STRATOVARIUS Confirm SANCTUARY Deal, Begin Work On New Material

Finland's STRATOVARIUS have confirmed that they have signed a three-album deal with Sanctuary Records.

The contract was signed October 31 in Dortmund, Germany and the signing was followed by a big party. The agreement is said to be the biggest ever for a Finnish band, and is worth over $3.5 million dollars.

The contract was signed with the blood of an elk (Photo#1, Photo#2), an animal that has become somewhat a mascot for the band.

STRATOVARIUS are currently busy promoting the new release, "Elements Pt 2", and planning several summer festival appearances, as well as possible shows in the U.S., Canada and Southeast Asia in 2004.

STRATOVARIUS guitarist/songwriter Timo Tolkki has started to compose new material for the group's first Sanctuary release in his retreat by the sea. He has not given many interviews during the recent months and has been keeping his plans for the group's future musical direction a secret, even from his fellow bandmembers.

Tolkki has declined to comment on the rumor that he only talks to STRATOVARIUS singer Timo Kotipelto via lawyers, stressing instead that it is time to concentrate on what he knows to do best, which is writing memorable and dramatic songs.

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