Timo Tolkki had a contract with Nuclear Blast in 2002. During this time, they released the following album:
• Hymn To Life (info | shop)
Prog and power metal fans need no introduction to Timo Tolkki. The man started down the road of history when he joined Stratovarius in 1985. Tolkki guided the band through some lean years with his singular vision until he built them into the gold-selling artists that they are today. But being the consummate artist, Tolkki's songwriting continued to evolve and exist outside of Stratovarius, and over the last several years he has written some very personal, introspective songs that fall well outside Stratovarius' patented chorus-driven, pump-your-fist anthems. After Stratovarius went on hiatus (the band will record and tour again in 2003), Tolkki finally had the chance to record his second solo album. His first solo effort, Classical Variations and Other Themes, fit nicely into the "guitar hero" mold, as Tolkki performed melodies from classical pieces together with some of his original instrumental compositions. The new album has taken a decidedly different turn. When things are this personal in nature, it?s sometimes better to let the artist speak for himself.
"This is a trip into my childhood and into my life in general and also into how I see life. Hymn to Life was recorded in a place called Hästholmen, not a studio but a house by the sea near Helsinki, Finland where I brought my gear. I was there basically from February to June 2001 and again in August and September. I then mixed the album at Finnvox Studios. Anssi Nykänen, a top Finnish session musician, played drums. Mika Ervaskari (original Stratovarius keyboard player) played the keys. Michael Kiske (ex-Helloween) sang "Key to the Universe." Sharon Den Adel (Within Temptation) sang "Are You the One?" I sang the rest, played guitar, bass, some keys, recorded, produced and mixed the album. I wrote about painful childhood experiences, about love, about life, about the universe, about god and religion, about wars. The songs and lyrics are by far the most personal I have ever written. It was a perfect chance for me to forget all the frames a metal band tends to have; I didn't set any limits for myself musically or lyrically. I think I succeeded pretty well. Many times it is very hard to categorize what style of song is playing."
If you want to be a part of Tolkki's life, you now have the opportunity, as Hymn to Life is a virtual porthole into his soul. It is, without a doubt, an album that can't be categorized, and an album for those willing to open their minds and experience the Hymn to Life.