Sound — 7
For many melodic metal fans, Stratovarius need no introduction. They have had a long and successful career. The new album "Polaris" marks the beginning of a new era in strato history. Matias Kupiainen (forgive my spelling) has replaced long time guitar player and songwriter Timo Tolkki. This is Matias' first album with Stratovarius. The sound on here is the typical Stratovarius "power metal" with progressive elements. Really there is nothing at all new in sound. Although Jens' keyboard takes the spotlight more than ever.
Lyrics — 6
The lyrics are the usual stuff. Space, Having a fighting soul, etc. I'll say it, Timo Kotipelto's vocals can totally suck sometimes. This is obvious when he tries to hit those really high notes to make the music more "epic". When he does this he usually sounds a bit out of key. (Specifically on the chorus to "Forever is today") I would like Kotipelto more if he would avoid the high notes. It's really quite annoying. I've come to expect better from Timo. His singing just isn't as good on this album as in the past.
Overall Impression — 6
"Forever is today" (Minus the chorus) "Deep Unknown", "King of Nothing" and "Higher We go" are great tunes that really stand out. The others are pretty boring though. I found myself wanting to skip through the other tunes because they just don't hit me with that blast of power like the older stratovarius tunes. Overall most of the melodies aren't very exciting and they don't stick in your head. Many of the rhythms and chord progressions lack power. At the end of the day, Polaris is not a bad album though. It certainly has some great moments and if you're a stratovarius fan you won't want to miss out. Polaris is a disappointment though, because Stratovarius' full potential does not shine this time around.