This was the evening for the finnish masters of power metal to rock Helsinki; and they really kicked some asses!

They warmed up the atmosphere with Jean Sibelius' masterpiece "Finlandia"; and started their setlist with "Searching High & Low", the first track from their last album "Infinite", which steps into the hard rock territory. Favorites like "Millenium", "Kiss of Judas", "Will The Sun Rise?" sounded excellent, played with high level of performance.

I have to say that when you go to see a band with such great musicians, like Strato has, the real pleasure lies in watching how good they can play live. And it was during the instrumental "Stratovarius", where the guys really showed of what they're made of. You have Timmo Tolkki, and his impressive guitar solos, sharing the spotlight with that mad swedish keyboardplayer named Jens Johansson. Also a mention of honour goes to Jörg Michael and Jari Kainulainen, who form one of the most compact and precise rhythm sections that the heavy metal scene have nowdays. Jörg is the living proof that there's no need for programmed drums if we have people like him behind a drum kit; and Jari showed his skills during a small bass solo by the beginning of "Kiss of Judas".

Last but not least, Mr. Timo Kotipelto, who has also improved his voice. These days he can reach the high notes without a problem. He is also getting rid of his shyness.

Also, this was a special occasion, because they recieved gold discs for the sales of "Infinite" here in Finland.

But I guess the real surprise was the cover version they played. During the encores, Rainbow's classic "I Surrender", which they had only rehearsed a couple of times prior the concert, was given a Strato treatment.

They closed the night with "Black Diamond", leaving the crowd wanting for more. In few words, it was a great evening, even though favorites like "Father Time" or "Against The Wind" were missed. But the only thing left is to wait until next time when Strato will take over the town. MELODY TO METAL!

By Christian "Junior Investigator" Rupay