Welcome to an article series on Tempelores where the staff members bare it all for the audience… and by baring all, we mean the origin point of our metal journeys, the singled out, solitary album responsible for being our gateway drug into the boundless universe of metal that in the end became more than just background for most of us.
I grew up listening to classical and rock music, depending on if it was my dad or my mom choosing the radio station when driving anywhere. I didn’t care much about the former genre but I found some that were really catchy and my personal favorite was Antonio Vivaldi, which later grew a huge influence for me for both my guitar playing and taste of neoclassical metal.
I can easily recall a moment when my favorite baby picture was taken, I was about the age of 2 or 3 and laying on a beanbag with headphones on, most likely listening to a Finnish guitar sensation Hector and when I was old enough to express myself, that was what I wanted to hear. Later on I grew more into rock and especially guitars were fascinating to me and in elementary school I became a true fan of a pop-rock group Yö.
That went on for years and I bought my first albums, treasured them and got stubborn enough to demand Yö on every car ride, no matter where we were going, and so it was our soundtrack, until the fatal summer of 2004. Schools were out and my cousin was visiting us, he was a few years older and probably had enough of my rambling how Finnish pop-rock is the best. He handed me two albums which carved metal and my undying love for it deep in my heart: Sonata Arctica‘s Winterheart’s Guild and Stratovarius‘ Elements Pt. II.
I have to confess, I was highly doubtful of metal and thought it was satanic and evil with incomprehensible vocals; the usual stereotype for someone who knows nothing about the genre. Luckily, I got past my prejudice and I was stunned when I inserted the Stratovarius album into my Walkman CD player. My first impression was that I had not known at all what music and guitars are all about; like I had been living in darkness of ignorance and opened my ears for the first time ever. The melodies, the energy, the massive sound, the everything flowed right through me and I felt really energized that it was amazing. I was hooked fully when that album ended and I had to put on the second one. It didn’t take long after when I started asking my cousin for more metal and I ended up gaining hundreds of albums from him and eventually started a collection of my own but the biggest influence was Timo Tolkki‘s virtuoso guitar playing.
A year later, my parents decided to buy me my first electric guitar, a cheap Stratocaster copy and I had sold my soul to the devil and I promised to myself to become one day at least as good as Mr. Tolkki. The quest is still in progress.
1. Alpha & Omega
2. I Walk to My Own Song
3. I’m Still Alive
4. Season of Faith’s Perfection
5. Awaken the Giant
6. Know the Difference
Release date: October 22, 2003
Label: Nuclear Blast
Timo Kotipelto – Vocals
Timo Tolkki – Guitars
Jari Kainulainen – Bass
Jens Johansson – Keyboards
Jörg Michael – Drums