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I never realized Paradisum meant hell... - 35%

Metal_Detector, July 7th, 2011

Well, first things first, the cover is one of the "happiest" (ahem) things I've ever seen in my life. I know that has no predetermined bearing on the music enclosed, but I thought it was worth mentioning, since it really does give one an accurate prediction of how this one plays out. This is some of the cheesiest, most repetitive, least imaginitive power metal I've ever heard compiled on a single compact disc. It's albums like this that cause terms such as "flower metal" to live on. Don't be fooled by the band name; this is Stratovarius, and these songs are the ones that couldn't even make it on their worst albums. In Paradisum is basically Infine pt. 2, except even worse this time around. All the same riffs, choruses, rhythms, and vocal patterns that polluted Stratovarius's weakest material are present here. There's not a shred of originality to be seen.

In Paradisum is an album that suffers from a little disorder I like to call "Two Minute Skip Syndrome;" after two minutes of each song, you're guarunteed to have heard all it will have to offer and you might as well just skip the rest of it. After all, why waste precious moments to hear the same poppy, upbeat chorus repeated ad nauseum? At least with ten identical songs at two minutes a piece, you're only wasting twenty minutes of your life and not the sadistic fifty included. This is the verse/chorus/verse/chorus/repeat chorus formula crammed down our throats repeatedly. It isn't heavy enough to be a headbanging good time, and it doesn't contain enough balladic beauty to be interesting, either. In Paradisum is the act of aging musicians stuck in the past, never finding the inspiration to do anything beyond the same release time and time again. Now that the carbon copies are elevating into double digit territory, I don't know whether to feel anger or pity.

Biggest embarrassments include the obligatory "epic" title track and "I Walk in Neon," a cheap replica of "Hunting High and Low." You'd figure Timo and his group of savages would want to stop wasting their lives doing this; you sorta only get one, you know. I actually like the helium-fueled chords of former Angra vocalist Andre Matos, so hearing him dying here is only more depressing; and he's still hitting the notes, too, making cliched straight-shooters like "Rhapsody in Black" actually sound somewhat decent. But one man can't save a band, and if there's ever been evidence of that fact, it's right here with Symfonia. This is a hollow shell of a band with no soul beneath its cotton candy exterior. No heart is beating under it's mechanized, emotionless skin, composed only of faulty spare parts that wouldn't fit its previous equally inferior models. Obvious metaphors aside, it just really fucking sucks.