Stratovarius

Available videos:
  1. Visions
  2. I Walk To My Own Song
  3. United
  4. SOS
  5. Soul Of A Vagabond
  6. Distant Skies
  7. Forever Free
  8. Against The Wind
  9. Will My Soul Ever Rest In Peace?
  10. Future Shock
  11. Maniac Dance
  12. Hold On To Your Dream
  13. The Kiss Of Judas
  14. Forever
  15. Speed Of Light
  16. The Land Of Ice And Snow
  17. Hunting High And Low
  18. Black Diamond
  19. Eagleheart

Available concerts:
  1. Full concert @ Tavastia 1999 (1hr)

Metal Music Store:
Official Homepage
Stratovarius is a Finnish power metal band, formed in 1984, still active today. They have been a major influence on many popular power metal bands.

Stratovarius was founded in 1984 in Finland under the name Black Water. They went through a number of personnel changes and changes in style 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 on guitar, changed the name to Stratovarius (a portmanteau of Stratocaster and Stradivarius) and taking up 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, following two singles.

After being dropped by CBS, the band went through several member changes, but they managed to release the album Stratovarius II on Bluelight Records, which was re-released as Twilight Time through Noise Records. In 1994 they released their third album, Dreamspace, featuring new bass player Jari Kainulainen, who joined the band when 70% of the new material was already recorded. Tolkki decided to stop singing for the band, and they hired a full-time singer, Timo Kotipelto. The release of Fourth Dimension in 1995 was a huge success for the band, but internal differences, 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 was another huge success.

This line-up released three rather successful albums over the years: Visions in 1997, Destiny in 1998, 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 in the same year.

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' brother) temporarily on drums. The rest of 2004 saw virtually complete silence from the band.

However, despite the break up, the band still had to finish off their Elements tour. During a show, a crazed fan, angry over the break up, jumped on stage and stabbed Timo Tolkki in the stomach. Tolkki was hospitalized and during his time in hospital, recovered from a mental illness he was going through. In January 2005 it was announced that Stratovarius had reunited with the former line-up. In June 2005, 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. During this time, Stratovarius began a world tour, starting in Argentina, which included 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 European and Japanese cities. The band is set to release a new studio album (Currently codenamed R.... R.....) in early 2008, which eleven tracks have been written for it. Timo Tolkki has stated that the album will be released before a "massive world tour." (Stratovarius-Wikipedia)

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