Tag Archives: jens johannson

Stratovarius: Live Photos @ Tuska Open Air (6/30/2013)

Logo - Stratovarius

This past Summer one of PiercingMetal’s staunchest advocates attended the Tuska Open Air Festival in Helskinki, Finland. The mighty Stratovarius was among the many acts performing and Samuel offered up his images to the website to entertain their Metal minds. Check them out below and while sharing is caring, these may not be altered or published elsewhere without our direct permission. Enjoy.


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“Polaris”/”Polaris Live” by Stratovarius

Artist: Stratovarius
Title: “Polaris”/”Polaris Live”
Label: Armoury Records
Release Date: 7/13/2010
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

Back in 2009, the band Stratovarius had informed the Metal masses that not only would they be back in action with the release of new material and a subsequent tour, but that they would be doing do without longtime guitarist Timo Tolki. The album was called “Polaris” and it introduced the bands worldwide fans to their new axe slinger Matias Kupiainen. The album was loaded with powerful energy and a number of its driving tracks found me slinging my own air guitar and pounding away on invisible drums as I listened. Fast forward to 2010 as the heat of the summer begins to mess with us, the band has re-issued this killer album and added a second CD that takes the bands full live set and delivers it to your living room. Having said all that I felt was necessary about the “Polaris” album in that releases review, I am representing it for you to refresh your memory about my views. After you catch up I will talk a little bit more about the live recordings that we get.
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“Polaris” by Stratovarius

Artist: Stratovarius
Title: “Polaris”
Label: Armoury Records
Release Date: 5/26/2009
Genre: Power Metal
Rating: 4/5

A band has two options when one of its primary creative forces chooses to move on from the lineup and that is to either cease to exist and begin other projects or rise from the ashes of disruption, find a replacement and get back to business. Such was the dilemma faced by Stratovarius when key member and guitarist Timo Tolki decided to quit the band and leave it hanging out to dry. Lucky for the world’s Stratovarius fans the guys were more than willing to press on and soon found the talented Matias Kupiainen handling the necessary duties on the axe. In the public eye this was a pretty big pair of shoes to fill as Tolki had written some 95% of the bands material since 1989, so not only would his successor need to be adept on his own but also be able to handle all of the acrobatics that were regular practice for Tolki. So how do the new guy and new album sound? Well in a word this is probably the strongest material that Stratovarius has released in years and stands high above the utter garbage that was their last album “Stratovarius”. Matias is an exceptional guitarist and to quote my Dad I can say that “no one is irreplaceable” and in the end I think that new life has been breathed into this band that will make their fans proud. I was instantly drawn into the tasty riffs that were being dished out as opener “Deep Unknown” blasted through the stereo but it was in tracks like “Blind” and “Forever Is Today” that did the most for me and had me not only repeating them but also playing them louder and louder each time while playing either air guitar or air drums.
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“Atomic Soul” by Russell Allen

Artist: Russell Allen
Title: “Atomic Soul”
Label: InsideOut Music
Release Date: 4/26/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8.5/10

Symphony X front man Russell Allen has one of the best voices in Progressive Metal music today and he proves it night after night on tour with the band. Allen has a rich bluesy feel to his style and with his debut solo effort “Atomic Soul” he shows that the Legends of yesterday have helped him along. Fans of Symphony X already know what to expect from Russell in the Progressive genre, however when they hear this CD they will be impressed to find how different a direction he has taken. Deciding to release a record that was not Progressive but more traditional Hard Rock can be considered quite the gamble these days, for in come cases you risk alienating those that only choose to follow one genre that they are familiar with. This CD is less Dream Theater/Fates Warning like and more along the lines of Rainbow, Led Zeppelin and Dio. All of these amazing groups show up as influences to Russell’s work with songs like “Voodoo Hand” and “Seasons Of Insanity”. In “Voodoo Hand” one can imagine that this was written for the late Ray Gillen with the whole overall groove ringing like something off their debut. On “Seasons Of Insanity” there are hints of Dio-era Rainbow and the whole CD is full of these nuances that just deliver. These songs are among my favorites on the release and it’s great to find such a richly packed record with so many varied parts pulled from one’s influence catalog on it. It marks Russell Allen as a singer above most of his peers for only being able to pull this off at all but to do it well enough to make this a very difficult record to stop playing. As someone who also grew up on 70’s Hard Rock I found the release outstanding. There are a number of tracks that I found to be above par on the piece and besides the ones I referenced earlier I think the title track “Atomic Soul” kicks ass and “Blackout” reminds you what a Rock track should sound like. More Artists who perform in the genre would do well to pick up this CD.
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