The album sees the band incorporating much more of a progressive attitude into their sound; and really leaning heavily on synths, acoustics, choirs, strings etc. Most of the tracks are lengthy multifaceted compositions that each sound like the album closer on a normal album.
In some ways, the music is also a little more flowery than their previous work and some stricter Metal fans may find things a bit beyond the threshold of their tastes. There’s an almost symphonic feel going on here. If you aren’t generally a huge Queen fan, or frequently find yourself disliking cheesiness or pomp, then I’d recommend a try-before-you-buy attitude to this record. On the other hand, if you love things big, bombastic, dynamic and slightly progressive (yet really polished and slick) then tracks like “Papillon” “Fantasia” and the moody Title Track should be right up your street.
Regardless of musical direction, Elements Part 1 can feel a little uneven at times. There are a few moments like the opener, the brilliant catchy single “Eagle Heart,”” as well as the superb virtuosic instrumental “Stratofortress,” the melodic “Learning To Fly,” and the heavier “Find Your Own Voice” that really shine, but you can miss out on that on initial listening’s because something about the tracklisting feels ever so slightly off. It doesn’t flow right to my own ears, and this can take the power away from songs. I recommend re-aranging the tracks from shortest to longest, which seems to rectify this.
Overall; This is an album that saw the band in a transitional period, moving from their more direct and speedy past, to their more progressive future. It isn’t flawless, and some of the material can be a bit overwhelming at times, but there is still a lot of good to be found here. I wouldn’t recommend you make this your first Stratovarius album, but if you already like the band its certainly worth investigating.