August 23, 2022, a year ago


Rich Catino

Rating: 8.5

review heavy metal stratovarius


Survive is the 16th studio album from Finnish power metal giants Stratovarius, fifth one with the new lineup since guitarist Timo Tolkki left in 2008. Singer Timo Kotipelto and Jens Johansson (keyboards) the only members left from the classic era 1995-2003. Guitarist Matias Kupiainen is not a Tolkki clone, he does keep with the Strato composition traditions, but guitar tone is heavier, see the title track. 

The music also is often more progressive, less predictable within a song. Kotipelto not singing as high as he used to. Bassist Lauri Porra's bass more defined and heard in the mix. "Demand" one of those steadfast riff rockers in "Against The Wind" vein, drums and riff begins "Broken" as keys are fed in, not a traditional chorus section as keyboards segue out to the verse. "Firefly" a catchy single and melody like "Dragons", and "Fantasy". "We Are Not Alone" hits punchy, guitars briefly drop out during the verses. Epic keys/intro to six plus minutes "Frozen In Time" sets up for the song's singalong flow. I really like the accenting keyboards too, very classic Strato in that great chorus like something from Dreamscape or Fourth Dimension. Probably my favorite song. 

"World On Fire" is a good choice for a single as it kicks off the second half of the album keeping up with the energy; lyrics giving something to think about. "Glory Days" a Tolkki-ish riff and rhythm drive without sounding redundant like any past faster power metal songs in the cannon post Episode album. There's those triumphant keyboards on "Breakaway", at the start Timo shows his softer side, acoustic guitar and beautiful melody in the keys. Great transition into the chorus. Well done, Stratovarius doing what they do best. "Voice Of Thunder" ends the album with an eleven minute metal slab of dynamics and more a classic Strato era guitar sound.  

I really like this album, it’s up there with Nemesis from the new era, better than Eternal. It’s progressive power metal, catchy, great hooks and melodies, not too fast or slow. The way I love my Stratovarius!  

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