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Little bit of progression - 68%

ThePKH, February 26th, 2003

Infinite is my least favourite Stratovarius album. I wasn't pleased with the happiness of that album, Stratovarius isn't any sadgothboy music but it's not happy happy Helloween either.
So it wasn't really an impossible job for Stratoboys to top Infinite. Suprisingly Elements pt.1 tops Infinite and even suprises me a little bit.

As for the song-material; There are again these basic Stratovarius songs on the album. Fast, melodic, catchy chorus, highspeed solos, quite boring after the first listen. Eagleheart is the the obvious single song and awfully similar to S.O.S from Destiny and Hunting High and Low from Infinite. Find Your Own Voice and Learning to Fly are faster than Eagleheart and remind me of the earlier fast Stratovarius songs (suprise!). There is an instrumental song on the album, which is nothing special. If you have heard the Stratovarius instrumentals from the older albums you will know what to get. Last song A Drop In the Ocean is the ballad of the album (every power metal album must have one). All the tracks I mentioned are quite basic Stratovarius stuff. Fine in the right mood but basicly quite boring.
Leaves us four tracks which would alone make a fine album (runtime would be only 36:06 though ;) ). Soul of a Vagabond reminds me of Metallica's S/M, but in a good way. The orchestrations sound pasted just like the ones on that Metallica album, but it works fine here. Fantasia is a good more progressive Stratovarius song having all kinds of parts from fast to mid-tempo and slow. Papillon is kind of a half-ballad, it's one of the better songs on the album but not too special compared to for example Seasons of Change from Episode. The title track Elements is a good epic with choirs not too common for Stratovarius. Rhapsody would perhaps do this kind of song (with might and magic-lyrics though ;) ). Very pompous. Elements is along with Soul of a Vagabond the best song on the album and are close to the quality Stratovarius songs used to have in the past.

The sounds are clean like they should be on this kind of power metal albums and band plays fine as always. I have to give an honourable mention to Jari Kainulainen's bass-playing and the orchestrations. Timo Kotipelto gets more annoying with every Stratovarius album in my opinion. Perhaps he sings too high, this music would work just well with lower vocals. And that accent...

Elements pt.1 kinda gives the quality of Strato-albums a little lift but for a Strato-newbie I would recommend Visions or Episode. Diehard fans already know what they get. A decent power metal album from one of the bigger names in the genre.