Since 1989 Stratovarious have been one of a select few groups that truly define what it is to be a progressive metal outfit. Their earlier works are considered by many to be the definitive of the fore mentioned style and should be respected by all fans of the genre. 2009 shows the guys simply solidifying the fact that they are still very much alive and kicking.
Polaris is a great album and the Sci-Fi theme is used well as merely back drop for the music rather then over powering and/or watering down the metallic side of the music. Timo’s higher pitched vocals again shine through out the album and you’ll find yourself singing along to the very well written lyrics, in which have an obvious Sci-Fi theme as well.
As on similiar Stratovarious albums the leads take a focal point and soar above the rest of the band. New comer Matias Kupiainen shreds out some intense riffs and several amazing solo’s through out the course of the album, especially for someone whom just started playing guitar in 2005. The other focal point on Polaris would be Jens Johansson putting down some simply amazing (as usual) leads on Keyboards such as the epic and personal favorite “King Of Nothing”.
The music ranges in tempo from mid to fast paced Power Metal such as the rip roaring opener “Deep Unknown”. While songs such as “Winter Skies” slow things down with some very harmonic and beautiful melodies. All in all a wide range of emotions from the beginning to the end of Polaris and by far an extremely strong showing.
Many long time fans were probably fearful of the future of Stratovarious due to long time lead guitarist Timo Tolkki leaving the band in 2008 (I know I was). However as a fan whom has followed the bands career for quite some time I can honestly say the band sounds better then ever. As if the line up change and addition of two brand new members was a rejuvenation.
If you purchase the Limited Edition version you will get a so called bonus track but it is only a slightly different version of the opener. When it comes down to it I have to give this album five stars, it is amazing from beginning to end and in my eyes doesn’t have one weak point. Fans of the Power and Progressive Metal scene need to get their hands on this immediately as it is by far the strongest release in the genre in 2009 so far.
If this line up stick it out for more albums I fore see a great future for the band and can count on many more great releases as well as the usual amazing live show that they always perform. Fans of Stratovarious and the style of music they helped shape will enjoy this as much as I have. I truly hope that you enjoyed my review and hope that it encouraged you to purchase the album. Thank you for reading and if the review did interest you please take another second out of your time and click ‘Yes’ below. Thanks again.
-A Loyal Stratovarian