Stratovarius is a power metal band from Finland. They became popular in the 90's, and through their career have widely inspired newcoming power metal bands with their baroque arranged keyboard solos & Ritchie Blackmore-like guitar portions - most noticably their so-called heir, Sonata Arctica.STRATOVARIUS GENRES
Stratovarius was founded in Finland in 1984 under the name Black Water. They went through a number of personnel and musical changes before the band found its own voice. The founding members were Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman and John Vihervä. By 1985, Timo Tolkki entered the band, replacing Stråhlman in the guitar and changed the name to Stratovarius, a combination of Stratocaster and Stradivarius. He took up the vocal duties as well. Tolkki became the driving force and mastermind of the band, assuming relatively complete control of the song writing. He brought along not only strong rock influences, but also a neo-classical tinge. The band released a demo to various record companies by 1987, finally being picked up by CBS Finland. In 1989, their debut album Fright Night was released, followed by two singles.
After being dropped by CBS, the band went through several member changes, but they managed to release on another label and they also toured a bit. In 1994 they released their third album, Dreamspace, featuring new bass player Jari Kainulainen, (who joined the band as 70% of the new material was already recorded) which was a great success. Tolkki decided to stop singing for the band, and they hired a new full-time singer, Timo Kotipelto. The release of Fourth Dimension in 1995 was a great success, but internal differences in the band, particularly of the style the band was going for, prompted the departure of long-time drummer Tuomo Lassila and keyboardist Antti Ikonen. Two new non-Finnish members were recruited: Swedish keyboardist Jens Johansson, of Yngwie Malmsteen fame; and German drummer Jörg Michael. With the fifth release Episode, Stratovarius had finally found its sound and had a strong, diverse line-up. Episode was a grand project, featuring a large choir and a string orchestra. It spawned some of the all-time greatest Stratovarius hits, such as "Father Time" and "Will The Sun Rise".
This line-up released three hugely successful albums over the years: Visions in 1997, Destiny in 1999, and Infinite in 2000. With every album, their fame and fan-base expanded, and they started gaining a stronger following outside the nordic countries, particularly in Japan.
In 2003, the band released its most epic project yet, the two album suite named Elements. With these albums, they reached a peak in their progressive and symphonic style of power-metal. The first album, Elements pt. 1, was released in early 2003, followed by a world tour. Elements pt. 1 was naturally followed by Elements pt. 2, also released on Nuclear Blast records in the same year with the hit single "I Walk To My Own Song".
In late 2003, the band broke up, with Timo Kotipelto and Jörg Michael leaving after a very vaguely explained conflict. Tolkki hired a new singer, Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala, and Anders Johansson of Hammerfall (Jens's brother) temporarily on drums. Tolkki's behaviour rapidly began to become extremely strange. He published a long news article on the band's website, detailing how he had converted to Kabbalah after reading Madonna's autobiography and being contacted by Jesus himself. He wrote extensively on the principles of Kabbalah, but according to some Jewish forum members, this has nothing to do with any actually practiced form of it. The webmaster removed the news article from the site. Then Tolkki even stabbed himself to shoulder, first claiming that a crazy spanish fan had done that because of band had broken up. Tolkki also phoned Anders Johansson, speaking nonsense about Adolf Hitler – Anders freaked out and left the band. Nobody really understood the situation and fans were worried about Timo's mental condition. In April 2004, he was hospitalised with chronic depression and a nervous breakdown, and after being released from the mental hospital, negotiations and attempts at reconciliation with the rest of the band began. The rest of 2004 was virtually complete silence from the band.
In January 2005, an announcement was released that Stratovarius had reunited with the old line-up. Tolkki seemed to have recovered from his strange illness. In June 2005, Timo Tolkki announced that the band's bassist, Jari Kainulainen, had left the band due to personal reasons. He was since replaced by Lauri Porra.
Stratovarius then released the self-titled album Stratovarius in September 2005, featuring the popular single "Maniac Dance". During this time, Stratovarius began a world tour starting in Argentina, including a North American leg, where they toured the United States and Canada for the first time in the band's history. They played at such events as Atlanta's "Prog Power", and in well-known venues such as "B.B. King's House Of Blues" in New York and Philadelphia's "Trocadero Theatre". The tour also included some European and Japanese cities.
Timo Tolkki has announced that he is currently composing new songs for next album. The style of the music will be similar to Episode and Visions; albums that the band gained its popularity from. The album will be released between October 2007 and February 2008.
Melodic Power Metal
STRATOVARIUS LYRICAL THEMES
Religion, Life, Space, Nature, Fantasy
Finland (Helsinki), formed in 1984
STRATOVARIUS CURRENT RECORD LABEL
STRATOVARIUS CURRENT LINE-UP
Timo Tolkki - Guitars (1985-) (+Vocals 1985-94, +Bass 1992)
Timo Kotipelto - Vocals (1994-04, 2005-) (Filthy Asses)
Jens Johansson - Keyboards (1995-) (Johansson, ex-Yngwie J. Malmsteen, ex-Dio, Silver Mountain, Adrián Barilari, guest, The Johansson Brothers, guest on Russell Allen's Atomic Soul, Mastermind (US), Thunderstone)
Lauri Porra - Bass (2005-) (Gashouse Garden, Kotipelto, Sinergy, TunnelVision, Warmen, ex-Almah)
Jörg Michael - Drums (1995-04, 2005-) (Avenger (Ger), ex-Axel Rudi Pell, Beto Vázquez Infinity (Guest), Der Riß, ex-Grave Digger, Headhunter (Ger), House Of Spirits, ex-Mekong Delta, ex-Rage (Ger), ex-Running Wild, ex-Saxon, ex-Tom Angelripper, ex-Unleashed Power, Laos, Schwarz Arbeit)
STRATOVARIUS PREVIOUS LINE-UP
Staffan Stråhlman (1984-85)
Jari Kainulainen (1993-05) (Evergrey, Elias Viljanen, Mess, ex-Kotipelto, ex-Warmen)
John Vihervä (1984)
Jyrki Lentonen (1984-89)
Jari Behm (1992-93)
Antti Ikonen (1988-95) (Timo Tolkki)
Tuomo Lassila (1984-95) (+Vocals1984-85) (Conquest (Fin), Timo Tolkki)