Before writing this review, I was over on Stratovarius's Facebook page reading comments about the first video, Shine In The Dark, from the forthcoming album Eternal. Cripes. It's been, like, eight years since Timo Tolkki bailed on the band and people are still whining about the end of an era. Don't these people realize the reformed Stratovarius have released three, soon to be four albums, since then. It's not an end of an era, but the perseverance of one the seminal and great Scandinavian power metal bands in the genres history.
All that's to say is that Stratovarius still delivers the goods. Eternal is more of their familiar, epic and bombastic, melodic power metal. Such standard fare, you say. Well. Yeah. This is what Stratovarius does best. Powerful riffs give way to soaring leads. Keyboards add both subtle and bombastic atmosphere, embellishing the riffs. Underneath, the rhythm section thunders and roars along with speed and precision. Power metal defined. And it hits you full force in the face at the start with My Eternal Dream. But there's also Few Are Those, Man In The Mirror or Feeding The Fire.
Alternatively, Stratovarius is adept at combining bombastic power with groove as with Rise Above It. They can also be more subdued, dialed back as it were. Both Lost Without A Trace and Fire In Your Eyes offer quieter moments amidst all the grandiose power metal. Both start softer, largely voice over guitar, yet eventually build to a crescendo, riffs larger, solos soaring. Conversely, the closing and longest song, The Last Saga, basically goes full tilt in accelerating heavy power metal, until the midpoint. Then Stratovarius slows up for lighter synths, which give way to a guitar solo. And then it builds again, mostly lead by the vocal arrangement buffeted by the heavy symphonic synths. The song is likely one the boldest forays into symphonic, nearly operatic, melodic metal. Like I said before, this power metal is typical of Stratovarius and it's what they do best. Expect nothing less.
Eternal is the epic and bombastic power metal typical of Stratovarius, and it's what they do best. Expect nothing less.
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