Few CDs, if any, have such a large percentage of songs on it that I love. You know that feeling? How many of your CDs do you spend most of your time listening to just waiting for your 2 favorite songs? I do that a lot. Not on this CD (or any of Stratovarius’s CD for that manner). The album is about 62 minutes long, also.
It is important for you to know that I own 12 Stratovarius CDs (Fright Night, T.T., D., Fourth Dimension, E., V., Visions of Europe, D., I., Intermission, Elements 1, and Elements 2), the DVD Infinite Visions, and a shirt for this band. Only one other band do I own more than 3 albums by. And that band is Nightwish. Needless to say, I enjoy Stratovarius a LOT. About 45 of my about 400 favorite songs are by Stratovarius – far more than by any other band. Off this album, those songs include Find Your Own Voice, Fantasia (fav. of the album), Papillon, Stratofortress, Elements, and A Drop in the Ocean. Get that? 2/3 of the songs! Sorry – I don’t find Eagleheart that great. Its also the least Strato-like song I think they’ve ever recorded, musically.
What most people hate about this album is what I love – orchestration, Timo’s wailing, 2 epics, and the instrumental Stratofortress. What I don’t like is the no double-bass songs. Well… at least `not enough’ of them. I know we’re never gonna get another Father Time since the band’s no more, but it would have been nice to have another song to be similar to that. It seems that the really fast songs were only on their older albums.
The funny thing with this album is the atmosphere. The cover art really does make you feel like you’re in the sky! Just give Elements or A Drop in the Ocean one listen and try to tell me different. The solos on Stratofortress also give that feeling. The whole album does, but it’s the strongest at the end of the album.
The albums “real” opener is Soul of a Vengabond, which I am not too fond of at the time. Find Your Own Voice is the closest to older Stratovarius you’ll hear on the album. Fantasia’s a lot like Mother Gaia and The Power of One in the sense that its like “what would our world be like if there were no wars or religion?” Learning to Fly is semi-filler to me, but Papillon is one heck of a powerful song. Its wicked slow, but in-your-face loud. Lots of wailing in that song, and in the title track. I recently looked at the lyrics to Elements (the song) closely – it looks like its simply a guy (Timo) asking “why are humans so selfish?” and such, and the answer he gets is 8 elements in 2 sets: wind, water, fire, earth, and then fear, anger, sorrow, joy. That song should give you chills, even though its not quite as good as it could have been. I’ve read that A Drop in the Ocean is Celestial Dream, Part II (from Infinite), but I’m not sure about that. They’re both drumless ballads, but I don’t see the relationship.
Seriously – for any fan of euro metal of any kind (or if you like Rammstein for the orchestration), you just gotta give this album a (2nd, in some situations) try. As a whole, this is my favorite Stratovarius album. Visions, Fourth Dimension, and Infinite are in a close 2nd. Then probably Twilight Time and Destiny. Episode and Elements 2 are next, and I don’t wanna go further than that.
I hope I helped you in deciding whether to or not purchase this (wonderful) album. If I helped, please say so! I have a lot of other reviews (and now, I have my own list here on amazon!), so read them when you get a chance. Type in “Tunnelvision” and you should get to the list.