Polaris is the twelfth studio album by power metal band Stratovarius, released on 15 May 2009. It is the first Stratovarius album to feature bassist Lauri Porra and guitarist Matias Kupiainen, following former bassist Jari Kainulainen‘s departure from the band in 2005 and former guitarist Timo Tolkki‘s departure in 2008.
Timo Kotipelto, who at the time of Polaris’ release had been a member of Stratovarius the longest (since 1994) among the current members, considered Polaris to be “the album that saved the band” and said that “without it there would not be any Stratovarius.” More time passed between the release of Stratovarius’ eponymous album Stratovarius in 2005 and the release of Polaris than between any other two consecutive albums released by the band. Stratovarius in 2006 had recorded a demo album called Revolution Renaissance, performed one Revolution Renaissance song live in August 2007 (“Last Night on Earth”) and according to Kotipelto had intended to release a completed version of the album in 2008. However, the songs of that album were re-recorded and released in 2008 as New Era, the first album of Tolkki’s new band, Revolution Renaissance, which acquired the album’s prior name.
Polaris reached No. 2 on the Finnish albums chart, as well as reaching the top 70 in five other countries. “Deep Unknown” was released as a single, reaching No. 20 on the Finnish singles chart. In its first week of release, the album sold around 800 copies in the U.S.