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Stratovarius: Under Flaming Winter Skies

With a career that spans over 2 decades and includes over a dozen studio albums, Stratovarius returns in 2012 with their 3rd live album, Under Flaming Winter Skies. This album marks the last tour that drummer Jörg Michael performed with the band, and the album/dvd are like a sendoff for his well appreciated work with the band. The album and dvd were recorded in Tampere, Finland, and the crowd shows up in a great way for the band with a good amount of excitement and energy.

As far as the performance goes – the band receives high marks. All the elements of a great show are here. The song selection shows a good variety, mixing selections from the six albums released over the last sixteen years of the band's existence – the years that Jörg was a part of the band. The musicianship is excellent, as the band shows off their skills through various solos that would not be part of a studio release. And as I mentioned before, the energy of the crowd is noticeable and contagious. But for me, there was one aspect of the recording for the CD that made it hard for me to enjoy – the mixing/sound production of the recording. There is a bit of a "raw" feeling to this recording – the crowd sounds are very present, and overall it sounds to me as if I am listening to this from a number of rows back in the crowd. This is not to say the recording sounds like a bootleg as it is very clean, but in many ways I'd say this was a similar concept to Dream Theater's Chaos In Motion. This may attract some to this album as it gives an authentic feeling to the recording, but to me it was distracting. If you are a fan of Stratovarius, I'm sure this will be a necessary part of your collection, but if you are new to the band I would not recommend this album as a starting point.

Track listing:
Disc 1
1. Under Flaming Skies
2. I Walk To My Own Song
3. Speed Of Light
4. Kiss Of Judas
5. Deep Unknown
6. Guitar Solo
7. Eagleheart
8. Paradise
9. Visions
10. Bass Solo
11. Coming Home

Disc 2
1. Legions Of The Twilight
2. Darkest Hours
3. Burn
4. Behind Blue Eyes
5. Winter Skies
6. Keyboard Solo
7. Black Diamond
8. Father Time
9. Hunting High And Low

Added: November 7th 2012
Reviewer: Geoff glenister
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2029
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Stratovarius: Under Flaming Winter Skies
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-11-07 13:27:43
My Score:

I'm of the opinion that one of the best things that Finnish power metal veterans Stratovarius ever did was part ways with founding member Timmo Tolkki. Despite all he did with this band over the years, his erratic behavior and overly dramatic personality was becoming a hinderance, and since the arrival of guitarist Matias Kupiainen it's been great to see the band back on the up and up once again. This 2 CD live set Under Flaming Winter Skies marks the departure of longtime drummer Jörg Michael, so as many bands do when some 'change' sets in, a solid live album packed with favorite songs always seems the way to go, to close one door and open another.

Plenty of classic Stratovarius songs here, including "Kiss of Judas", "Visions", "Winter Skies", "Eagleheart", the soaring title track, and of course "Black Diamond", plus guitar, bass, and keyboard solos. The band even throws in a scorching cover of the Deep Purple classic "Burn". Singer Timo Kotipelto sounds as great as always, and the ever present speedy keyboard runs of Jens Johansson never fail to impress. As far as live albums go, this one sounds good and certainly sounds 'live', thanks to the constant inclusion of crowd noise as if you were sitting there yourself at the gig.

Toss in a great booklet complete with color photos from the show and a fun 'question & answer' with Jorg Michael, and you have a very solid live album from Stratovarius.

» Reader Comments:

Stratovarius: Under Flaming Winter Skies
Posted by No show comment on 2012-09-13 01:57:40
My Score:

A little correction to the review. The city name is "Tampere" not "Tempere" and despite that our country is a fine land, the name is still "Finland". Not meant to be offensive, I'm a regular reader of SoT reviews, actually this is the only site where I read album reviews anymore, but that typo just caught my attention.

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