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With the release of Stratovarius's latest single, they've definitely gone in a new, unexpected direction. Gone is the lighthearted, meandering and progressive sound of Polaris and the slightly darker but still meandering sound of Elysium. Unbreakable is heavier, more straightforward, and more memorable, and really shows how the band has surpassed itself more and more as time goes on.
If I had to compare it to any previous single, I would definitely say it's comparable to Maniac Dance. Both songs don't feature keyboards much except for the intriguing intro, and are heavy-hitting compared to others such as I Walk To My Own Song or SOS. But where Maniac Dance marked the tensions and disintegration of the band, Unbreakable marks the unity and harmony of the new band and the new drummer Rolf Pilve.
Pilve himself has a more clear-cut pattern to his drumming than Michael did, and with the release of Nemesis we can explore it further and see if this will be good or bad for future releases. But as far as this song goes, he and Matias really take their time to shine, notably on the solo and the part right after.
As for the other four, they're interesting choices to put on the EP. "The Game Never Ends" was split from the bottom up; all the instrumentation that wasn't so noticeable before is now clarified and brought closer to the front (although still underneath everything else).
The biggest and most audible change has to be to "Freedom". A big problem I had with about 70% of Jari Kainulainen's work with Stratovarius is not actually being able to hear Jari Kainulainen. This remastery fixes that problem right up and now I know for a fact that there was a bassist in this song. Hopefully this means we'll get to hear more of Porra in the album, which is always a good thing.
All that aside, this is definitely heralding a strong release on Strat's part and I'm excited to hear the rest of the album!