By now, releasing their third full length, Stargazery is becoming a bigger name on the melodic power metal stage. The Finns have made a name for themselves recreating the early 2000’s style of Sonata Arctica high energy, positive power metal oozing with melody and epic choruses. Constellation is their third full length and with it they prove to double down on all of the cheese and flair of the first two, in an ode to the old school that this year’s so far bleak release schedule has sorely needed. Having switched out a few members since their latest release, Stars Aligned (2015), Stargazery give a cohesive effort grounded in the love for power metal and in the vein of what Ukrainian outfit Sunrise has been about the last few years.
The first few songs open up the album in a fairly predictable manner, yet set the stage for what’s to be expected for the coming of the rest of the album. In many cases it’s a very standard affair, and just about what one would expect. The array of songs do the things they’re supposed to and thanks to the solid songwriting and musicianship it never gets boring. Blending in heavy metal elements and an AOR like presence makes for an easy listen that demands little, yet there are small intricacies that reward on further listens, like the sweet little bass intro that opens Ripple the Water or the weighty rhythms and subtle tempo shifts accentuated by orchestral keyboards in closer Raise the Flag. The album takes a small downturn with inexplicably slow I Found Angels but quickly turns on the heat again as the title track - by far the strongest track of the bunch - hits like a speedy melodic wind and an ode to the olden days, not only a decent song, its massive leads and furious tempo has all the makings of a classic power metal anthem.
Still, there’s more to the album and to Stargazery’s style than just the power metal antics presented in the highlights. The aforementioned heavy metal aspects make it apt for fans of Pretty Maids and the likes while the AOR stylistics hint of Place Vendome inspiration. Comparing Constellations to the latest what-have-you of the obvious source of inspiration - Sonata Arctica’s Talviyö (2019) - this album shows that not everyone has forgotten about the once huge impact of Finnish power metal and that the flag of melodic power metal still flies proud in Nordic winds. There are great melodic moments, flashy solos to go around and just an all around fun listen. Stargazery don’t present anything groundbreaking or very innovative, but they give an honest effort to provide cheesy power metal; it won’t be for every occasion and it won’t be for everyone, but when it hits, it hits the spot.
Standout tracks: Ripple the Water, Constellation, Raise the Flag