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The follow up record to the 2009 album Polaris is pretty impressive. Elysium is already Stratovarius´ second album after founding member Timo Tolkki left the band in 2008. Already on Polaris it became clear that the band is pretty capable of coping with the loss and that they can be successful without Tolkki, too.
And so, just a few days after its release in Finland, Elysium easily replicated earlier success. The record went straight to the number two spot of the Finnish album charts. Maybe Tolkki´s departure is exactly the reason why the band manages to excel itself over and over again.
The first song starts not very promising, though. On Darkest Hour, Timo Kotipelto tries out a new vocal style, which, however, sounds a bit squeaking. But with the next song you will once again get the usual vocal power of Timo. Fairness Justified is then a welcome change after the first three fast songs – it´s a great composition with many background choir passages. Also Lifetime in a Moment is a rather quiet piece, which definitely needs to be mentioned here separately. The song stretches out on 6,5 minutes and it deserves every single second of it. With Move the Mountain you have the classical ballad on the album, too. A beautiful song that starts off with nothing more than an acoustic guitar. That´s how songs should be. Even if you don´t understand what Timo Kotipelto sings, there´s so much emotion in his voices that everyone will understand what the song is about. In my opinion, it´s THE absolute highlight of the whole album. The record ends with the 18-minute title track Elysium, which reflects the whole album once again, the quieter parts and the faster parts too. It´s almost filled to the brim with brilliant guitar riffs and solos.
Those who want to buy Elysium, will get that typical song power that you would expect from Stratovarius. Lots of changes and variability will make for a grand listening experience.