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Title: Polaris
Artist: Stratovarius
Genre: symphonic/ power metal
Release Date: 15th May 2009
Label: Ear Music / Edel

Stratovarius, the Finish power metal band, became a world wide act with their success of songs like ‘Eternity,’ ‘Black Diamond,’ ‘Hunting High And Low’ and many other hits. Since their start in 1983 they are a solid element in the metal scene all over the world, with their typical own sound. Like the harmonies, groovy guitars and the clear high voice of Timo Kotipelto.  The twelfth album ‘Polaris’ is a new chapter in the history of this famous band for many reasons: a new formation and a new dynamic sound. Stratovarius regain the passion back!

To understand the background of ‘Polaris’ a short history lesson: in the late 2003 the band broke-up. Reason: a conflict between Tolkki (composer) and other members. In 2005 the formation reunited. With a new bassplayer Lauri Porra, they worked on the release of ‘Stratovarius’ but the happiness is short. The record company had financial problems and the band started a process to make the release of a new album possible. Mid 2008 Tolki left the band due to more conflicts. The others continued the court case and solved the debts.

Album review

‘Polaris’ is a very high qualitated album like the fans recognize in ‘Infinity’ or ‘Dreamspace.’ The new guitarist Matias has the talent to make clean solos and also groovy parts and together with the unexpected songwriter talent of Lauri Porra the Finish formation has a new spirit. You hear that very clear on ‘Higher We Go.’

‘Deep Unknown’ – single
The single and first song ‘Deep Unknown’ has many details but still the catchy sound of Stratovarius. Techincal guitar riffs, melodic keyboard arrangements from Jens and a lower voice of Timo Kotipelto, but soon he grows out into a higher voluminous melody. There is more space for Jörg Michael on drums and the first guitar solo is breathtaking: classical with a wink to their roots and still unpredictable. Stratovarius easily for fill the high expectation, the song is full of energy compressed in all those talented layers made by all the members.

A Falling Star, King Of Nothing
‘A Falling Star’ is darker, heavier and still with roots of the begin period. Just listen to every song, because all of them they have such an own character and there is so much to discover. Even when you don’t like the power metal genre, it is worth trying!  It is beautiful music, made by talented people with a lot of patient. They don’t make it easy for themselves with all the layers, little details. Even in the rhythm section like drums and bass. ‘King Of Nothing’ is the shining star. With an impressive intro, dark and depressive there is hope from the start. Filled in by the emotional voice of Timo Kotipelto. His voice is very diverse and talented in many ways. That is what you can discover on Polaris. Forget the clichés about high screams and easy guitars, Stratovarius invented power metal and now they are the one and only to put it on a higher level.

Blind, Winter Skies, Forever Is Today, Higher We Go
‘Blind’ shows the fragility from Jens Johansson with extreme contrasts. The prove that this band has more in their pocket and survived all the heavy times. ‘Winter Skies’ is a beautiful midtempo song; minimalistic and Timo Kotipelto shows his diversity. With ‘Forever Is Today’ there is a hit born: up-tempo, catchy and still dynamic. A classical Stratovarius song but with new elements. The line continues with ‘Higher We Go’ defenitly a strong one live. Also here you recognize the influences from Matias Kupianen. Kotipelto bound all his energy and talent in the melodic layers.

Somehow Precious
High quality, that is what you also hear on ‘Somehow Precious’ There is totally  different atmosphere. Kotipelto gets all the space and carries the whole song, fragile and with a powerfull confident he breaks down all the walls and makes you shiver. Little arrangements and strong guitars are in contrast, but he brings it together in a strong harmony in a very natural way. Kotipelto will reach his best on the last song. Stratovarius discovered new boundaries.

Emancipation Suite, When Mountains Fall
Laura Porra wrote this duo songs. Emancipation Suite. Groovy, progressive and a strong rhythm intro he grabs the attention. He dares to take the time and build in mid-tempo moments often filled in by Kotipelto. This in totally contrast with the previous Stratovarius work (Elements). Timo dares to be darker, and also in his lower tones he is strong and creates a great balance with the power of the drum and bass parts. Again there is so much to discover, take your time and you will see the light.  Part two is the opposite and the last song is the orchestral masterpiece where Timo is under your skin: the emotions are there for sure. No wonder that ‘When Mountains Fall’ leaves you in respectful silent and with the feeling that a star is reborn.


01. Deep Unknown (Kotipelto, Kupiainen)
02. Falling Star (Porra)
03. King of Nothing (Johansson)
04. Blind (Johansson)
05. Winter Skies (Johansson)
06. Forever Is Today (Porra)
07. Higher We Go (Kotipelto, Kupiainen)
08. Somehow Precious (Kotipelto, Kupiainen)
09. Emancipation suite: I Dusk (Porra)
10. Emancipation suite: II Dawn (Porra)
11. When Mountains Fall (Porra)


Timo Kotipelto – vocals
Matias Kupiainen – guitar
Lauri Porra – bass
Jörg Michael – drums
Jens Johansson – keyboards


Cover picture


Music: 9
Sound: 9
Extras: - promo version
Total: 9 / 10


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