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  #121  
Old 12-22-2011, 12:32 PM
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#10: Stratovarius - Elysium

Stratovarius's career was in the toilet in 2005-2006. Despite a reunion of the classic 1995-2003 lineup, the self-titled album pretty much sucked, and the tour support it was a bit underwhelming. Then 2007-2008 saw the departure of co-founding guitarist Timo Tolkki, and what seemed like eminent death for the group. When your chief songwriter and bandleader departs during the most difficult part of your career, things don't exactly look promising... but the band found guitarist Matias Kupianen, and released Polaris in 2009, which was surprisingly good, but ultimately feel sort of flat for me with repeated listens. It had a few strong tracks and was definitely a pleasant surprise, but something was missing. I feel that Elysium succeeds in all places where Polaris failed. A thoroughly enjoyable set of great and fairly diverse songs showcasing everything Stratovarius are great at doing, including a superb 18-minute epic that is easily my favorite thing the band have recorded since 2000's Infinite album. I thought this was something I would never say, but I truly believe Stratovarius have created an album on par with their classic work, such as the aforementioned Infinite and Visions. If you're a Stratovarius fan or really a fan of power metal at all, this is a must-hear album.

Featured Track: "Elysium" (Yeah, it's an 18-minute song, so only for the patient, but it's so obviously the best song on here in my opinion)
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  #122  
Old 12-22-2011, 02:01 PM
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Spot on. This album is great, and Elysium is definitely the best track on the album (although Under Flaming Skies and Move The Mountain also are noteworthy). This album would be on a pretty high spot for me as well.
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  #123  
Old 12-22-2011, 02:34 PM
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Spot on. This album is great, and Elysium is definitely the best track on the album (although Under Flaming Skies and Move The Mountain also are noteworthy). This album would be on a pretty high spot for me as well.
Agreed. I also agree with you saying that its on par with some of their classic work Elysium is an amazing song. Event Horizon is amazing as well. Definitely in my top 10
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  #124  
Old 12-22-2011, 04:37 PM
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This album made me a Stratovarius fan. I had only heard Elements Part I before, but I took a chance on this because of the awesome artwork and it turned out to be a great album. The only song that I think is somewhat weak is "Lifetime in a Moment", but even that has a few catchy moments. I'd love to see Stratovarius play this whole album live!
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  #125  
Old 12-22-2011, 04:56 PM
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What I find is most albums with really good artwork tend to be just as good musically. It's a strange theory I've came up with, and obviously it's subjective, but it has worked for the most part. I don't even look at albums with poor album covers, and the few times I do, I am proven right.
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Last edited by SerpentineVIVIVI; 12-22-2011 at 07:19 PM.
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  #126  
Old 12-23-2011, 12:14 AM
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I totally forgot Stratovarius came out with an album this year. I like Polaris but I kinda thought it had some filler. Definitely gonna check out Elysium right now actually haha.
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  #127  
Old 12-23-2011, 08:47 AM
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#9: Redemption - This Mortal Coil

Even though #9 is clearly a very high position, when a band previously held three top 3 albums in 2009, 2007, and 2005 with 3 consecutive albums, #9 feels like a step down, and sadly, it is. I've praised Redemption as the best new band of the 2000-2009 decade, who have a fairly unique approach to Progressive Metal. For those who aren't familiar with them, the band takes a relatively darker and more emotional approach to Prog Metal, with very personal and introspective lyrics sung by the very emotional vocals of Fates Warning's Ray Alder. Despite all of the players in the band being outstanding, they usually don't get too much into typical Prog wankery and remain relatively song-based. This Mortal Coil is no exception to any of that, with the lyrics taking on an even more personal tone, as this album was inspired by guitarist/lyricist Nic Van Dyk being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and his coming to grips with his own mortality. On paper that should've made this my favorite Redemption album, but sadly two things I think hold it back. One, I think this Ray Alder's weakest vocal performance on a Redemption album. I don't know if it was just a weak performance or if he's truly losing his touch, but his voice is just a bit dry and weak at times. My other complaint is the production and overall sound of this album, which to me is just strange. It's not necessarily bad, just very weird, and I particularly don't care much for the guitar tone. That being said, the songs are pretty much as strong as anything Redemption have done before, hence how they can still manage to land at #9 in such a competitive year. They remain one of my favorite bands around today. Also, this album features a bonus disc on some versions that includes some cool and unexpected covers.

Featured Track: "No Tickets to the Funeral"
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  #128  
Old 12-23-2011, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Maiden33 View Post
#9: Redemption - This Mortal Coil

Even though #9 is clearly a very high position, when a band previously held three top 3 albums in 2009, 2007, and 2005 with 3 consecutive albums, #9 feels like a step down, and sadly, it is. I've praised Redemption as the best new band of the 2000-2009 decade, who have a fairly unique approach to Progressive Metal. For those who aren't familiar with them, the band takes a relatively darker and more emotional approach to Prog Metal, with very personal and introspective lyrics sung by the very emotional vocals of Fates Warning's Ray Alder. Despite all of the players in the band being outstanding, they usually don't get too much into typical Prog wankery and remain relatively song-based. This Mortal Coil is no exception to any of that, with the lyrics taking on an even more personal tone, as this album was inspired by guitarist/lyricist Nic Van Dyk being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, and his coming to grips with his own mortality. On paper that should've made this my favorite Redemption album, but sadly two things I think hold it back. One, I think this Ray Alder's weakest vocal performance on a Redemption album. I don't know if it was just a weak performance or if he's truly losing his touch, but his voice is just a bit dry and weak at times. My other complaint is the production and overall sound of this album, which to me is just strange. It's not necessarily bad, just very weird, and I particularly don't care much for the guitar tone. That being said, the songs are pretty much as strong as anything Redemption have done before, hence how they can still manage to land at #9 in such a competitive year. They remain one of my favorite bands around today. Also, this album features a bonus disc on some versions that includes some cool and unexpected covers.

Featured Track: "No Tickets to the Funeral"
I really dislike the sound of this, production, guitar tone, and vocal production especially as compared with how much I enjoyed snowfall on judgement day's production and tone and such.

sorry I'm a little late to the party, but I read the whole thread. there were a couple I enjoyed, most aren't for me, but sadly of late my musical tastes seem to be shifting again and I don't even feel like listening to half of my own music collection.
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  #129  
Old 12-23-2011, 03:05 PM
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This Mortal Coil is my favorite Redemption album.

I will admit Snowfall's production is a lot better. But I like the rawer vibe of this, it matches the tone of the album.

And being a fan of everything from Evergrey to Woods Of Desolation, Adler's voice doesn't bother me
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  #130  
Old 12-23-2011, 03:21 PM
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I should also note that I didn't care THAT much for the production of Snowfall either. To me the best sounding Redmeption album is EASILY The Origins of Ruin.
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