metal classic encapsulating that progressive style yet again. Lyrical genius sums up the world we are living in with songwriting genius and superior musicianship. Big harmonies in the chorus that are synonymous with Stratovarius, killer guitars, keyboards, and formidable bass/drum combo.

Timo introduces “Glory Days” with another virtuoso extravaganza. Echoing again the undertones of those might bands of the era. A fine example of what Power Metal is!

“Breakaway” is the slower track on the album, beautiful haunting vocals that really show the amazing range of Timo. Accompanied by the most beautiful acoustic melodies. This song again enhances the monumental and spectacular chorus! The keyboard and artistry of Jens Johansson really shines in this song, his neoclassical and fusion influences bring this wonderful moment in time together and is a pure highlight.

The big chants of “Before the Fall” continue to quantify this consistent masterpiece of an album. A highlight Is the production yet again. Matias has done an outstanding job on each track that really brings that special sound to the album.

The final track “Voice Of Thunder” ends our journey with those classical overtones combined with vocal harmonies where the space can truly enchant the listener. The Thunder comes with a powerful and captivating chorus perfected and strengthened by unparalleled musicianship yet again. This is an epic 11-minute anthem of a song and a fine way to end such an amazing album.

I have been very privileged to have the opportunity to review this masterpiece and I can only suggest that you relive those glory days and purchase this beautiful creation on vinyl, take the time to sit back enjoy the beautiful artwork, read the lyrics and immerse yourself in what is a truly extraordinary album.


Hear2Zen Magazine
Hear2Zen is a "Non Genre Specific" publication that celebrates all things sensory.

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