Timo Tolkki and co. release their albums with the precision of a clockwork, and there hasn't been any bad one yet. Now we have "Infinite" and it is NOT among the best the Finns have released so far.
Well, now many might be interested in the reasons for this thesis. Well, on of the main points of criticism is that this album lacks freshness and spontaneity, everything seems to be a little too planned. And the second point bears two words: "Mother Gaia". OK, some might speak of an "ambitious piece", with its middle part obviously influenced by QUEEN's "Bohemian Rhapsody", but I just think that it is plainly boring. They should have induced a bit more swing into the whole song (yes, also slow tracks can have power) and even more they could have shortened it a lot, so it is the low of the past albums for me.
That they still are able to rock, or rather metal, is proven by the fast "Millennium" and "Phoenix" and they also haven't lost the knack for ballads yet, just take "Celestial Dream". The whole spectrum of Power Metal also is caught within the almost-title-track "Infinity" with its 9:22 minutes.
The strength of STRATOVARIUS always has been and still are the powerful tracks, ballads had misfired before, just take "Years Go By" from "Destiny"...
So, who doesn't know STRATOVARIUS so far, should either get "Visions" or "Episode", because "Infinite" is a good, but without doubt no great album.