Stratovarius (English)

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    Stratovarius (English)

    Δημοσίευση από Επισκέπτ Την / Το Σαβ Αυγ 09, 2008 2:33 am


    Background information
    Origin Helsinki, Finland
    Genre(s) Power metal, Neo-classical metal, Progressive metal, Symphonic metal
    Years active 1984–2003
    2005–2008
    Label(s) Nuclear Blast, Sanctuary, Noise
    Associated acts Revolution Renaissance
    Website www.stratovarius.com
    Members
    Jens Johansson
    Timo Kotipelto
    Jörg Michael
    Lauri Porra
    Former members

    Stratovarius is a Finnish power metal band that formed in 1984 and are considered an early pioneer of the European power metal style.[citation needed] Some of Stratovarius's material, particularly their mid-career albums such as Fourth Dimension can be heard to have some progressive metal elements. While their first two albums (Fright Night and Twilight Time) have some NWOBHM elements.

    History

    Formation / Fright Night (1982 - 1989)

    Stratovarius was founded in 1982 in Finland under the name Black Water. The band experienced a number of personnel and stylistic changes before finding its own voice. 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 and taking up vocal duties as well. Tolkki became the driving force and mastermind of the band, assuming relatively complete control 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, finally being picked up by CBS Finland. In 1988, they released their first two singles, "Future Shock" and "Black Night," followed by the 1989 debut album Fright Night. Their "Future Shock" single was filmed the same year, becoming their first music video.

    Twilight Time (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.

    Dreamspace / Fourth Dimension (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.

    Episode / Visions (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.

    Destiny / Infinite (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.

    The Elements Saga and the break-up (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.

    Reunited (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.

    2008 Internal troubles

    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.[1]

    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.[2] 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.

    After many public "statements" on Stratovarius and Revolution Renaissance forum, and after many rumors that other members will continue as "Stratovarius", Timo Tolkki announced that next year (2009) he will record a last Stratovarius album that will close this chapter with dignity. Founding member of the band drummer Tuomo Lassila and former keyboard player Antti Ikonen join Stratovarius for one last album in 2009. Vocals and guitars will be done by Timo Tolkki. This line up is the 3/4 of the studio line up of Stratovarius albums 'Fright Night", "Twilight Time", "Dreamspace' and "Fourth Dimension".

    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.

    Band members

    Former members

    * Timo Kotipelto - Vocals (1995-2004, 2005-)
    * Jens Johansson - Keyboards, Piano (1995-)
    * Jörg Michael - Drums (1995-2004, 2005-)
    * Lauri Porra - Bass guitar (2005-)
    * 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

    1982-1984 John Vihervä bass guitar, Tuomo Lassila Drums, Vocals, Staffan Stråhlman Guitar

    1985-1986 Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals Jyrki Lentonen, bass guitar

    1987-1990 Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals Jyrki Lentonen, bass guitar, Antti Ikonen, Keyboard

    1991-1992 Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Bass Guitar(Studio) Antti Ikonen, Keyboards Jari Behm Bass Guitar (live)

    1993 Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar

    1994 Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar

    1995 Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Antti Ikonen Keyboards, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar

    1996-2003 Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Jens Johansson Keyboards, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar

    2004 Katriina "Miss K" Wiiala Vocals, Timo Tolkki guitar, Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar, Jens Johansson Keyboards, Anders Johansson, Drums

    2005 Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Jens Johansson, Keyboards Jari Kainulainen Bass Guitar

    2006-2008 Jörg Michael Drums, Timo Tolkki, Guitar, Vocals, Jens Johansson, Keyboards Lauri Porra Bass Guitar

    2008 current line up working on an album. Jens Johansson Keyboards, Timo Kotipelto Vocals, Lauri Porra bass, Jörg Michael drums, young finnish (unrevealed) guitarist

    2008 They split up (Alternately line up recording reunion album of 2009) Tuomo Lassila Drums, Timo Tolkki Vocals/Guitar, Antti Ikonen, Keyboards

    Discography

    Studio 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)
    * "Johannson, Michael, Kotipelto, Porra, New Guitarist album" (Unknown Year)

    * "Unnofficial Final Album" (2009}

    Live albums

    * Visions of Europe (1998)

    DVDs

    * Infinite Visions (2000)

    Compilations

    * The Past And Now (1997)
    * The Chosen Ones (1999)
    * 14 Diamonds (2000)
    * Intermission (2001)
    * Black Diamond the anthology (2006)

    Singles

    * Future Shock (1988)
    * Black Night (1989)
    * Break the Ice (1992)
    * Wings Of Tomorrow (1995)
    * Father Time (Japan only) (1996)
    * Will the Sun Rise? (Japan only) (1996)
    * Black Diamond (Japan only) (1997)
    * The Kiss of Judas (Japan only) (1997)
    * SOS (1998)
    * Hunting High and Low (2000)
    * It's a Mystery (Vinyl) (2000)
    * A Million Light Years Away (2000)
    * Eagleheart (2002)
    * I Walk to My Own Song (2003)
    * Maniac Dance (2005)

    Music videos

    * Future Shock (1989)
    * Against The Wind (1995)
    * Black Diamond music video (1997)
    * The Kiss Of Judas music video (1997)
    * S.O.S, music video (1998)
    * A Million Light years Away music video (2000)
    * Hunting High And Low music video (2001)
    * Eagleheart music video (2003)
    * I Walk To My Own Song music video (2003)
    * Maniac Dance music video (2005)

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