Stratovarius - Visions
Noise Records
Speedy Melodic Power Metal
10 songs (61.01)
Release year: 1997
Stratovarius, Noise Records
Reviewed by Aleksie
Archive review
YeahYeahYeah…..”Not another piece on info on these bullshit-artists that disgrace the metal scene blahblahyapyapwhateverwhocares!” The events and statements surrounding the current state of Stratovarius have been absurd to say the least. But for now, forget about all that crap. Rewind to 1997, when Strato had just stabilized a more constant line-up after a very good and successful album, Episode. In my mind along with Keepers part 2, Visions is the one single album by which every melodic power metal album is measured. To me this album set standards that even the Strato boys themselves had difficulties trying to match.

What can a power fan say about the opening trio of the record? The Kiss Of Judas, Black Diamond and Forever Free, live favourites and speedy, melodic metal masterpieces each one of them. Timo Kotipelto sings his balls out (literally), Michael double-basses the hell out of the skins in true helicopter-beat-style and Johansson and Tolkki solo so fast that it even crosses the dreaded line to noodle-land at points. The solos have always been Stratos weak point in my books. Just like Yngwie, too many notes. But the choruses, the classical-influenced melodies during the more simple leads and keyboard backgrounds – sheer metal mastery. Catchy and infectious like hell. Before The Winter and Coming Home are two superb ballads that show Kotipeltos emotional vocal work and stupendous range at its best. TK is really one of the most capable metal vocalists out there. Whether you like it or hate it, the guy has talent. Legions and Paradise are two more great rockers with stupendous sing-along choruses. Holy Light is mostly a completely over-the-top shred fest that holds no importance to me. A good instrumental and a collection of solos are two very different things. This song is mostly dead space on the record. The closing epic Visions (Southern Cross) is decent, but falls a bit flat from the waistline. Strato never was at its best with the lengthy epics, like Blind Guardian or Edguy. The speedy, melodic and anthemic rockers were always this bands specialty. The theme of the album, songs based on the predictions of the famous prophet Nostradamus, works pretty well throughout the record and unifies the songs quite well.

Tolkkis production is like always, top notch, very punchy and crystal clear at the same time. Kotipeltos vocals sore high above the well balanced instruments. To me, Visions is as good as Stratovarius ever got and quite possibly will ever get. Only time will tell if they can top this off, and unlike the all-knowing-holier-than-thou-kings-of-the-universe-eggheads out there, I´m going to wait if any new material will in fact surface before judging it in any way. Topping this wont be easy in any case, cause Visions is about as mighty as melodic power metal got in the 90s.

Killing Songs :
The Kiss Of Judas, Black Diamond, Forever Free, Before The Winter, Legions, Paradise and Coming Home
Aleksie quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Stratovarius that we have reviewed:
Stratovarius - Nemesis reviewed by Chris and quoted 97 / 100
Stratovarius - Elysium reviewed by Kyle and quoted 86 / 100
Stratovarius - Polaris reviewed by Marty and quoted 85 / 100
Stratovarius - Stratovarius reviewed by Jeff and quoted 75 / 100
Stratovarius - Fright Night reviewed by Brent and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 13 reviews click here
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