Classic Review: Stratovarius “Dreamspace” [T&T Records]

Classic Review: Stratovarius “Dreamspace” [T&T Records]

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Score 63%
Summary
63 %
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Widely inspired by Helloween‘s Keeper‘s saga, “Dreamspace” represents a step back from what would become the band’s definitive sound. Still, it is even more decent than the albums brought out afterward. The proposal in this release is interesting, the musical ideas are brilliant at moments, and the atmosphere perfectly fits the intended context of the album. However, it tends to become dull in certain moments, and there are certain flaws in the songwriting department, giving as a result very forgettable moments. Indeed, the listener is punished, for instance, with numbers like the lengthy cheesy ballad “Tears of Ice” or the slow-paced “Abyss.” Both numbers ended up demonstrating that their creative potentials were not adequately exploited, more so, taking into account the kind of stuff they were able to develop in previous albums.

Although the fast-paced numbers tend to start with glorious intro-riffs, the reality is that they tend to lose punch. Their choruses feature guitar riffs that are merely repetitions of the “Freewheel Burning” intro-riff, which suddenly get lost as soon as the choruses progress. “Chasing Shadows” begins menacingly, showing itself as a very promising number, but it is easy to get disappointed when the chorus kicks-in. In any case, the chorus is rescued by the power-chords introduced in-between the Freewheel Burning stylized riffs. “We Are the Future” is another example, though it is way cheesier than the opening track, especially the chorus. Not everything is lost when all is said and done. “Shattered” is an astonishing number that recalls the band’s speed metal juggernaut “Future Shock” and contains similar rhythmic patterns to those from Motörhead‘s hit “Ace of Spades,” this should be the best number in here. The mid-paced “Reign of Terror” is also a tremendous number that features a riff-obsessed and penetrating guitar performance seemingly inspired by the 90s Megadeth style.

The proggy side is also well exploited in some cases. The title track runs in a very astonishing fashion, mainly in the drumming performance. It gets better when the atmosphere is less highlighted, and a more vicious guitar playing is included. It does not mean that the atmosphere is terrible; it is very impacting. Perhaps, a good comparison could be “The Sorcerer” by the Lords of the Crimson Alliance, though the latter is a more forceful and balanced US power metal number. That said, the album is a combination of glorious moments, powerful tracks, and boring slow-paced stuff and ballads. It is worth it to insist on the need for an enhanced and more forceful guitar playing to improve the album and make it a Euro power metal masterpiece. Regardless of its flaws, the release is still a decent work, considering the crap released in Italy and Finland during those years.

Release date: February 9th, 1994

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About the author

Ballcrushingmetal
I have been for more than 15 years into classic rock and 70s and 80s metal music, and have been writing reviews for more than 4 years. As a reviewer, I'm primarily focused on the most classic subgenres of metal music, and have heard the same in different formats.

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