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CD REVIEW: STRATOVARIUS – Best Of

| 8 August 2016 | Reply

CD REVIEW: STRATOVARIUS – Best Of
e-a-r music/Sony
20 May, 2016
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9/10

Stratovarius - Best of

A top ten band in their native Finland, and regular chart-botherers throughout Europe and Japan, Stratovarius remain cult favourites in Australia and America, much like a lot of Heavy Metal bands. Perhaps the mainstream music industry and radio don’t know what to do with a Scandinavian power metal band? Perhaps they hear the term ‘metal’ and assume we’re all church-burning, loincloth-sporting muscleheads whose To Do list every day starts with, “Offend everyone,” “Worship Satan,” and “Drink blood”?

These blinkered attitudes to metal are as widespread as they are ridiculous, especially when you consider a band such as Stratovarius. Hugely influential purveyors of clean-vocaled, super-melodic power metal, their songs explore fantasy themes and upbeat, positive tropes without a hint of negativity at all.

Take the opening song on this gloriously lavish double CD: Until The End Of Days. It’s a brand new song specially included here, and plays to all of the band’s multitude of strengths: catchy, heavy, epic, positive. It’s mighty.

The rest of the set is an epic two-and-a-half hour journey through the Stratovarius history book. The band have released sixteen studio albums, from their 1989 debut Fright Night through to last year’s Eternal, and cuts from all are included here, apart from that debut.

Interestingly, Stratovarius are nearly unique in that 35 years after forming, they contain no founding members. Current band leader Timo Kopipelto has seniority, having joined in 1995.

Thus, this not-so-little history lesson takes us through not only different eras of the band, but different players and styles. Though the band’s output has always been ‘Heavy Metal’, the intensity and polish and songwriting and playing styles do change from album to album. Fully remastered by long-time band collaborator Mika Jussila of Finnvox Studios, this Best Of provides a coherent journey through the truly impressive career of one of metal’s brightest lights. There’s also a 3-disc version with their entire Wacken 2015 set included.

Category: CD Reviews

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