on August 12, 2003
I've just recently became a Stratovarius fan this year and have now listened to all their CDs over and over and over. I have to say that not only do I think Visions is the band's BEST CD, I think this is one of the GREATEST albums EVER. Every track on this cd is great. I cannot even pick 1 or 2 songs that I think are the best, because I think that besides Holy Light, Before the Winter and Coming Home (which are still good songs), the other 7 songs are simply AWESOME. The title track is a 10 minute masterpiece that ends the CD perfectly. That final chorus simply blows me away. If anyone says this track is too long, they are SORELY mistaken. The song is so good, it doesn't even seem like 10 minutes. I wish it was longer. Try listening to this song with headphones on your home stereo and crank it up as loud as your ears can take. The affect is AMAZING.
If I HAD to pick my 3 favorite tracks, they would have to be "Paradise", "Legions" and "Abyss of your Eyes" with the others (first 3 tracks) certainly NOT TOO FAR BEHIND. In fact I might even say it's a 7-way tie. That's how much I love this CD.
Stratovarius has taken Hard Rock to whole new level especially starting with the Timo K era and all their 6 Timo K cds are great but Visions is a TRUE MASTERPIECE of music. Any hard rock fan will like this album to some degree. If not, then they don't appreciate good/creative music.
It's only a shame that Stratovarius is not even heard of here in the United States (nor ever on tour here) because we can SURE use their talent over here because today's hard rock bands in the United States simply stink. And that's putting it mildly. Look who we have over here, System of a Down, POD and Drowning Pool? PLEASE!!! Those bands are sickening compared to Strato. Whenever I saw the song "Drops of Jupiter" by Train win the Grammy for best rock song of the year a couple of years ago, I said "never again will I ever watch the Grammys". How can a song LIKE THAT win when you have Stratovarius songs (pick any one) that can raise your adrenalin level to the highest meter mark?
Thank God for Stratovarius! I'll show my support for this band ALWAYS even if it means buying their CDs over the internet if I cannot find it here. They are a mountain of talent and have proved it with Visions.
BUY THIS CD NOW. You won't regret it. It's worth all 5 stars.
on June 19, 2005
I'll keep this review short and to the point, seeing as how I don't listen to this record all too often. Stratovarius, hailing from Finland, are one of the most well-known acts in the power metal scene. Forming in the mid-80s, they released a long string of albums beginning with Fright Night (1989). Visions is their sixth (if I am correct) album, released in 1997 under Modern Music. Highlights include opener "The Kiss of Judas", anthemic single "Black Diamond", the vocal-driven "Forever Free", chilling ballad "Before the Winter" and the fast headbanger "Legions". The album features energetic riffs and killer solos from Timo Tolkki, some insane drumming from Jorg Michael, complemented by Timo Kotipelto's soaring voice. Although I think Kotipelto's vocals could have been a little better, and some songs too, Visions is a great metal album reinventing the classic style of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Check it out if you're into this genre, especially for fans of Hammerfall and Sonata Arctica.
on July 1, 2005
Visions re-defined the sound of 90's Power Metal. One of the greatest albums in this genre and the one that inspired many forthcoming bands, and sadly yes, copied by so many bands nowadays. Visions totally blew my mind when I first heard it and "Kiss of Judas" is still one of my very favourites with unbelievably haunting melody and superb guitar solo and drumming. Other great songs are "Black Diamond" (or is it "Live Diamond", heh), atmospheric "The Abyss of Your Eyes", catchy "Paradise" and beautiful "Coming Home". I've always liked more of mid-tempo and emotional Stratovarius songs over those speedy ones.
I still rank Episode a little higher than Visions, because it was more emotional and humble effort with better lyrics. Visions is somewhat easier and slightly more commercial than previous albums. Still, all Strato albums following this one feel more or less insignificant and I think Stratovarius will never achieve the same sheer power of Visions. It's almost perfect album when it comes into this kind of music. Recommended!
on June 23, 2005
"Visions" is by far and away the crowning moment in the musical history of Stratovarius. I thoroughly enjoyed the dreamy landscapes on "Twilight Time", the experimental splendor of "Dreamspace" and the epic grandure of "Fourth Dimension". But I'll reveal an embarassing truth about "Visions"...the first time I ever heard the opening track "Black Diamond", I became incontinent...that's how stunning this music was and is today! I also still get chills (at the very least) from the amazing song "Paradise", potentially my favorite Strat song ever! Yes, these boys have had their share of line-up changes over the years now and are getting washed out in a power metal scene that is overflowing with flashier material with updated sound. But this band was one of (if not THE) the true pioneers of the power metal genre as we define it today. And their willingness to stay devoted to music like this at a time when, at least in The United States, more bands were having financial success rapping and grunging, should never be forgotten or under-appreciated! All hail Stratovarius and their remarkable late 90's accomplishment with "Visions". An album that I still keep a box of Depends* in close proximity for, just in case I decide to listen to! 5/5 *****!
on October 22, 1999
Without any doubt, this is the best Stratovarius album, and surely it is one of the best metal releases of all times. Everything is outstanding: cool melodies, great energy and an incredible line-up (Tolkki and Johansson are two of the best player in the international scene, Jorg Michael is simply a force of nature, but listen to Visions if you really want to understand!). This album has no weak point or bad tracks, and songs like Black Diamond, Legions, Visions (a ten minutes masterpiece) are the best examples of what we call power metal of the last 10 years. But in my opinion, the best thing of Stratovarius sound is the perfect union between melody and the tipical power of heavy metal, so also who usually doesn't listen to metal could appreciate this fantastic band.
on August 1, 2012
I really have to say that I don't think anyone else can blow away the typical metal stereotypes as good as these guys can. Only recently did I come across Stratovarius, and now I am a huge fan of theirs.
Beautiful melodies and harmonies, fused with high-flying vocals, and amazing neoclassical guitar shred... I really can't ask for more! Like with alot of their albums, some of the songs are really fast and energetic, while others are nice and steady, yet still full of sheer power and emotion. They might not be the most original band in the world, but they are definitely not one of those bands where every one of their songs sound the same. They are what they are, and they are experts at it.
From reading the one-star reviews, all I am getting is that people are just too picky about them not being as much like other bands (i.e. Helloween, Gamma Ray, or Rhapsody of Fire) as they would like them to be. To those people, all I have to say is this: Get over yourselves, and give credit where credit is due! Just accept these guys for what they are, and don't try to make them something they're not.
Overall, this album is epically amazing, and deserves to be in the collection of anyone who has what might be called a soul. So I beg of all those people immersed in the corruptive, brainwashing influence of today's American popular culture: Please go and throw away all those Nickelback, Fall Out Boy, Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park CDs, and get to know Stratovarius for some REAL, honest music.
on January 1, 2002
"Visions" is what might be the finest moment of the legendary Finish power metal band Stratovarious. To be fair, I'll go over the good and bad of this album.
Pro's: Stratovarius utilizes bullet-train power metal drums, simple but catchy riffs, well-ranged vocals, memorable choruses and awesome guitar/keyboard interplay to create songs in a vein that has served as a paragon for so many clones and rip-off's. The Malmsteen-esque soloing of guitarist Timo Tolkki and fingerwork by keyboardist Jens Johansson adds wonderful life to the solid, simple song frameworks. The keys play an important role in Stratovarious' sound, usually using a harpsichord effect, choir "oohs" and "ahhs," or a synthetic guitar. The moments when Tolkki and Johansson will play together, playing the same shred lick simutainiously, are amazing, perhaps best displayed on the instumental "Holy Light." While vocalist Timo Kotipelto leaves a little to be desired in my opinion, he has very good range and the vocal lines are great.
Con's: Stratovarious have a bit of a problem with copying themselves. There are too many bands already doing that for them to be doing the same. I would like to hear a little more complex songwriting, even more guitar/keyboard work, and how about some more classical guitar that is used sparingly but well on "Visions." And I could definitly do without the balads. Don't worry; there are only two, but that is enough to throw a wrench in a non-stop playthrough. Maybe I'm being a little picky with this one, but the lyrics throughout the album are so lame. Almost every song seems to be devoted to some signifigant other.
The bottom line: This is pretty much essential for a big power metal or Stratovarious fan. While I would reccomend this over "Destiny," "Visions" really isn't signifigantly better.
on February 1, 2003
Visions is definitely one of the greatest power-metal albums EVER. The musicians (Timo Tolkki-guitar, Timo Kotipelto-vocals, Jari Kainulainen-bass, Jens Johansson-Keys (EX-Dio/Yngwie Malmsteen and Jörg Michael-drums (ex-Running Wild) are really great and it can be heard on the album. Hese are some kind of info about the songs:
01. "Kiss Of Judas": as the name tells, the song is telling about that kiss which betrayed Jesus. A good opener.
02. "Black Diamond" is one of my favourite songs and one of the best metal songs I know. Its classical intro and powerful chorus are really catchy. The solos are also worth of listening.
03. "Forever Free" is a good, fast successor to Black Diamond. The song isn't as catchy as Black Diamond, but it's still a good song.
04. "Before The Winter" is a kind of slow ballad. Timo Kotipelto shows his skills singing chorus with really high melodies.
05. "Legions" is a fast and catchy one, like Black Diamond -but not as good.
06. "The Abyss Of Your Eyes" is a bit slower song between two fast tracks. Fits to the album "theme".
07. "Holy Light" is fast and melodic instrumental, where Tolkki and Johansson are playing really fast.
08. "Paradise" is kind of straight rock with -once again- goes with high notes of Kotipelto.
09. "Coming Home" is a slow ballad, and this one is better than the fourth track.
10. "Visions (Southern Cross)" is a 10 minutes long song which gives a great end to a great album. Some lyrics of the song are Nostradamus' prophecies. The song is filled with some good melodies.
This album deserves all five stars, althought the really high speed of the solos is sometimes -especially in Before The Winter- quite annoying. A must for anyone who likes melodic metal.
on January 14, 2003
First, there is something I need to say : I first thought this album was really not for me. I found the vocals annoying. But I read recommendations of Stratovarius' "Visions" on the web site of a band I liked at this time, so I decided to give it a try.
This album began to interest me for its magic atmosphere and the opener "Kiss of Judas", which was, at first one of the only songs I found really good. Other songs managed to catch my attention, but I still cannot bear the song "Paradise", most of other reviewers found so great.
Here are my personnal ratings :
Kiss of Judas - A+
I think it's the most standard song. It's really accessible, it has a good chorus. Someone new to Stratovarius can surely hear it without rolling his eyes. It's also my personnal favorite.
Black Diamond - A-
I don't really agree with you saying it is one of the best. The guitar is quite annoying on this one.
Forever free - A-
This one has a good chorus. It's quite generic.
Before the winter - A+
The 2nd high point of the album, in my opinion. It's a wonderful ballad. Those who say Stratovarius is a cold emotionless band take note.
Legions - A
A good and fast rhythm and some of the best guitar riffs of the album. A nice solo.
Abyss of your eyes - A
The best synthesisers sound effects, the most atmospheric song.
Sounds kind of a ballad, but not really. Original.
Holy Light - C+
I don't really like this instrumental. I don't know what instruments the guys are using (sort of middle between guitar and synthesiser), but it sounds cheesy.
Note that I prefer the instrumentals "Episode" and "Stratosphere".
Paradise - D-
The weak point of the album. I hate this song. It starts well on the guitar, but at the first vocal I hear, I switch it off !
"wondering and watching TV" yeah, "many rare species will perish soon and we will be short on food" argh ! what lyrics !
"sacriFICE" "sacriFICE", I hate it ! accents placed on the wrong syllable ... etc ...
Coming home - A
Nice ballad, but it has nothing special.
Visions - C-
The other weak point of the album, in my opinion. It's plain annoying and has no direction. Changes constantly of rhythm and tone.
As a whole, this is a pretty good album. I also like the cover art, like in almost all stratovarius albums.
I like the sort of magic world created, but they should stay in the same logic :
why is it about TV screen on "paradise"?
Don't introduce today's reality in it !
Stratovarius' Line-up :
Timo Tolkki - Guitar
Timo Kotipelto - Vocals
Jari Kainulainen - Bass
Jens Johansson - Keyboards
Jörg Michael - Drums
on August 6, 1999
I am a huge fan of both classical and heavy metal music. When Yngwie Malmsteen hit the scene in the early eighties I was blown away by him. I never thought that anyone would ever be able to write music that seamlessly meshed the two forms as well as he did.
I was wrong.....
Though I do still consider Yngwie's Rising force the benchmark in this genre, I do feel that Stratovarius is a much better songwriting band than any of Yngwie's groups. The instrumental "Holy Light" is far and beyond, and without a shadow of a doubt the most brilliant neo-classical instrumental written in a long, long time. From the blistering intro featuring Jens and Timo's doubling to the absoloutley gorgeous acoustic interlude where Timo plays electric guitars gently in the background like a string section (very reminicent of Brian May) to the mysterious, chugging bass line outro with Timo and Jens trading licks I find myself eagerly anticipating the end so I can hit the back button on the CD player and hear it all again. A fantastic piece of music, and easliy my favorite Stratovarius track.
I will say, however, that I feel that Episode is a better CD, overall. :^)