STRATOSPHERE (Goran Edman) – Fire Flight (2010)

STRATOSPHERE Goran Edman Fire Flight

There is definitely something in the water over in Gothenburg, Sweden, that encourages the creation of good music.
Masterminded by well-respected keyboardist Jeppe Lund, STRATOSPHERE blends elements of neoclassical style together with a huge dose of classy melodic hard rock to come up with a tight and polished sound that is sure to impress anyone who likes this genre.
Fronted by the familiar and distinctive voice of Goran Edman (Malmsteen, Street Talk, John Norum), Stratosphere makes classically influenced metal that is not overly pretentious or highbrow and is easily accessible to the casual listener.
The music from start to finish is dominated by vocals, guitar and keyboards, and each song is well crafted and performed.
The engineering is crisp and clear giving the entire album a pristine and unified sound no matter the intensity or musical arrangement.

Goran Edman’s vocals are solid as usual whether singing softly or pushing the limits of his range. He gets to sing with varying levels of intensity across a broad range of rock styles and handles everything well.
Guitarist Jonas Larsen is a fine guitar player, he can lay down wonderful Malmsteen-esque classical fills, and just as easily blast out some super heavy lines. He is a fine soloist and is not hung up on playing “fast” and adjusts his style to suit the music.
Jeppe Lund’s keyboard work is awesome without doubt. His job is a solid counterpoint to Larsen’s guitars and is as important to the overall feel and structure of the music as any other member of the band.

“Russian Summer” opens the disc and sets the tone for the balance of the album. The keys dominate the intro while the guitars lay down a simple but hooky rhythm line. Once Edman’s vocals kick in there is no doubt that this is scandinavian hard rock.
“The Battle Within” is a high-energy track with a very classical feel that provides an introspective look at a soldier’s post-duty life and the problems he may face.
The intro to “Enemy Of My Soul” is a quiet and haunting symphonic passage that breaks out into a huge vocal chorus.
The band switches to a melodic hard rock style when they visit the “Streets Of Moscow”, a shining commercial tune where Edman’s vocals are particularly strong and expressive.
The instrumental “Rendezvous” gives Edman a breather and lets the other guys really show their chops. It is very classical and very intense, allowing everyone to blend together in layer upon layer of music.

“Shining Star” opens the second half of the disc. It is a very arena friendly melodic AOR love song, with Edman at his best throughout, and Larsen laying down some great guitar fills. One of the best tracks of the album.
“China Girl” has a ‘catchy pop metal’ feel to it, in the vein of Malmsteen’s ‘Eclipse’ material. Good stuff.
“Princess Of The Night” is a very soft ballad built around the vocals but featuring amazing guitar and keyboard teamwork underneath it all.
“VIP” starts off light and melodic, but quickly becomes a very gritty song that paints a less that flattering look at the ‘celebrity’ lifestyle and gives Goran a chance to growl a little.
The sweeping instrumental “Fire Flight” wraps the album in fine style – big keyboards, soaring guitar riffs, great bass and drum rhythm lines, and is musically the strongest track on the release.

“Fire Flight” should be on the “must have” list of every commercial neoclassical fan.
The big hooks and catchy rhythms will easily appeal to any melodic hard rock fan as well, and will be instantly familiar to anyone who has ever listened to Yngwie ‘Eclipse’ / “Fire & Ice” albums.
The quality of performance, great teamwork, good production and overall enthusiasm make Stratosphere’s debut a solid and entertaining album.

1. Russian Summer
2. The Battle Within
3. Enemy Of My Soul
4. Streets Of Moscow
5. Rendezvous
6. Shining Star
7. China Girl
8. Princess Of The Night
9. VIP
10. Fire Flight

Goran Edman (vocals)
Jeppe Lund (keyboards)
Jonas Larsen (guitar)
Anders Borre Mathiesen (bass)
Jim McCarty (drums)

Mixed and Mastered by Martin Kronlund at JM Recording Studio’s Gothenburg, Sweden.


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