Stratovarius

Stratovarius
STYLE: , , ORIGIN: FinlandFORMED: 1984LABEL: Nuclear Blast
  • MEMBERS:
  • Timo Kotipelto – lead vocals
  • Matias Kupiainen – guitars, live backing vocals
  • Lauri Porra – bass, live backing vocals
  • Jens Johansson – keyboards
  • Rolf Pilve – drums
BIOGRAPHY

Stratovarius was founded in 1984 in Finland under the name Black Water. They went through a number of personnel, style and name changes before the band found its own voice. The founding members were Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman, and John Vihervä. By 1985, the name had changed to Stratovarius (a combination of Stratocaster and Stradivarius), and guitarist/vocalist Timo Tolkki entered the band, replacing Stråhlman.

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, following two singles. After being dropped by CBS, the band went through several member changes, but they managed to release a second album on another label. In 1994 they released their third album, Dreamspace, featuring new bass player Jari Kainulainen, and after that, a full-time singer joined the band: Timo Kotipelto. The release of Fourth Dimension (featuring Kotipelto on vocals) in 1995 was a great success, but internal differences in the band, particularly about the future musical direction, 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 Scandinavia, 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 followed by Elements pt. 2, also released on Nuclear Blast records the same year.
In January 2005, Stratovarius recorded their self-titled new album which was released in the same year by Sanctuary Records. In June 2005, Jari Kainulainen left the band, and was replaced by Lauri Porra.
In the fall of 2005, Stratovarius was on the road in the US. Stratovarius was at times progressive and experimentally skewed, and a rather dark record. It was a daring and ambitious album which took the band in a new direction.

But unfortunately, dark clouds were shadowing the band’s path once again. In 2005, Sanctuary was starting to have severe financial problems and the whole label collapsed just as the record was released. Much of Sanctuary’s staff was made redundant, the stock price plunged, and banks and other creditors circled the company like vultures. The band played over 100 shows without any support from their record company, appearing at numerous festivals, and a long period of extensive touring all over Europe, Japan and South America began. One highlight was the two month Monster Metal Madness tour together with Shakra and HammerFall. It was a package of true power metal at its best, conquering Europe like an avalanche.

In the meantime, Sanctuary’s financial troubles had really deepened. The band had to enter into a legal process with them to be able to release their next album. But the battle with this giant sinking multinational ship dragged on for more than a year, and it drained a lot of the spirit out of the band. In the end these tough times proved too much for Tolkki.

In April 2008 he left Stratovarius and its debts and troubles behind, and gave the remaining members his blessing to do whatever they want with the band and the legal case, and formed a new band, Revolution Renaissance. The rest of Stratovarius’ members found themselves in legal limbo and with a heavy legal debt, but they were without preconceptions also all working on new music.

The turning point came when a settlement with Sanctuary was finally achieved in late summer 2008.

A burst of creative energy followed. The young and very talented Finnish lead guitarist, Matias Kupiainen, joined the band.

In September 2008 the band found the freedom to go into seclusion for almost a month in a cottage by the sea in a Finnish forest to relax, laugh, write songs, be creative together, and record. And they found themselves being a band reborn. The result is a melodic, powerful, fresh, tight, and technically elaborate new album.

“Polaris” was recorded in fall 2008 at Hästholmen and 5-by-5 studios, Helsinki, Finland. Mixed by the longtime confidant of the band Mikko Karmila the album became another shining polar star at the Northern sky. Powerful melodies mingle with sophisticated arrangements, strong anthems stand alongside heavy songs. 11 songs full of energy, musicianship, and a positive outlook.

“Polaris” saw a worldwide release in late May 2009 on edel/ear music and JVC in Asia. Being such a positive, powerful album it was acclaimed by both Stratovarius fans all over the world and the press. The band supported the release of Polaris with an extended world tour in 2009 and 2010.

Reviews in many well-known metal magazines described “Polaris” as a true Stratovarius album, some even calling it the best since “Destiny”, praising its brilliant melodies, positive approach and vivid style.

The last concert of their Polaris world tour was on 21 August 2010 at the Jazztori Festival in Lahti. Long before that in May 2010 the band started already the first rehearsals for the new record in Sotkamo, Finland. The new found energy and the positive spirits within the band were already proven by “Polaris”, but the long awaited creative boost did not stop there. Stratovarius recorded many demo songs in the course of the summer, coming up regularly with new ideas.

Subsequently the band started working in the 5-by-5 studios, revising their demos and recording the best songs. The new album “Elysium” is produced by Matias Kupiainen who proved to be not only a great musician, but a gifted producer as well. Altogether the whole creative working process within the band got more democratic, integrating the best and most valuable unique talents of all five members in the song writing and recording process very well.

Currently Stratovarius are looking forward to join Helloween on their “7 sinners world tour” as very special guests, which happens to kick off in Vienna on the same day when the first single of “Elysium” will be released – November 26th.

The EP bears the title “Darkest Hour” and consists of five songs. “Darkest hour”, a song about keeping the will to face difficult times in life and ending up being stronger, the demo version of “Darkest hour”, “Infernal Maze”, which is one of the new songs on “Elysium” as well and live recordings of “Against the wind” and “Black Diamond”.

BAND NEWS AND INTERVIEWS

Frontiers Music Srl is excited to announce the return of TIMO TOLKKI’S AVALON with the release of the long awaited third chapter in his metal opera, “Return to Eden” on

April 23, 2019 by Kris Murias

earMUSIC, TARJA and STRATOVARIUS are happy to announce the release of a very special, very limited 10” vinyl single. Only available during their upcoming joined tour, the exclusive picture vinyl is limited

September 26, 2018 by Kris Murias

Finnish metallers STRATOVARIUS are back with a new album — with some fresh and some very rare material. Due on September 28 via earMUSIC, “Enigma: Intermission 2” features three brand new songs as well as,

September 14, 2018 by RichardCadaver

STRATOVARIUS, the top name in the melodic power metal scene, are back with a new album – with some fresh and some very rare material! “ENIGMA: Intermission 2” features three brand new songs as well

August 10, 2018 by Kris Murias

Needless to say that one can await big things when the queen of heavy rock, the brightest star of the symphonic rock scene and certainly the most internationally well-known Finnish female

April 11, 2018 by Kris Murias

Stratovarius frontman Timo Kotipelto recently spoke with Italy’s SpazioRock and discussed playing acoustic gigs with former Sonata Arctica guitarist Jani Liimatainen, performing Stratovarius‘ Visions album in its entirety, and what

January 14, 2018 by Tero Tolkki
DISCOGRAPHY

Eternal / 2015

  • Album Info
  • 2015
  • Edel AG

1. My Eternal Dream
2. Shine In The Dark
3. Rise Above It
4. Lost Without A Trace
5. Feeding The Fire
6. Endless Forest
7. Giants
8. In My Line Of Work
9. Man In The Mirror
10. Few Are Those
11. Fire In Your Eyes
12. Lost Saga

 

Eternal is the fifteenth album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 11 September 2015 (Europe) and 18 September (United States).

Singer Timo Kotipelto composed three tracks and wrote most lyrics together with his Cain’s Offering partner and former Sonata Arctica member Jani Liimatainen.

The band members have described the album as a blend of old school and modern power metal, though this direction was not planned, according to keyboardist Jens Johansson.

Nemesis / 2013

  • Album Info
  • 2013
  • Edel AG

1. Abandon
2. Unbreakable
3. Stand My Ground
4. Halcyon Days
5. Fantasy
6. Out Of The Fog
7. Castles In The Air
8. Dragons
9. One Must Fall
10. If The Story Is Over
11. Nemesis
12. Kill It With Fire
13. Fireborn
14. Hunter
15. Old Man And The Sea

 

Nemesis is the fourteenth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 22 February 2013 through Edel AG.

It is the first Stratovarius album to feature new drummer Rolf Pilve, who replaced Jörg Michael in 2012.

The album was first announced on the band’s official website on 24 November 2012, with the track listing being revealed on 5 December 2012. A preview of “Unbreakable”, the album’s first single, was made available on YouTube and was released on 25 January 2013.

Elysium / 2011

  • Album Info
  • 2011
  • Edel AG

1. Darkest Hours
2. Under Flaming Skies
3. Infernal Maze
4. Fairness Justified
5. The Game Never Ends
6. Lifetime In A Moment
7. Move The Mountain
8. Event Horizon
9. Elysium
10. Castaway
11. Last Shore
12. Hallowed

 

Elysium is the thirteenth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 12 January 2011 through Victor Entertainment(Japan) and on 14 January through Edel AG (worldwide).

It is the last Stratovarius album to feature longtime drummer Jörg Michael, who left the band in 2012. 

Elysium reached No. 1 on the Finnish albums chart, as well as reaching the top 80 in five other countries. “Darkest Hours” was released as a single, reaching No. 4 on the Finnish singles chart.

Polaris / 2009

  • Album Info
  • 2009
  • Edel AG

1. Deep Unknown
2. Falling Star
3. King Of Nothing
4. Blind
5. Winter Skies
6. Forever Is Today
7. Higher We Go
8. Somehow Precious
9. Emancipation Suite Part I: Dusk
10. Emancipation Suite Part II: Dawn
11. When Mountains Fall
12. Second Sight

 

Polaris is the twelfth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 15 May 2009.

It is the first Stratovarius album to feature bassist Lauri Porra and guitarist Matias Kupiainen, following former bassist Jari Kainulainen’s departure from the band in 2005 and former guitarist Timo Tolkki’s departure in 2008.

Timo Kotipelto, who at the time of Polaris‘ release had been a member of Stratovarius in the earliest year (1994) among the current members, considered Polaris to be “the album that saved the band” and said that “without it there would not be any Stratovarius.”

More time passed between the release of Stratovarius’ eponymous album Stratovarius in 2005 and the release of Polaris than between any other two consecutive albums released by the band. Stratovarius in 2006 had recorded a demo album called Revolution Renaissance, performed one Revolution Renaissance song live in August 2007 (“Last Night on Earth”) and according to Kotipelto had intended to release a completed version of Revolution Renaissance in 2008. However, the songs of that album were re-recorded and released in 2008 as New Era, the first album of Tolkki’s new band, Revolution Renaissance, which acquired the album’s prior name.

Polaris reached No. 2 on the Finnish albums chart, as well as reaching the top 70 in five other countries. “Deep Unknown” was released as a single, reaching No. 20 on the Finnish singles chart. In its first week of release, the album sold around 800 copies in the U.S.

Stratovarius / 2005

  • Album Info
  • 2005
  • Sanctuary Records

1. Maniac Dance
2. Fight!!!
3. Just Carry On
4. Back To Madness
5. Gypsy In Me
6. Götterdämmerung (Zenith Of Power)
7. The Land Of Ice And Snow
8. Leave The Tribe
9. United

 

Stratovarius is the self-titled eleventh studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 5 September 2005 through Sanctuary Records.

The album reached No. 4 on the Finnish albums chart as well as the top 100 in six other countries. “Maniac Dance” was released as a single, reaching No. 4 on the Finnish singles chart and the top 100 in three other countries.

It is the last album to feature the band’s longest-standing line-up which had been consistent since Episode (1996), as bassist Jari Kainulainen would leave Stratovarius later in the year, followed by guitarist and bandleader Timo Tolkki in 2008.

Elements Pt. 2 / 2003

  • Album Info
  • 2003
  • Nuclear Blast

1. Alpha & Omega
2. I Walk To My Own Song
3. I’m Still Alive
4. Season Of Faith’s Perfection
5. Awaken The Giant
6. Know The Difference
7. Luminous
8. Dreamweaver
9. Liberty
10. Ride Like The Wind
11. Vapaus (Demo Version)

 

Elements Pt. 2 is the tenth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 4 November 2003 through Nuclear Blast.

The album reached No. 4 on the Finnish albums chart and its single, “I Walk to My Own Song”, reached No. 9 on the Finnish singles chart.

“Know the Difference” track refers to Serenity Prayer in its refrain.

Elements Pt. 1 / 2003

  • Album Info
  • 2003
  • Nuclear Blast

1. Eagleheart
2. Soul Of A Vagabond
3. Find Your Own Voice
4. Fantasia
5. Learning To Fly
6. Papillon
7. Stratofortress
8. Elements
9. A Drop In The Ocean
10. Into Deep Blue
11. Papillon (French Version)
12. Run Away

 

Elements Pt. 1 is the ninth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 22 January 2003 through Nuclear Blast. The album reached No. 2 on the Finnish albums chart, as well as reaching the top 100 in four other countries. “Eagleheart” was released as a single, also reaching No. 2 on the Finnish singles chart.

Infinite / 2000

  • Album Info
  • 2000
  • Nuclear Blast

1. Hunting High And Low
2. Millenium
3. Mother Gaia
4. Phoenix
5. Glory Of The World
6. A Million Light Years Away
7. Freedom
8. Celestial Dream
9. Infinity

 

Infinite is the eighth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 28 February 2000 through Nuclear Blast (Europe) and Victor Entertainment (Japan).

The album reached No. 1 on the Finnish albums chart and remained on that chart for nine weeks, as well as reaching the top 100 in six other countries. “Hunting High and Low” and “A Million Light Years Away” were released as singles, reaching No. 4 and 14 respectively on the Finnish singles chart. Infinite was certified Platinum in June 2013, with 21,907 copies sold.

Four bonus tracks were made available for different international editions: “Why Are We Here?”, “It’s a Mystery”, “What Can I Say?” and “Keep The Flame”, all of which were later released on the band’s 2001 compilation album Intermission.

Destiny / 1998

Stratovarius-Destiny
  • Album Info
  • 1998
  • Noise Records

1. Destiny
2. S.O.S.
3. No Turning Back
4. 4000 Rainy Nights
5. Rebel
6. Years Go By
7. Playing with Fire
8. Venus in the Morning
9. Anthem of the World
10. Cold Winter Nights

Destiny is the seventh studio album by Finnish power metal band Stratovarius, released on October 5, 1998 through Noise Records. It reached No. 1 on the Finnish albums chart and remained on that chart for 17 weeks. “SOS” was released as a single, reaching No. 2 on the Finnish singles chart and remaining on that chart for eleven weeks.

Visions / 1997

Stratovarius-Visions
  • Album Info
  • 1997
  • Noise Records

1. The Kiss of Judas
2. Black Diamond
3. Forever Free
4. Before the Winter
5. Legions
6. The Abyss of Your Eyes
7. Holy Light
8. Paradise
9. Coming Home
10. Visions (Southern Cross)

Visions is the sixth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on April 28, 1997, through Noise Records. The album reached No. 4 on the Finnish albums chart and remained on that chart for 23 weeks. It is a concept album about Nostradamus.

Episode / 1996

Stratovarius-Episode
  • Album Info
  • 1996
  • Noise Records

1. Father Time
2. Will the Sun Rise?
3. Eternity
4. Episode
5. Speed of Light
6. Uncertainty
7. Season of Change
8. Stratosphere
9. Babylon
10. Tomorrow
11. Night Time Eclipse
12. Forever

Episode is the fifth studio album by Finnish power metal band Stratovarius, released on April 22, 1996 through Noise Records. It is the first Stratovarius album to feature keyboardist Jens Johansson and drummer Jörg Michael, both of whom would form part of the band’s most stable line-up for nine years. The album reached No. 21 on the Finnish albums chart and remained on that chart for six weeks.

Fourth Dimension / 1995

Stratovarius-Fourth Dimension
  • Album Info
  • 1995
  • Noise Records

1. Against the Wind
2. Distant Skies
3. Galaxies
4. Winter
5. Stratovarius
6. Lord of the Wasteland
7. 030366
8. Nightfall
9. We Hold the Key
10. Twilight Symphony
11. Call of the Wilderness

Fourth Dimension is the fourth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on April 11, 1995 through Noise Records. The album is the band’s first to feature vocalist Timo Kotipelto as well as the last with keyboardist Antti Ikonen and drummer Tuomo Lassila, thus being the last Stratovarius album to date featuring an all-Finnish line-up. Founding member and guitarist Timo Tolkki, who had served as the band’s vocalist for their first three albums, still provided background vocals on Fourth Dimension before handing over lead singing duties to Kotipelto for all subsequent albums.

Dreamspace / 1994

Stratovarius-Dreamspace
  • Album Info
  • 1994
  • Noise Records

1. Chasing Shadows
2. 4th Reich
3. Eyes of the World
4. Hold On to Your Dream
5. Magic Carpet Ride
6. We Are the Future
7. Tears of Ice
8. Dreamspace
9. Reign of Terror
10. Thin Ice
11. Atlantis
12. Abyss
13. Shattered
14. Wings of Tomorrow

Dreamspace is the third studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on February 9, 1994 through Noise Records. It is the last Stratovarius album to feature guitarist Timo Tolkki on vocals (after which Timo Kotipelto became the lead singer on 1995’s Fourth Dimension), as well as the first to feature bassist Jari Kainulainen.

Twilight Time (II) / 1992

Stratovarius-Twilight Time
  • Album Info
  • 1992
  • Bluelight Records

1. Break the Ice
2. The Hands of Time
3. Madness Strikes at Midnight
4. Metal Frenzy
5. Twilight Time
6. The Hills Have Eyes
7. Out of the Shadows
8. Lead Us into the Light

Twilight Time is the second studio album by Finnish power metal band Stratovarius. The album was originally recorded and released in the band’s native Finland as Stratovarius II in early 1992 by Bluelight Records, followed by a reissue in Europe with different cover art in October of that year by Shark Records. A third edition was issued in Japan in July 1993 by Victor Entertainment, renaming the album Twilight Time with yet another cover design;this is the most common version in circulation today. On the back cover, bass guitarist Jari Behm appears in a band photo and is credited with playing, but all bass parts on the album were actually performed by the guitarist and then-bandleader Timo Tolkki. 

Fright Night / 1989

Stratovarius-Fright Night
  • Album Info
  • 1989
  • Columbia Records

1. Future Shock
2. False Messiah
3. Black Night
4. Witch-Hunt
5. Fire Dance
6. Fright Night
7. Night Screamer
8. Darkness
9. Goodbye

Fright Night is the first studio album by the power metal band Stratovarius, released in May 1989 by Columbia RecordsA remastered edition was issued in 1993.

TOURDATES
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ALBUM REVIEWS
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CONCERT REVIEWS
Rock In The City Kuopio 2019

Rock in the City is a new festival tour in Finnish summer, happening in 9 mid-sized “cities” or more like towns, and the very first in line was Kuopio, the

June 22, 2019 by Jussi Hevander
VIDEOS

Stratovarius in Nordic Metal. Rock In The City festival review in Nordic Metal.

 

STRATOVARIUS SETLIST FOR ROCK IN THE CITY KUOPIO:

Enigma Eagleheart Shine in the Dark Dragons SOS 4000 Rainy Nights Under Flaming Skies Deep Unknown Oblivion Destiny Unbreakable Black Diamond Hunting High and Low