The release of Stratovarius came after a highly troubled period for the band in 2004, during which they temporarily split up following a nervous breakdown suffered by Tolkki. After a year-long hiatus, they reunited in 2005 and embarked upon a worldwide tour for the album, playing for the first time in the United States and Canada.
Stylistically the album displays a dramatically noticeable shift from the symphonic power metal sound of previous albums: the songs are more hard-edged and slower, with Tolkki's signature neo-classicalshredsoloing almost completely absent. Keyboardist Jens Johansson's role is particularly restricted, as well as Jörg Michael's drumming, which features hardly any of his signature double bass playing. Singer Timo Kotipelto also attempts a different vocal approach, mostly avoiding his usual high vocal range. Tolkki has since stated in interviews that he was unsatisfied with the end result of the album, due to it being too far removed from the band's true style.