STRATOVARIUS – Survive (2022)
World-renowned Symphonic / pomp-power melodic metal legends STRATOVARIUS will release “Survive” next Friday, their first album in almost a decade. The band’s first full-length release since 2015’s Eternal, ”Survive” marks a continuation of two major themes that have been consistent with their music since the beginning: humanity’s future and the environment. With the current global situation surrounding climate change and the growing popularity of new forms of energy, this record and Stradivarius’s music is as relevant as ever.
A blistering comeback from one of metal’s most seminal bands, ”Survive” is full of dynamics and drama, feeding on a wide range of emotions along the way. Best exemplified by its profoundly rousing title track, ”Survive” is the Stratovarius spirit in exquisite musical form, with all the darkness and light that goes with it.
After the long gap between records, there’s no rust as Stratovarius aims to reclaim their position as one of metal’s elite acts. One thing that’s been the case for their entire career and remains evident on ”Survive” is that the band knows how to write catchy songs. The album is packed to the gills with giant hooks and singalong choruses.
Opening with the anthemic title track and the uplifting ‘Demand’, it’s clear the band are playing to their strengths on their sixteenth studio full-length, and this continues with the pneumatic drumming and classic Strato-chorus of ‘Broken’.
‘Firefly’ simply soars and ‘We Are Not Alone’ is driven by Euro-pop keyboards, chunky riffs and possesses another skilful solo from guitarist Matias Kupiainen.
Things slow down for the dramatic ‘Frozen in Time’, a powerful cut that brings out the very best in Kotipelto, the fifty-three year old singer still clearly at the top of his game. ‘World on Fire’ continues in that vein while the rousing ‘Glory Days’ could have been written during the band’s pomp in the mid-Nineties, a song with a welcome familiarity likely to bring a smile to many time-hardened faces.
Every Stratovarius album needs a quality power ballad and with its lilting orchestrations, ‘Breakaway’ fulfils that requirement perfectly while ‘Before the Fall’ employs choral vocals to make its point.
Another long standing power metal tradition is the epic final track, and at over eleven minutes in length, ‘Voice of Thunder’ is just that. Ranging from delicate notes to more strident and aggressive tones, Kotipelto, Kupiainen and Johansson are on point yet again, the heavier and proggier sections allowing bassist Lauri Porra and drummer Rolf Pilve time to shine as the song builds towards a suitably grand finale.
With its impressive songwriting and performances, ”Survive” feels like Stratovarius has never been away. The energy and enthusiasm are still there and the songs have hooks to match.
A triumphant comeback for one of the true leaders of the genre.
01 – Survive
02 – Demand
03 – Broken
04 – Firefly
05 – We Are Not Alone
06 – Frozen In Time
07 – World On Fire
08 – Glory Days
09 – Breakaway
10 – Before The Fall
11 – Voice Of Thunder
Timo Kotipelto – Vocals
Matias Kupiainen – Guitars
Lauri Porra – Bass
Jens Johansson – Keyboards
Rolf Pilve – Drums