Sonata Arctica


Written by: NB on 27/11/2008 20:09:59

There seems to be a pattern emerging in Scandinavian power-metal nomenclature: first "Sonata Arctica" and then, with a pretty similar (if infinitely more rubbish) sound, "Opus Atlantica". So I guess if you want to make a cheesy, Scandinavian, neoclassical, power-metal band you have to take a type of musical form and the name of an ocean or sea with an "a" added to the end and there is your name. With that in mind, I eagerly anticipate the debut albums of bands such as "Ballet Baltica" or perhaps even "Concerto English Channela".

This re-release of Silence, the second of Sonata Arctica's studio albums, comes with "expanded artwork" (which is horrific so I can't imagine it selling on account of that), a re-recorded track and a foreword by Tony. He describes this album as "much more grand, compared to the first one" but also relates the difficulty the band had in writing it; it shows. They were keen not to alienate fans of the first record and it would appear that they didn't succeed because out of all four studio albums prior to the release of their "For the Sake of Revenge" live DVD, they only chose one song from this CD for the DVD, with the other fourteen spread evenly over the other three albums. The song they chose was "Black Sheep" (the main track on the "Orientation" EP) which is also the most in-keeping with their style. Almost all of the other songs on this album are either far too frantic for their own good or slightly boring ballads. Either way all of them lack the originality of the rest of Sonata Arctica's songs. It almost seems that the band realised this when they were writing the album, because sandwiched between "Sing in Silence" and "Tallulah", which are both rather slow and downbeat ballads, is an interesting but isolated filler-track "Revontulet" which mainly consists of a series of harpsichord glissandi and arpeggios. It's as if to acknowledge that by now the listener will be getting bored.

Luckily at this point there comes a series of stand out songs to relieve the boredom. The dramatic "Respect the Wilderness", and "Wolf and Raven" with its unusual structure of fills and solos (very different from the re-recorded, musically-light version at the end of the album). By now some of the excellent Sonata Arctica silliness has crept back into the mix: somebody in the recording studio grumbling "now don't f***ing touch the mic, hold on" at the end of a careful period of silence in the eleven-and-a-half-minute epic, "The Power of One", or the ironic sound of a reloading shotgun used as percussion in the intro to "Peacemaker". These last few songs would have been a great listen, but it's too little, too late on an album that has been devoid of such entertainment until now.


Download: Black Sheep, Peacemaker, Tallulah
For The Fans Of: Stratovarius, Blind Guardian, Opus Atlantica
Listen: MySpace

Release Date 08.10.2008

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