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Near the top of Mount Stratovarius - 97%

OSheaman, July 15th, 2003

Visions marks what is probably Stratovarius's most popular album and arguably their best work. I personally prefer Destiny with the bonus track, but this album is without a shadow of a doubt classic Stratovarius material.

You can really here how the five band members have gotten their shit together and worked together to make a really solid sound. Jörg Michael's drumming leads the way for dead-on timing with all the band members, and the strong beat gives Timo Tolkki and Jens Johansson the chance to do what they do best: play damn good music. Timo Kotipelto's vocals are great as always, and the sound of the band is mature enough to handle some of the experimentation with different styles that goes on here. Overall, though, we have some very good things going on.

Five more classics are added in this album: The Kiss of Judas, which is Stratovarius's thrashiest, most riff-laden song; Black Diamond, arguably the most well-known Stratovarius classic featuring a soaring chorus and a baroque-style keyboard opening; Forever Free, the first of the many Stratovarius songs featuring opening riffs so cool that it is absolutely impossible to fuck up the song (unless, of course, you're In Flames); Legions, a tribute to Stratovarius's fans that features another set of can-do-no-wrong opening riffs; and Holy Light, a blazing fast instrumental comparable to Stratosphere and, later, Stratofortress.

Another must-own Stratovarius masterpiece. Buy it and keep going, because we hit the best stuff next.