Stratovarius will go down as one of Finland's most successful metal bands
of all time,
with a melodic, symphonic power metal style that has served as a blueprint
for many a European band.
They are often regarded as one of the most influential Euro
melodic power metal bands, recogniazed alongside
Blind Guardian, and
as leaders of the genre.
The group was founded by a young trio of guys in 1984, and was jumpstarted
a year later when guitarist Timo Tolkki joined the band.
Their debut album, Fright Night, was released in 1989, and in the
succeeding years they built their fan base, gradually shifting lineups
and fine-tuning their sound.
By 1996 the band had released its fifth album, Episode, and that
album marked the debut of what would become their most solid and well-known
lineup, with metal veterans Jörg Michael and Jens Johansson making their
debut with the group.
For the next several years it was clear sailing for the band, they were
clearly on top of their game at this point, culminating in the epic
Elements releases in 2003.
And then, it started to fall apart, with
with Timo Kotipelto and Jörg Michael departing the band
amidst rampant and
sometimes bizarre reports of erratic behavior from leader Timo Tolkki.
Eventually the situation settled down (Tolkki admitted to some
mental difficulties which he has since overcome) and the former
lineup was restored, with their last album, simply titled
Stratovarius, released in September 2005.
Behind the scenes, though, the spirit was fading, as admitted by Tolkki
in 2008 when he finally pulled the plug on the band, citing differences
between him and the other members (particularly Kotipelto and Michael)
and a lack of drive to continue.
He has since formed a new band,
that will continue his musical vision.
Interestingly, the remaining members have decided to continue as
Stratovarius, with a new guitarist recruited to take Tolkki's place.