Stratovarius – Dreamspace

Stratovarius – Dreamspace - 3/5

Stratovarius has a lot to answer for, namely the couple hundred ESPM who base their entire works off over-done cheese-boards, or so they story goes. Personally, when I took this review, I prepared myself for enough annoying keys that I’d never want to go near another ESPM for a long, long time.

I really need to stop preparing myself, because I’m always wrong. Stratovarius’ problem isn’t their keys, which are done with class and dignity. They appear here and there, add atmosphere, and emphasis, and do their job well. The vocalist is above average, but sings in an almost whiny fashion; not great, but not bad, a moot point. Their drums far exceeded my expectations, and might be my favorite part of the album, as they are energetic, varied, consistent, everything I could ask for. No, the problem with this band lies in the guitarist.

After all, this is heavy metal, based off riffs, not chords and chugging. I know this guy is capable of more then this, his solos, and the entrances to several songs stand as testament. Yet he is constantly pushed into the background for the vocals and drums. I wasn’t expecting a masterpiece of riffs and technicality (though it would have been a welcome surprise), but on a whole the sound of the bands comes off as lacking, perhaps not as fleshed-out as it could have been. Disappointing.

On the other hand, they do some things right, and by right, I mean next to perfect. These songs are memorable, catchy, and I have found myself singing (poorly) along. They can create an atmosphere, and I’ve found little that annoys me about the songs. I just wish the songs had more depth, layers, something. While the melodies from the vocals are good, they just aren’t enough to base an entire LP off of, unless they were all like Tears of Ice.

Historically, many fans will say that this is the album where Stratovarius came into their own, and I can see where they might be coming from. The songs here have their flaws, but I chalk that up to more the separate taste of the band and myself than flaws in song-writing or a poor idea of melody. Nope, this band knows what they wanted to do with the album, and I think they accomplished it. It’s just a shame that it is not what I would have loved.

Choice Songs: On second thought, most of the songs are pretty solid, and relatively consistent. Just go get it if you haven’t already, it’s an ESPM classic for a reason.

(END REVIEW NOTES: A little rusty from the time off, but there ya go. My honest opinion.)

By. C. Ulferts