Thursday, February 3, 2011

Timo Tolkki

Tolkki started playing guitar at the age of 7. As a young teenager, it was not uncommon for him to practice 8 hours a day.[2]
Tolkki joined Stratovarius in 1984. Prior to this, he had already played with the bands Antidote, Thunder and Road Block. At the beginning of his career with Stratovarius, he served as vocalist as well as handling all lead and rhythm guitars, and at times bass guitar (until long-term bassist Jari Kainulainen was hired). This led to an important decision after the band's third album, Dreamspace, which was to be the acquisition of singer and trained vocalist, Timo Kotipelto, in 1994. This was largely due to Tolkki's desire to evolve the 'sound' and overall musical direction of Stratovarius[3] (which ultimately resulted in the remaining original members of the band, Tuomo Lassila and Antti Ikonen, being unceremoniously fired), as well as feeling the need to concentrate more exclusively on his own guitar work.
In that same year, Tolkki released his first solo album, Classical Variations and Themes, which had at the time been one of his longtime ambitions. The album turned out to be quite different from his work with Stratovarius; comprising influences of neo-classical metal and a focus on primarily instrumental compositions. In 2002 he released his second solo album, Hymn to Life, which showed a much more personal side; dealing with such emotional issues as his relationship with God and his late father.
At one point in 2004, he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder following a nervous breakdown, which occurred some months after Stratovarius disbanded. After a period of rehabilitation, he went on to make a full recovery later that year and subsequently opened Goldenworks Mixing Suite, which was to be his own recording studio.
Tolkki then created a metal opera called Saana - Warrior of Light. Part One was released on 14 March 2008.[4] It featured a number of guest vocalists, including soprano Jennifer Sowle in the lead role, as well as Aino Laos, Janette Sainio and Heikki Pöyhiä of Twilightning[5] in other roles.
Last news are that he's currently part of Symfonia, a power metal supergroup formed in with André Matos, Uli Kusch, Jari Kainulainen and Mikko Härkin.[6] They are expected to make their debut performance at Finnish Metal Expo 2011.
[edit]Playing style

From the periods spanning Stratovarius' first three albums, Tolkki's guitar playing was noticeably more progressive and hard-edged than at present; particularly making use of lower-register power chords — often in E♭ tuning — and sometimes heavy palm muting, thus giving earlier Stratovarius songs a rather dark and unnerving tonal/atmospheric quality (particularly evident in the Dreamspace album). However, following Kotipelto's arrival as lead singer, Tolkki's style has since shifted gradually more towards the traditionally speedy and melodic format of power metal; adopting such elements as neo-classical phrasing (in a style somewhat reminiscent of other established virtuosos such as Yngwie Malmsteen), and various fast shredding techniques.

Throughout his whole career, Tolkki has played ESP Guitars. His primary models are custom made M series models, most notably a solid black one and one with the Visions album artwork on the body. He has also been seen playing an ESP EX series guitar in a few of their videos. He was also an endorser of Laney Amplification up until 2001, at which he switched to using Marshall Amplification. As of 2007 he has started to use an ENGL POWERBALL with cabinets. Currently he's using a Ibanez RG 3620Z in Atlantic Blue Burst finish.

Fright Night (1989)
Twilight Time (1992)
Dreamspace (1994)
Fourth Dimension (1995)
Episode (1996)
Visions (1997)
Destiny (1998)
Infinite (2000)
Intermission (2001)
Elements, Pt. 1 (2003)
Elements, Pt. 2 (2003)
Stratovarius (2005)
[edit]Revolution Renaissance
New Era (2008)
Age of Aquarius (2009)
Trinity (2010)
TBA (2011)
[edit]Solo albums
Classical Variations and Themes (1994)
Hymn to Life (2002)
Saana – Warrior of Light Pt 1 (2008)
[edit]Project Strato
Return To Dreamspace (20??)
[edit]Guest appearances
Avantasia: The Metal Opera — vocals on "The Tower"
Avantasia: The Metal Opera Part II — guitar solo on "The Seven Angels" and "Into the Unknown"
Edguy: Vain Glory Opera — guitar solo on "Out of Control"
Gimmel: Kaksi kertaa enemmän — guitar
Thunderstone: Thunderstone — guitar solo on "Like Father, Like Son"

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