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Articles Home » 2010 Articles » Stratosphere - 2010 Fire Flight
Stratosphere - 2010 Fire Flight

ARTIST: Stratosphere
ALBUM: Fire Flight
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2010


LINEUP: Goran Edman - vocals * Jonas Larsen - guitars * Jim McCarty - drums * Anders Borre Mathiesen - bass * Jeppe Lund - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Russian Summer * 02 The Battle Within * 03 Enemy Of My Soul * 04 Street Of Moscow * 05 Rendezvous * 06 Shining Star * 07 China Girl * 08 Princess Of The Night * 09 VIP * 10 Fire Flight


Don'tcha just love the album cover? For me one of the best of the year, along with the band name, and of course a return to that full brash melodic rock sound that we associate with vocalist Goran Edman. He's sung with a few outfits in the past, Yngwie Malmsteen, Kharma, Brazen Abbot to name a couple. I'd add in Street Talk as well, but they play in a different style to those mentioned before. And that's ultimately how we should be considering Stratosphere in the overall scheme of things. There is a considerable Malmsteen presence thanks to the obvious guitar lines presented by Jonas Larsen, the keyboard work of Jeppe Lund also adds to the flavour, his work similar to Jens Johansson. So, are Stratosphere walking the fine line of Malmsteen escapists? Umm yes, put it this way, they are not as blatant as Richard Andersson And Space Odyssey for instance, but unfortunately they are still tarred with the same brush, and any thoughts of originality went out the window after listening to 'Fire Flight'.

The Songs
The album starts reasonably enough with 'Russian Summer', the song tempered with some melodic keyboards and a definite symphonic style. Moving things into bombast mode is 'The Battle Within', a solid track with a full sound all the way through the backline. 'Enemy Of My Soul' is a hybrid ballad/mid-tempo affair, and is held with restraint for the most part. 'Streets Of Moscow' harks back to Malmsteen's 'Odyssey' material, namely 'Hold On', where there are a number of similarities. This is a good song nonetheless. However, things take a turn for the worst after listening to 'Rendezvous' which left me dead cold. It's an instrumental, and as you can guess, the ghost of Yngwie lives on in the fingers of Jonas Larsen. Why oh why did he have to go and spoil things by trying to cram as many notes into four minutes of blur? I immediately port to the next track 'Shining Star' which is clearly a stand-out on the CD. Good structure, everything coming together nicely, though I frown as soon as I hear the solo. When Larsen resists the urge to widdle, the results are promising. Check out 'China Girl', whereby this sounds more cohesive. Edman is the 'go-to' man for the ballad 'Princess Of The Night', his cause strengthened by a lovely chorus though the guitar solo has me reaching for the fast forward button. 'VIP' is a much better attempt at being something other than YM. The intro is a keyboard landscape topped with a nice melodic guitar line, it soon takes off into a fast paced workout with Edman leading the charge yet again. The last spot on the card is the instrumental title track 'Fire Flight'. I gave this one a big miss as soon as I detected the 'notes per minutes' ratio went well into exponential numbers. Pass.

In Summary
As I'm not a big Malmsteen fan anymore, Stratosphere are already docked points because of that connection. With there being two utterly pointless instrumental tracks, the docking continues. At one point I asked myself whether this was a band album or a Jonas Larsen solo album with guests! A bit unfair, probably, but I came away from this more frustrated than excited. Overall, Stratosphere offer something of value, of course it may be of value to some of you, just not to me. Despite Goran Edman wearing the lifejacket that helps keep this album barely afloat, some of the others do their best to sink the ship. Certainly someone needs to introduce Larsen to someone other than Malmsteen. How about You Tube?

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#1 | Eric on October 30 2010 21:03:16
Was kind of excited about this, after the above not so much. Good to know before plopping down $$...
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