Label: earMUSIC/Edel 2015
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom
The no-original members line-up of Stratovarius are still out there doing their Euro/Finn version of melodic/symphonic/pompous power metal. And they do it pretty darn good without ever pushing their limits nor breaking any boundaries. It's still pretty Eternal and the diverse sounding power-pop-metal record with plenty of wicked guitar/keys interludes and over the top harmonies.
It's borderline melancholia and all those choirs should be enough to dust off your old broadsword and shield and head off to your local battlefield. It's the sort of record that would do just fine in the background while playing Skyrim or any other Eldest Scroll for that matter. They've become more "pop" and melodic with the years and it's difficult to compare this with U.S. Power Metal. It's just not the same kind of structure or blunt approach. Sophisticated?
Kotipelto should however stay clear from singing R's as in Man In The Mirror. He's no Michael Monroe for sure and the heavy accent could spoil an otherwise great experience. Jens Johansson, the genius that could mimic all the things Yngwie Malmsteen did (and then some) in the past, take total control of the ebony/ivory and delivers yet another stunning set of keyboards throughout the album. Most of these songs show us a band who are fast outgrowing their own legacy and are now heading for a more mature playground with melancholia and pop as two of their toys. In my humble opinion, a tiny step in the wrong direction since last time around, but overall a rather enjoyable album worthy of your attention.