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When I reviewed the ‘Unbreakable’ EP last month I said that it was an unnecessary release but that I was very much looking forward to this full length album. Now that I have it in my hands do I still feel the same? Well, the answer is a resounding YES! Stratovarius have just delivered a melodic power metal beast and have totally restored my faith in them as a band. Even though the last two albums have been good, ‘Nemesis’ has ‘classic’ written all over it and is by far my favourite ever Stratovarius album. I just cannot stop listening to this.

Having already heard the track ‘Unbreakable’ on the EP I knew that was good but all 11 songs on ‘Nemesis’ (there is a thirteen track edition as well) are just as good, if not better. I have never heard Stratovarius sounding so cohesive. It’s as if their previous ‘issues’ have once and for all been banished to the proverbial ‘metal bin’ and they can finally let the music do the talking. If you want or love ‘catchy’ metal then this should be the album you hunt down to buy; the melody on these songs is infectious. From the opening bars of ‘Abandon’ to final ballad ‘If The Story Is Over’ the smile on my face is immediate and unflinching. There is some quite outstanding guitar and keyboard interplay on ‘Nemesis’, giving the album an almost pop undercurrent, but please don’t let that statement concern you, this is melodic metal at its best. Timo Kotilpelto has never sounded better either; his voice perfectly matches the music.

‘Nemesis’ has also been quite beautifully produced by Matias Kupiainen and mastered by Mika Jussila; all the instruments and vocals are well balanced and this adds to the cohesive feel. Apparently, Kupiainen spent four months in the studio working at this and it shows. Sometimes quick, raw and ‘live’ works best in the studio (see Black Country Communion), but this rich sounding production works so well for Stratovarius. As I also mentioned in the EP review, I never idolised Timo Tolkki like many people and ‘Nemesis’ is proof positive that the band do not need him in their ranks. Quite frankly, in my opinion, this blows any of the albums that included him out of the water. We are still very early in the year, but I already have a couple of contenders for my top ten ‘end of year list’ and ‘Nemesis’ is one of those.
Review by Rick Tilley
25th Feb 2013
1) Abandon
2) Unbreakable
3) Stand My Ground
4) Halcyon Days
5) Fantasy
6) Out of the Fog
7) Castles in the Air
8) Dragons
9) One Must Fall
10) If the Story is Over
11) Nemesis
"...this is melodic metal at its best."