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Visions of what they used to be - 91%

arkbath, April 16th, 2005

I know that maybe the good times of this band are far away but instead of complain fan should remember the good tunes these guys brought us some years ago. Since the addition of Kotipelto to their line up in the Fourth Dimension album, Stratovarius was going up reaching their highest point between the Destiny and the Infinite albums. In my opinion Episode is their best, and Visions is good enough to start from where Episode left off. Stratovarius will be one of the best power metal bands in the world just for a couple of excellent albums they recorded… and Visions is one of these albums.

The Kiss of Judas is a strange way to start a Stratovarius album: mid paced tempo and no melodic main riff, but that doesn’t matters, is a strong song and one of the Strato-Classics. Maybe Black Diamond is one of the best songs from Visions and from the entire entire Stratovarius career; it follows the line from the Episode album because of the main keyboard melody, it’s like a baroque line, just as some parts in Episode, specially talking about Will the Sun Rise? Black Diamond is fast, with great solos, heavy, but the most important part is that is a mellow song, not like other power metal mellow songs; if you haven’t heard this band just listen to this song and you’ll give them a chance and you’ll want to know more about Strato. Forever Free is a good song, but nothing special, except for the catchy chorus, but that’s common in power metal songs. With Before the Winter these guys give us a break, a slow ballad, but I must say that it’s not one of their best, even though I recognize the work on they keyboards is great, creating an atmosphere that fits perfectly the song’s theme. Legions is one of the fastest songs I’ve heard from Strato, and this means of course super fast solos that only Johansson and Tolkki can deliver without becoming so ambitious, I mean, is natural for them play like that. The Abyss of Your Eyes follows the trend of The Kiss of Judas, but some clean guitars and vocal performance remembers me of Eternity from the Episode album. Good song. Holy Light is an instrumental track, fast and with amazing solos, but I rather prefer Stratosphere (that doesn’t means I don’t like Holy Light). Paradise is just another power metal song but good enough to rest from the speedy soloing and to prepare for Coming Home (a good ballad, better than Before the Winter), and the epic closing track Visions, which is pretty good and maybe the best song from the whole album (after Black Diamond of course, hahaha), just listen to this track and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Visions is one of the “must have” albums from Stratovarius, even if you’re not a die hard fan of them, but if you’re getting into power metal Stratovarius is a band you must hear and this release should be in your collection.