The band, Standing left to right: Jorg Michael (d), Jari Kainulainen (b), Jens Johannson (k), Timo Kotipelto (v) sitting: Timo Tolkki (g)


Formed in 1982 in Helsinki, Finland, STRATOVARIUS has had a revolving door of band members from their very inception yet their musical focus has always remained consistent. Unleashing their exotic breed of metal fury in the form of their debut album Fright Night in 1989, the band quickly gained a following far and wide. Unimpressed by the band’s potential to break, STRATOVARIUS were dropped from CBS Records without warning. But what doesn’t kill makes one stronger and the lack in support only fueled their desire to prove themselves as one of the most intensive melodic, power metal acts around. By 1992 STRATOVARIUS’ sophomore LP, Twilight Time, originally a self-financed demo, hit the streets grabbing at the attention of the vast surrounding metal circuit.

After releasing their 1994 album Dreamscape band mastermind Timo Tolkki decided to devote all his efforts to guitar. Their search for a new vocal master ended with their union with the then unknown Timo Kotipelto. Joining the band prior to the recording of Fourth Dimension, Kotipelto was a true asset to the band. Since then STRATOVARIUS released high-quality album after high-quality album each building upon the overwhelming foundation of Fourth Dimension. Episode and Visions, the next two LP’s to follow, are sheer displays of the band’s staggering musicianship and growth potential.

During a tour of Europe and Japan in 1995, STRATOVARIUS went through another line-up revisions recruiting drummer J6rg Michael of Running Wild and keyboardist Jens Johansson Yngwie Malmsteen band and Dio. The two were awed after hearing the demos for STRATOVARIUS' fourth opus, Episode. By 1996 the record had hit the streets (with Michael and Johansson) and was the band's first big success placing them in the Finnish Top 20 for eight weeks and reaching #12 of the Japanese Orikon charts. Their next LP, Visions, reaped the same success bringing the band to gold level status in Finland and earning them extensive tours throughout Europe, South America and Japan performing over 100 shows, each harvesting new fans and a stronger fan-base. Hit singles "Black Diamond" and "Kiss of Judas" (both promoted as video clips) appealed to the European mainstream audiences while their song "Forever" (a ballad off the Episode album), became a huge hit in Korea nationwide after being used in a daily soap opera. The double live album, Visions of Europe-live, was released in 1998 and recorded in Milan/Italy and Athens/Greece. The overwhelming mood, layers and ultimate power of the band's live performance etched within the recording of the album convinced any remaining doubters that STRATOVARIUS was truly worthy of recognition. The live LP graced Finnish charts for 8 weeks peaking on position # 6.

In October 1998 STRATOVARIUS has released one of their best works yet. Entitled Destiny, the record hit the charts all over Europe and Japan the moment of its release. Destiny even saw some light in South America, making a mark on charts in Brazil and Argentina. But Finland welcomed the LP with the most affection ranking the band at number one for four weeks and keeping them in the Top Ten for more than six months! The Destiny World Tour started in November 1998 and brought the band through Finland and Japan before Christmas. The tour continued until the beginnings of April 1999 through more than 20 countries concluding in Helsinki, Finland where the band where the band was honored with a second gold award.

Their brand-new killer album Infinite released on March 28th. Penned in the tradition of STRATOVARIUS, Infinite features ear-catchy songs including the single "Hunting High And Low", "Millennium" and "Million Light Years Away" as well as progressive metal hymns like "Mother Gaia" and the majestic "Infinity". Infinite is sure to strengthen their position as Europe' leading Melodic Metal Group for the new Millennium.


FRIGHT NIGHT 1989 (3 stars)

Track listing: Future Shock, False Messiah, Black Night,Witch Hunt, Fire Dance (instumental), Fright Night, Night Screamer, Darkness, Goodbye (Instrumental)

Good debut album. Doesn't quiet have the greatness that Stratovarius will eventually have.

TWILIGHT TIME 1992 (3 stars)

Track listing: Break the Ice, The Hands Of Time, Madness Strikes at Midnight, Metal Frenzy, Twilight Time, The Hills Have Eyes, Out Of the Shadows, Lead Us Into the Lights.

Great album. This was the first one I got. Timo Tolkki is a great guitarist and singer. Best tracks are The Hills Have Eyes and Break The Ice.

DREAMSPACE 1994 (4 stars)

Track Listing: Chasing Shadows, 4th Reich, Eyes of the World, Hold on to Your Dream, Magic Carpet Ride,We Are the Future, Tears of Ice, Dreamspace, Reign of Terror, Thin Ice, Atlantis (Instr.), Abyss, Shattered, Wings of Tomorrow.

Much improved over Twilight Time. Best tracks Eyes of the World and 4th Reich.

FOURTH DIMENSION 1995 (4 stars)

Track listing: Against the Wind, Distant Skies, Galaxies, Winter, Stratovarius (instr.), Lord of the Wasteland, 030366, Nightfall, We Hold the Key, Twilight Symphony, Call of the Wilderness (instr.).

Vastly improved over the earlier albums. The addition of new singer Timo Koltipelto adds considerable depth to the group and allows Timo Tolkki to improve as a guitarist. Best tracks are Against the Wind, Lord of the Wasteland, and We Hold the Key

EPISODE 1996 (5 stars)

Track listing: Father Time, Will the Sun Rise?, Eternity, Episode (instr.), Speed of Light, Uncertainty, Season of Change, Stratosphere (instr.), Babylon, Tomorrow, Night Time Eclipse, Forever.

Their best album. This album is incredible, I would have to say this is one of the best albums I've ever heard. It's definitely going down as one of my all-time favorites. It's hard to decide which are the best tracks, they're all excellent.

VISIONS 1997 (5 stars)

Track listing: Black Diamond, The Kiss of Judas, Forever Free, Before the Winter, Legions, The Abyss of Your Eyes, Holy Light (instr.), Paradise, Coming Home, Visions.

Great album and a great follow up to Episode. Best tracks are Black Diamond, Kiss of Judas, Visions, Forever Free.

THE PAST AND NOW 1997 (5 stars)

Track listing: The Hands Of Time, Future Shock, Twilight Time, Chasing Shadows, Dreamspace, Fire Dance Suite, Against The Wind, Twilight Symphony, Will The Sun Rise, Forever, Black Diamond, The Kiss Of Judas.

This is a best of package from Japan and difficult to get in the US. From the track selection you can tell that this is great.


Track listing: CD 1- Forever Free, Kiss of Judas, Father Time, Distant Skies, Season of Changes, Speed of Light, Twilight Symphony, Holy Solos. CD 2- Visions, Will the Sun Rise?, Forever, Black Diamond, Against the Wind, Paradise, Legions.

Live Concert album from 1997 Visions Tour. Great live album. Stratovarius kicks ass live as well as the do on their albums.

DESTINY 1998 (4 stars)

Track listing: Destiny, SOS, No Turning Back, 4000 Rainy Nights, Rebel, Years Go By, Playing With Fire, Venus In The Morning, Anthem Of The World, Cold Winter Nights (Bonus Track).

Another excellent effort. Stratovarius keeps getting better. Best tracks are Destiny, Playing with Fire, and SOS.

CHOSEN ONES 1999 (5 stars)

Track listing: Black Diamond, Twilight Time, Father Time, The Hands Of Time, Dream With Me, Paradise, Out Of The Shadows, Forever, Full Moon, Kiss Of Judas, SOS, Dreamspace, Against The Wind, Speed Of Light, 4000 Rainy Nights, Will The Sun Rise?

US only release. Best of package as chosen by the fans.

INFINITE 2000 (5 stars)

Track listing: Hunting high and low, Millennium, Mother Gaia, Phoenix, Glory of the world, A million light years away, Freedom, Infinity, Celestial dream.

Another excellent album, as good as Visions and Episode. Stratovarius has signed with Nuclear Blast and should get exposure in the US. Best tracks are Hunting high and low and Millenium.

The albums seen here can be obtained from Dynasty Music

Dynasty Music is the Official Music Source for Progressive Metal USA

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