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Considering I’m a huge fan of melodic and power metal, Stratovarius have never been an absolute must for me. I have many of their albums but they don’t find their way into my CD player as much as other bands of those genres. A lot of it has to do with the fact that I didn’t idolise Timo Tolkki like many Stratovarius fans did and I have actually preferred the albums released since his departure. With that in mind, I am very much looking forward to new album ‘Nemesis’ which will be released on the 22nd February. In the meantime, the band have seen fit to release the ‘Unbreakable’ EP which contains one new track (funnily enough, the title track) and four remastered songs from previous releases and that, dear readers, is a problem for me.

I am struggling to see the validity of this less than a month before the full album. Having not received a press release with the EP I ventured onto the band’s website and it says that these older songs “show a different, catchy side of Stratovarius and guide the way to the new masterpiece Nemesis”. By all means, in this unfortunate digital age, release the new song to download but, if you’re going to do an EP, make it worthwhile and do not release it so close to the album (look at the band FM for how brilliant an EP can be). Okay, so these older tracks have been remastered, but they aren’t staggeringly different from the originals and most Stratovarius fans will, of course, already have them. If it had been me I would have released the new song 2-3 months ago and put a couple of live or rare tracks with it instead. It would have made a great pre-Christmas release and probably gained more exposure. The quote and the timing just make this feel like a bit of a cash-in to me.

All of this is a shame because the song ‘Unbreakable’ is actually very good in a poppy sort of way. It’s extremely catchy with the keyboards shining through and shows a slightly different direction for the band. Now, many Stratovarius fans might be worried about that but I would suggest it has been written with ‘single’ in mind, there is no guitar solo as such (almost as if a solo would have made it less commercial) but Timo Kotipelto’s voice is sounding very good on this and the song as a whole does exactly what it says on the tin. So a 7 for the new track but for the EP as a whole I’m afraid it has to be marked down. Wait for the album instead.
Review by Rick Tilley
28th Jan 2013
1) Unbreakable
2) Falling Star
3) The Game Never Ends
4) Freedom
5) Why Are We Here
"I am struggling to see the validity of this less than a month before the full album."