One of the pillars of Finnish heavy music returns with a fantastic album of first-class Melodic Power Metal, proving they’re still standing strong after almost 40 years on the road.
At long last, after several years waiting for new material from the one and only Finnish Melodic Power Metal institution Stratovarius, the band has finally unleashed their new album, the excellent Survive, following up on their also great 2015 effort Eternal. Produced by the band’s own guitarist Matias Kupiainen, mixed also by Matias at 5 by 5 Studio and Estúdio Eiffel, mastered by Ermin Hamidovic at Systematic Productions, and displaying a classy artwork by Hungarian artist Gyula Havancsák, Survive has all elements we learned to love in the music by Stratovarius without sounding cheesy or outdated, showcasing vocalist Timo Kotipelto, guitarist Matias Kupiainen, keyboardinst Jens Johansson, bassist Lauri Porra and drummer Rolf Pilve on absolute fire from start to finish and, therefore, placing the album as one of the best of 2022 hands down.
Matias wastes no time and begin his riff attack in the title-track Survive, kicking off the album on a very high note while also displaying a fantastic vocal performance by Timo and the unstoppable Power Metal drums by Rolf, and more of their striking Melodic Power Metal comes in the form of Demand, presenting their always inspiring lyrics (“Feel the fury / And demonstrate the pain / Show them your anger and despair / Fear the future / For fighting is in vain / It comes for you, unbearable, unthinkable”); whereas the unrelenting Jens adds a touch of magic to the music in Broken, while Timo declaims the song’s powerful words flawlessly. Firefly, one of the first singles of the album, exhales classic Stratovarius with Lauri delivering sheer groove from his bass accompanied by the pounding beats by Rolf, and keeping the album at a very pleasant level of energy we have We Are Not Alone, where once again Matias and Jens are in absolute sync with their respective riffs and keys. Then in Frozen in Time we face a less “power” and more rhythmic, melodic tune by Stratovarius, presenting a great job done by Rolf on drums while overflowing intricacy and groove.
It’s then time for the first single of the album, the absolute banger World on Fire, where Timo is the one on fire with his soaring vocals while Matias delivers an amazing dosage of stamina through his riffs and solos; followed by Glory Days, where Timo beautifully sings the song’s powerful words (“We are the war / We are the storm / A lightning that lights up the sky / We are the wind / We are the rain / We are the howl in the night”) while the music is a fusion of the band’s past and present sound, feeling absolutely thrilling until the very last second. They tried to be more symphonic than usual in the power ballad Breakaway, which is not bad, but it lacks the same punch as the rest of the album; then raise your fists to the imposing Before the Fall, with its background vocals bringing even more electricity to the overall result while Matias kicks ass on the guitars and Rolf doesn’t stop crushing his drums. Lastly, get ready for 11 minutes of serene passages, melodic riffs and blasting drums as the icing on the cake with Voice of Thunder, where Jens takes the lead with his futuristic keys while his bandmates enfold us all in a Melodic Power Metal voyage, flowing smoothly and majestically until it’s classy finale.
Survive is available in all of its glory on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course you should purchase a copy of such amazing album by clicking HERE or HERE. The unparalleled Stratovarius, who are waiting for you on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, might have taken seven years to release a new album, but the wait was absolutely worth it as Survive not only brings forward everything we love in their music, but it also presents a band that’s sharper, tighter and more focused than ever, brilliantly surviving in a genre that’s considered oversaturated by most people. Are Stratovarius the best band to ever arise from Finland? In my humble opinion, yes, no doubt about that, but even the ones who don’t agree with me have to admit that they’re indeed one of the most solid bands of the current metal scene, and Survive is another clear example of how strong and relevant the band still is and will forever be.
Best moments of the album: Survive, Demand, World on Fire and Glory Days.
Worst moments of the album: Breakaway.
Released in 2022 earMusic
1. Survive 4:39
2. Demand 4:03
3. Broken 4:57
4. Firefly 3:38
5. We Are Not Alone 4:34
6. Frozen in Time 6:43
7. World on Fire 4:26
8. Glory Days 5:06
9. Breakaway 4:28
10. Before the Fall 4:15
11. Voice of Thunder 11:10
Timo Kotipelto – vocals
Matias Kupiainen – guitars
Jens Johansson – keyboards
Lauri Porra – bass
Rolf Pilve – drums
Ari Sievälä, Petri Aho, Hepa Waara, Mikko Herranen, Anssi Stenberg, Viljami Holopainen, Mikael Salo, Heikki Mäkäräinen, Antti Lappalainen & Jani Liimatainen – vocals (choirs)
Pingback: The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022 | THE HEADBANGING MOOSE