Featured Song: Elysium

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.


Featured Song: Papillon

Today’s selection is “Papillon” from Stratovarius‘ 2003 album Elements, Part 1.

Elements, whose title track I’ve featured in the past, is one of my favourite Stratovarius albums; I find that the symphonic orchestration really brings out the epic feel that Stratovarius tries to materialize in their work.

“Papillon” (the word is French for “butterfly”) is particularly memorable to me due to the intensity of the orchestrated section that comes in around 2:12 and again around 4:34.

Here it is, set by a fan to a haunting slideshow of images:

Lyrics can be found here.

Stratovarius have also released a French version of this song.

Featured Song: United

This song has been stuck in my head all week, so I couldn’t not feature it 🙂

It’s from the 2005 self-titled album of Stratovarius, from whom we’ve heard before.

In a break from most of the songs in this series, this one, titled “United”, has a very positive, uplifting atmosphere. Its message, summed up in the chorus’ opening line, “United we stand, divided we fall”, is expressed in the epic style that only Stratovarius can pull off, complete with an awesome guitar solo in the middle, and a somewhat unexpected but totally fitting trumpet outro.

Featured lyrics:

United we stand
Divided we fall
The sun is shining for each and for all

The future is bright
There’s hope in the air
Together we’re singing, together we care

Full lyrics here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Featured Song: Winter Skies

Winter is still in full gear in Toronto, whether it’s manifesting as near-record-breaking -35 degree wind chills earlier this week, or snowfall that’s holding up traffic this weekend, so I thought I’d feature another seasonally inspired song.

I’ve been a Stratovarius fan for a long time (and in fact, I’ve featured a song by them in this series already), but I’ve only started listening to their post-Tolkki albums recently, and this song, “Winter Skies” from Polaris, is a new discovery for me.

I love what Stratovarius have done with the song structure here: it starts off as a relatively ordinary song, winding down into an outro-sounding passage about two thirds into the song, tricking you into to believing the song is over – only to come back to life and erupt into an incredibly awesome guitar solo. The last few phrases of the guitar solo are layered over a choral passage, creating a uniquely epic sound!

Lyrics can be found here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

P.S. Dear weather overlords: I’m out of winter-themed songs to feature. Kindly take a hint.

Featured Song: Elements

So it’s been a while since I wrote anything… been very busy with courses, Christmas stuff, Project Flanders

Anyways, the song I’d like to feature today is one that I first heard sometime last year (it’s actually an old(er) song, from a 2003 album), and I thought it was good, but I didn’t pay much attention to it then. A few days ago I heard it again by chance, and just couldn’t stop listening to it. This happens once in a while – I don’t fully appreciate a song until the second or third time I hear it, often a long time after the first time.

This epic power metal song combines the goosebump-inducing sound of a huge choir with the awesome riffs of one of the world’s best heavy metal guitarists. As with most particularly epic songs, it is quite long (almost 12 minutes), but I wouldn’t describe as dragged out (which is quite a feat for a 12-minute song). All in all, it’s one of the most epic songs I’ve ever heard – I’ll even go as far as to say that it’s second only to Ghost Love Score, and if you know me, that’s saying something.

Without further ado, here is “Elements” by Stratovarius:

Featured Lyrics:

Elements — Wind, Fire, Water, Earth — Elements
(That’s what life’s made of)
Elements — Fear, Anger, Sorrow, Joy — Elements
(That’s what I’m made of)

You can find the full lyrics in the description of the video.

I hope you’ve enjoyed it!