Stratovarius - _Infinite_
(Nuclear Blast, 2000)
by: Paul Schwarz (
Coming soaring and wailing from the Helloween school of heavy metal, Stratovarius immediately land on rather unstable ground as far as I am concerned. This high-pitched and unashamedly melody-driven breed of heavy metal can degenerate into horrific cheese at the drop of a hat, though for the band that can walk its line with skill, it has the potential to produce truly wondrous results. With these lines of battle drawn, _Infinite_ turns out to just what you might expect: a hit and miss affair. The likes of "Hunting High and Low" or "Infinity" have me wailing (probably hideously out of tune... but you'll just have to ask the neighbours about that one) along to chorus and catchy verse line alike and air-guitaring like I should be permed and suited in spandex (for those super-serious nineties metal hardboys reading: these are -good- things). However, "Freedom" or "Glory of the World" are prime examples of where Stratovarius have crossed that subtle line between excelling and indulging. It's definitely one for the Helloween/HammerFall fraternity; _Inifinite_ more or less equals these bands' most recent albums quality-wise, though it offers a slightly different take on the same melodic, chorus-centric style.
(article published 5/25/2000)
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