Infobox Musical artist|
Name = Stratovarius

Img_capt = Stratovarius in Tavastia, 2006
Img_size = 250
Background = group_or_band
Landscape = Yes
Alias =
Origin = Helsinki, Finland
Genre = Power metal
Years_active = 1983–2003
Label = Nuclear Blast, Sanctuary, Noise
Associated_acts = Revolution Renaissance
URL = []
Current_members = Jens Johansson
Timo Kotipelto
Jörg Michael
Lauri Porra
Matias Kupiainen
Past_members = See: Former members section

Stratovarius is a Finnish power metal band that formed in 1983. Their material contains elements of symphonic metal, progressive metal and NWOBHM.


1982 - 1989

Stratovarius was founded in 1981 in Finland under the name "Black Water". The founding members were Tuomo Lassila, Staffan Stråhlman, and John Vihervä. In 1983, the name was changed to Stratovarius (a portmanteau of Stratocaster and Stradivarius), an idea of Stråhlman's. In 1984, Timo Tolkki joined 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 Malmsteen fame) 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?."

Their next studio album, "Visions", was released in 1997 without changes in line-up, and together with it came two singles, "Black Diamond" and "The Kiss of Judas." Both of these were filmed.

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 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 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 States and Canada for 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 York and 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 "Revolution Renaissance".

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. [ 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. [ 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. [ 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. [ Of Rights] ]

Band members

Current Members

* 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)

Former members

* 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)

Member history

*John Vihervä bass guitar, Tuomo Lassila Drums, Vocals, Staffan Stråhlman Guitar (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 Behm Bass Guitar (live) (1991-1992)
*Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1993)
*Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1994)
*Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Antti Ikonen Keyboards, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1995)
*Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Jens Johansson Keyboards, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar (1996-2003)
*Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala Vocals, Timo Tolkki guitar, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar, Jens Johansson Keyboards, Anders Johansson, Drums (2004)
*Jörg Michael Drums, 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 Porra Bass Guitar (2006-2008)
*Jens Johansson Keyboards, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Lauri Porra bass, Jörg Michael drums, Matias Kupiainen (2008-present)

Infobox Artist Discography
Artist = Stratovarius

Caption = Stratovarius live in Tuska, Finland in 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


tudio albums

*"Fright Night" (1989)
*"Stratovarius II" (1991)
*"Twilight Time" (1992)
*"Dreamspace" (1994)
*"Fourth Dimension" (1995)
*"Episode" (1996)
*"Visions" (1997)
*"Destiny" (1998)
*"Infinite" (2000)
*"Elements, Pt. 1" (2002)
*"Elements, Pt. 2" (2003)
*"Stratovarius" (2005)

Live albums


Music videos

* "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)


External links

* [ Official Stratovarius website]
* [ The Stratovarius Network]
* [ Official Stratovarius Myspace]
* [ Stratovarius Americas Forums] (Spanish and English)

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