STRATOVARIUS - "A Concept Album Without A Concept!" Page 3
By Martin Popoff

With respect to the profusion of real orchestration on the album, Jens remembers best the... accordion. "One thing I thought that was quite funny was that the guy who did the orchestrations for the record, he has a brother who plays the accordion. So he wrote in a bunch of nice accordion parts and we actually ended up taking most of them out, this really crazy accordion shit he wrote in there. Because of course, he was excited to do this project. But there still is some accordion. You can hear it in the middle of 'Fantasia'. But I mean, the stuff that is left, is actually very, very nice. I think the stuff that got cut out was like accordion speed metal, polka accordion. But the way it is now, it fits perfectly. I think it's the first metal album that has accordion on. I think that's definitely a first (laughs)."

And again, when asked how the Stratovarians can conceivably keep their heads above the phalanx of bands plowing this same terrain, Jens swings back to the crux of the band, which is melody. "Well, of course, as all those other bands get better, the differences will be less clear. But I think what distinguishes us might be the focus on melody. The material has been evolving somewhat. I wouldn't say it's evolved the way that say, Miles Davis' stuff has evolved. The core idea is still there, which is to have somewhat melodic kernels in each song that you remember. And I think, a lot of the bands you hear, they sort of latch onto other aspects of it, like the speed or the production or something like that. But they forget about the melodic aspect. I would tend to say that the true path to people's hearts is to make good melody first, and then you put that other stuff around it. Melody first, then metal. It could be some other music than metal, even. Who the f**k knows? It's certainly seems that's the way it's heading, with all these accordions and stuff. Maybe in ten years the drums will be gone, who knows? But the melodies will still be there. And I don't think you can say that about Blind Guardian. In Blind Guardian, there will always be drums."

No, I suppose you couldn't say that Blind Guardian is planning an accordion album.

"Exactly (laughs). I mean, who knows? Maybe it will evolve... I can honestly say that it's closer to the realm of possibility that the drums disappear. That's what distinguishes us from the other bands. Not that I think they will. Now you'll probably be disappointed (laughs)."