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Stratovarius

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Biography

Although Helsinki, Finland heavy metal band Stratovarius were formed in 1982 by drummer Tuomo Lassila, the group did not record its debut album, Fright Night, until 1989. Released in 1992, Twilight Time established a fan base in Japan, becoming the biggest-selling import of that year; Stratovarius consolidated their Japanese popularity with an extensive tour of the country behind 1994's Dreamspace. Following 1995's Fourth Dimension, the lineup shifted to include vocalist Timo Kotipelto, guitarist Timo Tolkki, bassist Jari Kainulainen, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen keyboardist Jens Johanssen, and drummer Jorg Michael. This lineup added a choir and orchestra for 1996's Episode in 1996 and 1997's Visions, the latter of which was released in the U.S. early in 1998. American reissues of most of Stratovarius' previous output followed over the course of the year, and in the spring of 2000 the group issued Infinite. Intermission appeared the following summer. The band released the two-part Elements in 2003 and continued its metallic output during the remainder of the decade with such albums as 2005's eponymous Stratovarius and 2009's Polaris (the latter issued following the departure of guitarist Timo Tolkki and arrival of new members guitarist Matias Kupianen and bassist Lauri Porra). 2011's Elysium, the last outing with the group for longtime drummer Michael, spent nine weeks at the number one spot on the Finnish albums charts. It was followed by the band's 14th studio album, Nemesis, in 2013, and Eternal in 2015. ~ Steve Huey
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