Metal Storm logo
Stratovarius - Survive review



Reviewer:
8.0

182 users:
8.03
Band: Stratovarius
Album: Survive
Release date: September 2022


01. Survive
02. Demand
03. Broken
04. Firefly
05. We Are Not Alone
06. Frozen In Time
07. World On Fire
08. Glory Days
09. Breakaway
10. Before The Fall
11. Voice Of Thunder


Has there ever been a better example of a band carrying on in the absence of its figurehead than Stratovarius? Struggling to survive during the last days of Timo Tolkki, the current iteration of the band has now released an album called Survive while positively thriving.

It’s been a pretty decent couple of years for power metal fans; first, you had the landmark return of Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske on Helloween’s 2021 self-titled, and then just earlier this month, Blind Guardian brought back some of their 90s intensity on the beastly The God Machine. In contrast, Survive doesn’t represent a revolution for Stratovarius; this is the third full-length record released with the band’s current line-up, and remains stylistically very much in line with Nemesis and Eternal. However, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when you’re in a groove like this, and Survive is possibly the strongest output yet from this current quintet.

On first listen, I wasn’t sure I would come to have that opinion; while I found it solid from the off, it was slightly less explorative than Nemesis was, and it also didn’t have a standout song from the off in the way that “My Eternal Dream” blew me away on Eternal. Additionally, while the closing 11-minute epic “Voice Of Thunder” had the contents to justify its length, I wasn’t as awed by it as the similarly lengthy closer to Eternal, “The Lost Saga”. However, with prolonged exposure and reminder replays of the two previous records, I’ve come to appreciate the real strength of Survive: its consistency.

The last two albums had a handful of top-notch songs, and a bunch of respectable album tracks, but I was never compelled by the prospect of a full-album listen to either of them after first encounters. In contrast, Survive is a record that brings the quality reliably throughout its runtime. First off, the Finns opted against including a ballad, which is a stylistic decision I will always encourage power metal bands to take, considering the proportion of attempts at ballads by such bands that end up being complete duffers. Instead, they really seem to have aimed for ‘all killer, no filler’ here, and while I’m not overly interested by the late-album cuts “Breakaway” and “Before The Fall” (both are fine, but not especially noteworthy, and the latter is rather on the cheesy side), I feel they’ve got quite close to this aim.

Although I’ve not found the next “My Eternal Dream” here, there are a few songs that have definitely come to the fore across replays, and the relative diversity of these songs is another plus for Stratovarius. On the one end, there’s the dark, mid-tempo anthem “Frozen In Time”, while on the flip side, “Glory Days” is high-energy and wonderfully bright. The one thing that really unites them is having top-quality choruses, both of which hype me up in their original formats and are taken further on later repeats. Another song with a slightly darker tone that stands out is “Broken”, a track driven by an ominous low-end triplet chug during the verses to great effect, and this song is immediately paired with another song that shines with its brightness, the vibrant and playful “Firefly”.

However, there’s more to enjoy here beyond those few. “Survive” is a to-the-point anthem, but it gets the album off to a positive start and is elevated by a great bridge, and the other single from the record, “World On Fire”, is carried by some well-structured vocal passages. But even tracks that would be obvious ‘album filler’ candidates offer more than just padding. “We Are Not Alone”, midway into the album and squeezed between two singles, has enough charm to its playful chorus to justify its presence, even if it's unlikely to be many people's favourite song from the record.

Stratovarius aren’t doing anything revelatory here; everything they’ve done here is very much in line with what they’ve been doing for the past decade or so (even if they’ve maybe not been doing much recently, with this their first record in 7 years), and there's not really a song or moment that blows one away while listening. However, without necessarily releasing a modern classic, they’ve shown themselves to be seasoned professionals with this latest effort. That comes through both with the consistent quality of the songwriting and the strong levels of their performances; Timo Kotipelto, in particular, sounds more effortlessly natural here than he did nearly a decade ago on Nemesis. Anyone who’s enjoyed the band’s post-Tolkki streak thus far is very likely to savour this record as much as the others, if not more so.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 9





Written on 25.09.2022 by Hey chief let's talk why not


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 248 users
26.09.2022 - 00:11
Rating: 9
24emd

Good review, solid 8 album.

Edit: damn it, this album is so good it may even be PM album of the year for me.
----
"Perception and fact, all the same: the truth's what you feel..."
6.5 = good album
Loading...
26.09.2022 - 07:40
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
To me its their best after ''Infinite''.
Timo Tolki must fight for surviving, not this band. I remember his project had fond raising.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
26.09.2022 - 09:23
Rating: 8
JoHn DoE

Written by Bad English on 26.09.2022 at 07:40

To me its their best after ''Infinite''.
Timo Tolki must fight for surviving, not this band. I remember his project had fond raising.


Timo Tolki also writes songs for other artists, started producing. So I don't know if he's fighting to survive.
----
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
Loading...
26.09.2022 - 10:23
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by JoHn DoE on 26.09.2022 at 09:23

Written by Bad English on 26.09.2022 at 07:40

To me its their best after ''Infinite''.
Timo Tolki must fight for surviving, not this band. I remember his project had fond raising.


Timo Tolki also writes songs for other artists, started producing. So I don't know if he's fighting to survive.

Why he bagged money?
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
26.09.2022 - 10:37
Rating: 8
JoHn DoE

Written by Bad English on 26.09.2022 at 10:23

Written by JoHn DoE on 26.09.2022 at 09:23

Written by Bad English on 26.09.2022 at 07:40

To me its their best after ''Infinite''.
Timo Tolki must fight for surviving, not this band. I remember his project had fond raising.


Timo Tolki also writes songs for other artists, started producing. So I don't know if he's fighting to survive.

Why he bagged money?


That's not begging, many bands/artists do crowd-funding.
----
I thought the two primary purposes for the internet were cat memes and overreactions.
Loading...
26.09.2022 - 11:21
Callisto

I did not expect such a good album at this point in their career, but yes best album of the after Tolkki era (and better than the last ones with Tolkki).
Loading...
26.09.2022 - 19:08
Rating: 8
tominator
At best deranged
Yeah, this isn't anything mindblowing or incredibly unique, but like you said, it's professionally put together and extremely consistent. Overall, a very easy one to recommend in my opinion. It's a familiar Stratovarius sound without being generic or dull.
Loading...
23.10.2022 - 13:43
ToKrCZ

This is the best album since Polaris for me. To be honest, even Polaris had issues, and the following 3 albums were unfortunately so underwhelming for me that I almost lost hope for these LEGENDS, but I am super glad that it DID NOT HAPPEN and good old Stratovarius is fully BACK! This "Survive" album has everything for me, the sound is reasonably modern, the tunes are tasty, riffs make me drooling and overall production is TOP NOTCH 2022. Wow, what a sound! Listening right now while writing this and I am so emotional that they managed to produce this GEM after such a long break, even considering rather strange previous albums. This one is THE ONE. Please listen. Stratovarius have been the first ever band I ever started to follow and thorougly listen to and this album brought me to tears almost.
Loading...

Hits total: 3243 | This month: 14