This is my favorite Stratovarius album. The band never sounded better. The writing is amazing and the vocals and guitar are mindblowing. This album sounds like a mix of Helloween, Dio, Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen, Rainbow, Queensryche and classic Stratovarius. This was the first Stratovarius album I bought and it blew my mind. This album made Stratovarius one of my all time favorite bands and made me go out and buy other Stratovarius albums.
1.The Kiss of Judas- 10/10 Amazing melodic opener. The opening keyboards and the intro riff are great. Kotipelto’s vocals are excellent and the lyrics are great. The chorus is excellent too. This song has a strong 80’s feel to it. The riff right before the solo is excellent too and the neo classical guitar and keyboard solos are excellent. Melodic metal at it’s best.
2.Black Diamond- 10/10 The keyboards sound great on this fast song. Kotipelto’s vocals are great and he does an excellent job of singing on such a fast song. The lyrics are excellent and Tolkii and Jens Johannsen’s keyboard and guitar trade offs are excellent. Another classic.
3.Forever Free- 10/10 An excellent fast paced song with an excellent guitar riff. Kotipelto’s vocals are excellent too. The lyrics are excellent too. Tolkii’s melodic shredding solo is excellent too.
4.Before the Winter- 10/10 The soft intro is amazing. Kotipelto’s vocals are great. This song shows off Kotipelto’s range too. This song has a real mideval feel to it. Kotipelto’s solo is amazing and it has a ton of feel and some excellent neo classical shredding. Another classic song and one of the best power ballads ever.
5.Legions- 10/10 Another classic song. the main riff sounds like Lightning Strikes by Ozzy and the neo classical guitar fill is awesome. Kotipelto’s vocals are amazing and the the drums are great. Great solo by Tolkii again.
6.The Abyss of Your Eyes- 10/10 An excellent progressive song with a lot of changes. There is a heavy part, a really heavy part and a soft part. Kotipelto’s vocals are amazing on this song. The keyboards work great and Timo Tolkii’s solo is incredible. Another classic song!
7.Holy Light- 10/10 A great instrumental with exceptional playing from Timo Tolkii. This is up there with yngwie’s instrumentals as far as neo classical instrumentals go. Very progressive and plenty of changes including a beautiful soft part.
8.Paradise- 8.5/10 Another good song. Timo Kotipelto’s quiet vocals sound like Bruce Dickinson. Probably the worst song on this album. I don’t why but the feel of the song just isnt’t that good. Kotipelto’s vocals are good but really not one of the better songs.
9.Coming Home- 10/10 Another amazing power ballad. The arrangement is incredible and Kotipelto’s soft vocals are amazing and when the song goes into the heavy part Kotipelto’s vocals soar! The lyrics are great and the solo is amazing and rivals any Yngwie Malmsteen solo. The solo has a ton of emotion and shredding.
10.Visions (Southern Cross)- Stratovarius’ best song ever! An epic over 10 minutes long! Rainbow has Stargazer, Iron Maiden has Hallowed Be Thy Name, Deep Purple has Child In Time and Stratovarius has Visions(Southern Cross). This is there big masterpeice. The lyrics are excellent and the riff is great. The drums and bass are amazing. The use of keyboards is great on this song too. Kotipelto’s first high high note is excellent but he belts out even higher notes later on! The demonic voice sounds great and the soft part of the song is incredible. Timo Tolkii’s solo has a lot of feel and fits the song perfect.The high note right before the solo is incredible and shows that Timo Kotipelto’s vocal range is over 4 octaves! An amazing epic that is one of the best songs of all time. Kotipelto’s ending note hold leads into a great voice telling a short story.
This album is a metal milestone and is up there with Rainbow Rising, Dio Magica, Iron Maiden Number Of The Beast ect. This album has everything mind blowing vocals and guitar, great songwriting, an awesome instrumental, slower rockers, fast songs, epics, ballads everything. Visions (Southern Cross) is one of the best songs ever. This is an album that any metal fan will love.
Timo Kotipelto- Vocals
Timo Tolkki- Guitar
Jorg Michael- Drums
Jari Kainulainen- Bass
Jens Johansson- Keyboards