Metal Insider contributor Anthony Maisano is listening to a different metal album that was released on that day every day this year. Today, it’s Stratovarius’ second album, alternately titled II (in Finland) and Twilight Time (elsewhere), which was released on February 20, 1992.
Most people know Stratovarius as the band that current singer Timo Koltipelto fronts. However, for the first three albums, guitarist Timo Tolkki sang for the band. I much prefer the Timo Tolkki fronted version of Strato. Their third album, Dreamspace, is one of the only three albums ever that I consider to be perfect. This album isn’t quite as good as that one, but it’s still great. It’s dark, heavy power metal. I love Tolkki’s voice. He shows great range in songs like “Break the Ice.” His guitar work is as solid as always. Especially the solos. “The Hands of Time” is a song that is just amazingly powerful for me. It’s got a great mix of a sad, but uplifting sound at the same time that I always love. It’s one of my favorite Stratovarius tracks.
There are some tracks on the album that don’t have quite as much staying power as others. It’s an album that I believe seriously has highs and lows. It’s also not the album that fans of “mainstream” Stratovarius would expect. It doesn’t have insane Jens Johansson keyboard work, and it’s not as fast as most later albums. It’s an album that takes some getting used to.
Favorite Tracks: “The Hands of Time,” “The Hills Have Eyes,” “Break the Ice.”
I totally recommend this album. It’s especially good for someone who wants to see the stereotypical power metal mold broken. It’s certainly got a more dark tone when it comes to the genre. It’s not flawless, and when it comes to early Strato, I will always recommend Dreamspace, but this is still a really enjoyable album. Give this one a listen, and if you like this one, don’t miss Dreamspace!