To me, Stratovarius has had 3 incarnations, it's almost like there have been 3 bands called Stratovarius.
The first Stratovarius was from Fright Night to Dreamscape.
The second Stratovarius was from Fourth Dimension to the album Stratovarius.
Since Polaris we are witnessing the third incarnation of Stratovarius, and Nemesis could be its first classic!
I used to be a big Stratovarius fan, especially during their second era. Episode, Visions and Infinite are absolute classics to me, and I even followed the band for six concerts during the Infinite Tour.
I still love this band, but all their following releases were of lesser quality. Even their live performances were not as good before.
We all know there were many internal problems, the tension could be felt. The auto-pilot was on and Stratovarius kept loosing speed on the Metal highway.
Well, Nemesis is the Stratovarius record I've been wanting to hear for a long time!
The second song of this new album is called Unbreakable, and it definitely can describe Stratovarius! They're not down, they are alive alive and well!
Jörg Michael is now with Devil's Train and it certainly wasn't easy to find a replacement. But Stratovarius is used to this kind of challenges and they found Rolf Pilve. Let's hope that he's as good on stage than on the record!
The band, except for Rolf, has been together for some time now. They have had time to know each other and to think about the musical direction they want.
As a result, Nemesis sounds like a band that works together.
Most of the songs are catchy enough to remember the chorus from the first listening. But that doesn't mean they're easy and basic, each song reveals its subtleties little by little.
Abandon is a great tune to start. When I first listened to it I thought "yeah, Stratovarius is back!".
The melody of Unbreakable can stick to your mind for weeks, while the solos of Stand My Ground will make your hair raise.
Halcyon Days was made to be hit on stage. Timo's voice is great on this one and there are several rhythm changes that make this tune very special and unique.
Out Of the Fog is very powerful, probably one the heaviest songs ever recorded by Stratovarius.
Hunter is another great song, but it's a bonus track so it's not available in every version of the album. That's a shame. I think the bonus track should have been Dragons. This horrible song is so kitsch that it could be a parody...
Fortunately, this is an exception. And it's quickly forgotten because this album contains a masterpiece: the title track, Nemesis, is a completely amazing song! And I think it could have been even better... it could have been a long epic song.
I'm very happy to say that Nemesis is the best Stratovarius album since Infinite.
The new band implements new elements, but manages to capture the spirit that made its success.
If you were disappointed by Stratovarius at some point during the last decade, Nemesis is the perfect record to give them a new chance.