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Stratovarious | Intermission | review | metal | Lollipop

Stratovarious

Intermission (Nuclear Blast)
by Scott Hefflon

Stratovarious' last record, Infinite, went gold. Shows how much the naysayers know, huh? And then, at their peak, the band decides to take a much-needed break. Hence the title Intermission. So this puppy's a compilation of four new tracks (the first four, which are mostly of the power ballad sort, but "The Curtains are Falling" is an okay stormer and "Requiem" is a sweet, teenie ballerina of an instrumental, perhaps a little obvious and belabored, but light and fluffy and kinda cheesily touching in a "Will You Follow the Sign?" meets Vangelis' "Theme" kind of way), recent covers of Priest ("Bloodstone") and Rainbow ("Kill the King") from well-received tributes, a couple live tracks (another freakin' Rainbow cover and the band's own crowd-pleaser, "Hunting High and Low"), and seven tracks previously available only in Japan and/or France. Most of the fist-bangers are solid and pleasurable (though perhaps lacking the luster of the best of the bunch, which is probably why they were passed over the first time 'round), and while I shiver every time I hear yet another over-emoting, over-reaching hair ballad, hell, I went through my "What? Chicks dig it when you know all the words to their favorite songs and I like fuckin' chicks, OK?" phase, so I can understand metal doods not wanting to wank it when they have the option of just gritting their teeth and bearing this warbling pussy shit. Like any good heavy metal record, it's over an hour long. And if the cover's not Derek Riggs' new computer art style, it sure looks it.
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