Elements

Thoughts Factory – Elements Review

Thoughts Factory – Elements Review

“So when I pulled my head from the murk of the most grimy, gritty, and distorted music metal has to offer to review the clean, keyboard-laden progressive metal of Thoughts Factory, my initial reaction was that of a belligerent child forced to take a shower after playing in the mud: I don’t like it this clean! Make it more filthy! But does that knee-jerk reaction hold on repeat listens?” Clean thoughts.

Stratovarius – Nemesis Review

Stratovarius – Nemesis Review

“During my tenure here at AMG, I don’t think I’ve taken quite so much guff for a review as when I gave the last Stratovarius opus (Elysium) a mere 3.0. I found that rather funny, since a 3.0 is a pretty good score around these parts. While Elysium had some very good songs, it had several rough spots and a general lack of energy that short-circuited the album’s flow. Now I’m tasked with examining Nemesis, the follow-up by one of the titans of Euro-power and a band I’ve respected and enjoyed for a long time. It turns out to be a tough album to get a handle on.” Watch Steel Druhm search for a handle on things and when he finds it, things aren’t gonna be pretty.

Stratovarius – Elysium Review

Stratovarius – Elysium Review

Stratovarius is a name synonymous with European power metal and right up there with Gamma Ray and Helloween. Over the course of their long recording history they’ve created stellar examples of the style and several of their albums reside on my all time power metal playlist (Destiny, Visions, Episodes, Fourth Dimension, Infinite). Along with these past successes, Stratovarius had their share of ups and downs, including their infamous and acrimonious split with founding member/guitarist/chief songwriter Timo Tolkki (Revolution Renaissance). Both before and after this split, Stratovarius released some uneven albums and went through a phase where they indulged in bloated, overly orchestrated symphonic styles and for many long time fans, this was regrettable (Elements Parts I and II). While 2009’s Polaris seemed to right the ship, Elysium shows considerable backsliding toward these past missteps. While still a decent album with some great moments, it fails to rise anywhere near the level of past triumphs and ultimately bogs down amid ponderous pacing and overwrought orchestration.

Revolution Renaissance – Trinity Review

Revolution Renaissance – Trinity Review

Wow, Timo Tolkki just can’t catch a break! First, the founder, mastermind and guitarist of long running power metal institution Stratovarius had to leave the fold due to personal problems and private demons. Now problems have forced him to call it a day with follow-up band Revolution Renaissance, shortly after releasing Trinity, their third album. I was only lukewarm about their debut and actively disliked the slow and soupy mess that was Age of Aquarius. However, after spending time with the band’s swan song, I have to admit, it’s a shame to see them pack it in. This is a solid slice of melodic European power metal and a clear improvement over the prior Revolution Renaissance outings. While nothing on Trinity is genre defying or “revolutionary” in a musical sense (it actually sounds A LOT like his former band), it’s well done, enjoyable and contains some moments of exceptional power metal songwriting sure to please fans of the style.