Rating: 80/100

Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen, July '05
Label: Mayan / Sanctuary Records
Style: Power Metal


After a few years with all sorts of turmoil in the Stratovarius camp, they return - a thing not many fans could even hope for at one moment - with their 11th studio album, simply entitled: "Stratovarius". And they return with the same line-up, which recorded the recent albums, another thing many wouldn't have thought! However Jari Kainulainen has left the band after they had completed the recording of this album. So they return as strong as ever with a proven line-up, but has the few years of frustration had any impact on the music?

Yes, to some degree it has. You still get your traditional Stratovarius head bangers, epic songs and ballads, but for some strange reason the album starts off with a very simple and actually bad song, which also happens to be the first single; "Maniac Dance" - one of the weakest songs they've written in a very long time, second song "Fight!!!" is only a fraction better, so the album kicks off in the worst way!

But no worries - because the rest of the album has all the qualities fans love in Stratovarius! 7 very good to excellent songs from the pen of Timo Tolkki & co. And with "The Land of Ice and Snow" they've written perhaps the best ballad in their entire career!

Good to have Stratovarius back in full strength, and I am sure fans will forgive the hick-ups in the beginning of this album, so I suggest you get this album as soon as possible, put it in you CD-player, skip the first 2 songs and press play!

Recommended tracks: Songs 3 to 9!