Infobox Musical artist|
Name = Stratovarius
Img_capt = Stratovarius in Tavastia, 2006
Img_size = 250
Background = group_or_band
Landscape = Yes
Years_active = 1983–2003
Nuclear Blast, Sanctuary, Noise
URL = [http://www.stratovarius.com www.stratovarius.com]
Past_members = See: Former members section
Stratovarius is a Finnish
power metalband that formed in 1983. Their material contains elements of symphonic metal, progressive metaland NWOBHM.
1982 - 1989
Stratovarius was founded in 1981 in
Finlandunder the name "Black Water". The founding members were Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman, and John Vihervä. In 1983, the name was changed to Stratovarius (a portmanteauof Stratocasterand Stradivarius), an idea of Stråhlman's. In 1984, Timo Tolkkijoined the band, replacing Stråhlman on guitar, as well as contributing vocals and assuming most of the songwriting. He brought along not only strong rock influences, but also a neo-classical style.
The band released a demo to various record companies by 1987 and was picked up by
CBS Finland. In 1988, they released their first two singles, "Future Shock" and "Black Night," followed by their 1989 debut album "Fright Night". Their "Future Shock" single was filmed the same year, becoming their first music video.
1990 - 1993
After being dropped by CBS, the band went through several member changes, but in 1991 they managed to release the album "
Stratovarius II" on Bluelight Records, which was re-released as "Twilight Time" through Noise Records the next year. The album was followed by one single, "Break the Ice," in 1992.
1994 - 1995
In 1994, Stratovarius released their third album, "
Dreamspace", featuring new bass player Jari Kainulainen, who joined the band when 70% of the new material was already recorded. No singles or music videos were recorded for the album.
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, and had a following single called "Wings of Tomorrow." The song "Against the Wind" was filmed without any single support.
1996 - 1997
Despite the success of "Fourth Dimension", 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 Malmsteenfame) and German drummer Jörg Michael.
With the fifth release "Episode" in 1996, Stratovarius had finally found its sound and had a strong, diverse line-up. "Episode" featured a large choir and a string orchestra. It was another commercial success. It resulted in two new singles, "Father Time" and "
Will the Sun Rise?."
1997 also saw the release of their first compilation album, "
The Past and Now".
1998 - 2002
"Destiny" was released in 1998, and "Infinite" in 2000. With these albums, their fame and fan-base expanded, and they started gaining a stronger following outside
Scandinavia, particularly in Japan. While "Destiny" only resulted in one single, "SOS," "Infinte" resulted in three: "Hunting High and Low," "It's a Mystery," and "A Million Light Years Away."
In these years, Stratovarius also released three new compilation albums: "
The Chosen Ones" in 1999, " 14 Diamonds" in 2000, and "Intermission" in 2001.
2003 - 2004
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. The same year, it was followed by " Elements, Pt. 2", also released on Nuclear Blast.
In late 2003, the band broke up, with
Timo Kotipeltoand Jörg Michaelleaving after a very vaguely-explained conflict. Tolkki hired a new singer, Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala, and Anders Johanssonof Hammerfall(Jens' brother) temporarily on drums. The rest of 2004 saw almost complete silence from the band.
Despite the break-up, the band still had to finish off their "Elements" tour. While touring in Spain, Tolkki was announced to have been attacked by a furious fan. Rock magazines and tabloid papers showed pictures of the stabbed guitarist. However, some time later news begun to spread that no stabbing actually happened. Around the same time, Tolkki was hospitalized because of severe mental illness.
2005 - 2007
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 replaced by Lauri Porra, a young Finnish musician.
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 Statesand Canadafor the first time in the band's history. They played at such events as Atlanta's ProgPower, and in well-known venues such as B.B. King's House Of Blues in New Yorkand Philadelphia's Trocadero Theatre. The tour also included European and Japanese cities.
After a long period of silence, on March 4, 2008, Timo Tolkki officially stated the break-up of Stratovarius on his site. Internal tensions within the band were cited as the cause, saying that Lauri Porra and Jens Johannson were his only supporters, Jorg Michael was more focused on his session work, and Kotipelto was best for having a band by himself. The band was planning to release a new studio album, codenamed "R.... R.....", in 2008. Instead, however, Tolkki will be releasing the album himself in June 2008, and will be forming a new band around the album, called "
The remaining members of Stratovarius, however, posted a statement online giving their side of the story. They concluded by saying that the band was very much alive, but that Tolkki will no longer be a part of it. [http://www.stratovarius.com/stratovarius-statement-2008-05.php Stratovarius rebuttal] ]
Tolkki rebutted with another statement online, his final statement, wherein he waived the rights to the Stratovarius name, as well as all profits from their back-catalogue. [http://www.stratovarius.com/tolkki-statement-2008-05-20.php Tolkki final statement] ] Since Tolkki has written 95% of all Stratovarius songs since 1989, the continuation of the band without Tolkki would almost certainly change the musical direction of the band.
On August 22, Stratovarius announced that the new guitarist would be
Matias Kupiainen. Over fifteen new songs were written and recorded as demos for the new album. [http://www.stratovarius.com/index2.php?section=cmsnews&topic=8755 Stratovarius announces new guitarist] ]
Transfer of rights
In May 2008, Timo Tolkki signed over the Stratovarius catalog, the Stratovarius name, and all royalties to Timo Kotipelto, Jens Johansson, and Jörg Michael. [http://www.stratovarius.com/WAVE%20OF%20RIGHTS.jpgWaiver Of Rights] ]
Timo Kotipelto- Vocals(1995-2004, 2005-Present)
Matias Kupiainen- Guitar(2008-present)
Jens Johansson- Keyboards, Piano(1995-Present)
Jörg Michael- Drums (1995-2004, 2005-Present)
Lauri Porra- Bass guitar(2005- Present)
Timo Tolkki- Lead guitar (1984-2008)
Jari Kainulainen- Bass guitar (1993-2005)
John Vihervä- Bass guitar (1982-1984)
Jyrki Lentonen- Bass Guitar (1985-1990)
Sami Kuoppamäki- Drums (1994)
Staffan Stråhlman- Guitar (1982-1985)
Anders Johansson- Drums (For a brief period in 2004 when Jörg Michael was out of the band)
* Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala - Vocals (for a brief period in 2004 when Kotipelto was out of the band)
John Viherväbass guitar, Tuomo LassilaDrums, Vocals, Staffan StråhlmanGuitar (1982-1984)
*Tuomo Lassila Drums,
Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals Jyrki Lentonen, bass guitar (1985-1986)
*Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals Jyrki Lentonen, bass guitar,
Antti Ikonen, Keyboard (1987-1990)
*Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Bass Guitar(Studio) Antti Ikonen, Keyboards
Jari BehmBass Guitar (live) (1991-1992)
*Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards
Jari KainulainenBass Guitar (1993)
Jörg MichaelDrums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1994)
*Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar,
Timo KotipeltoVocals, Antti Ikonen Keyboards, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1995)
*Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals,
Jens JohanssonKeyboards, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1996-2003)
Katriina "Miss K" WiialaVocals, Timo Tolkki guitar, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar, Jens Johansson Keyboards, Anders Johansson, Drums (2004)
Jörg MichaelDrums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Jens Johansson, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (2005)
*Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Jens Johansson, Keyboards
Lauri PorraBass Guitar (2006-2008)
*Jens Johansson Keyboards, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Lauri Porra bass, Jörg Michael drums,
Infobox Artist Discography
Caption = Stratovarius live in
Tuska, Finlandin July 2007.
Studio = 12
Singles = 118
B-sides = 34
Compilation = 6
Comp link = Compilation albums
Live = 1
Video = 1
Video link = Video albums
Music videos = 10
Tribute = 3
References = Yes
Ref link = References
*"Fright Night" (1989)
Stratovarius II" (1991)
*"Twilight Time" (1992)
*"Fourth Dimension" (1995)
Elements, Pt. 1" (2002)
Elements, Pt. 2" (2003)
* "Future Shock" (1989)
* "Against The Wind" (1995)
* "Black Diamond" (1997)
* "The Kiss Of Judas" (1997)
* "S.O.S" (1998)
* "A Million Lightyears Away" (2000)
* "Hunting High And Low" (2001)
* "Eagleheart" (2003)
* "I Walk To My Own Song" (2003)
* "Maniac Dance" (2005)
* [http://www.stratovarius.com Official Stratovarius website]
* [http://truemetal.org/stratovarius The Stratovarius Network]
* [http://www.myspace.com/officialstratovarius Official Stratovarius Myspace]
* [http://stratovarius.mforo.com/ Stratovarius Americas Forums] (Spanish and English)
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.