I always get geeked when Stratovarius comes out with a new studio album, but unfortunately over the last several years each release has become an instant disappointment. The band has not had a solid release since Infinite in 2000. I mean not every album has been a complete bust because there have been some good moments over the past 13 years, but for some reason it seemed like they'd lost the magic with every other album becoming a classic up until Visions, when the 2 succeeding albums were also winners; they'd hit the elusive trifecta with three solid records in a row, a feat reserved for truly great bands. Unfortunately, after Infinite it was sketchy from there on out.
So after the departure of Timo Tolki in 2008 I thought the band was done. After all, how well can a band carry on when the guitarist - and primary songwriter - leaves? I believe the band suffered, but also probably felt a sense of relief with the departure of Tolki, and ultimately got back on track with the addition of guitarist Matias Kupiainen. Up to this point they've had trouble being able to re-capture the magic they once had as the band searched for their identity sans Tolki. There were signs on the last live release Under Flaming Winter Skies that the band was starting to develop a chemistry, but it wasn't until the latest studio release that we finally may have an heir apparent. When Matias joined the band his playing was a bit erratic, but now he has settled down and become a more tasteful guitarist. Check out the solo on Castles in the Air and you'll hear what I mean.
Nemesis shows the band truly returning to form bringing us the solid Stratovarius music that we fans have been craving. The new CD embodies all of the best elements of the band, mixing the new with the old and it just kills. The songs are melodic and powerful and make you believe in this band again. This one is destined to be a classic. So, go get it!
The Bottom Line: All killer, no filler. Stratovarius are finally back with a vengeance, proving that they are still one of the best bands out there today. This is easily the best release from the band in 13 years.
Standout Tracks: Castles in the Air, Halcyon Days, Unbreakable and One Must Fall
- Ragman thinks *this* is the album that should have followed Infinite...