2003’s Elements Pt. 2 record is the Finnish Melodic Power Metal band Stratovarius’ tenth full-length studio album. As the name suggests it is the second part of the Elements series and was preceded by Elements Pt.1 earlier the same year. Both the Elements records saw the band, who had taken a long break prior to their recording, rethinking the formula that they’d been mining for the last few records slightly, and head in an even more Progressive direction than before.
While Pt.1 balanced typical Stratovarius singles and instrumentals with lengthy, epic-in-scope material, Pt.2 balances the usual Stratovarius ballads with mostly slower mid-paced tracks. It feels something like the band’s equivalent to the Black Album in as much as the halving of speed and the focus on more groovy, restrained styles. Opener ‘Alpha & Omega’ says it all really, it’s a big, mean sounding groover.
Luckily while it is somewhat of a departure, it gives the band a chance to try things they haven’t done so much before… there’s a lot more toms than on other records, there’s more low-register vocals, they aren’t just repeating old glories. Also; While on the Destiny album you could pick up slight hints of Queensryche if you listened carefully, this one has a few Dream Theater whiffs that make you think you haven’t heard this stuff from Stratovarius before. Its up to you whether you enjoy the change in style of course, but for me it works well and sits happily beside other records in their discography in terms of quality. ‘Awaken The Giant’ is something I’m glad I have in my collection.
If you are skeptical of too much change however, there’s still a few big sing-along moments that would be a joy in any concert, such as the Alcoholics Anonymous themed ‘Know The Difference,’ the speedier ‘I’m Still Alive’ and the Electric-Eye-reminiscent hit single ‘I Walk To My Own Song.’ These should keep fans of the ‘90s material happy.
Of the two Elements albums, I feel this one is the stronger. There are less cheesy moments, for me it feels more like an album and flows better. There’s nothing I feel the overwhelming need to skip or fast-forward through. Overall; It isn’t typical Stratovarius fare, and I wouldn’t make it my first purchase as a newcomer, but I don’t think it should be ignored either – there’s plenty to enjoy and the slower moodier stuff is a welcome string to their bow.