Recently, I’ve been flirting with progressive metal – or at least, symphonic / power metal with significant progressive influences. The more recent albums of Stratovarius (who I’ve featured several times before) – particularly the ones after guitarist Timo Tolkki’s 2008 departure from the band – fall into that category.
Today’s selection is the title track of the 2011 album Elysium. At 18 minutes, I believe it’s the longest song I’ve featured to date – but then such is progressive rock/metal 🙂
I listened to this album not long after its release, but it’s only after re-listening to it recently that I feel like I’ve come to truly appreciate it for the masterpiece that it is.
The song has a bit of everything, from multiple intricate guitar and keyboard solos that typify progressive metal, through calm and contemplative sections that help build tension, to Stratovarius’ signature dramatic orchestral passages.
In all honesty, I do find it a bit long – I think the first 11 minutes could have been condensed to ~5 without the song losing much value. Past the 11-minute mark though, the song really picks up stylistically, delivering a very emotional series of passages culminating in a climactic ending. So, if you give it a listen and start to get bored, I recommend skipping forward rather than giving up, lest you miss the best part!
Lyrics can be found in the video description.