Archive for Sonata Arctica

Sonata Arctica – The Ninth Hour

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 14th October 2016 by mickbirchy

Sonata Arctica
The Ninth Hour
Power Metal, Symphonic Metal
Released: 7th October 2016
via Nuclear Blast

The last time I talked about Sonata Arctica on this site I gave them a relatively positive review. I enjoyed “Pariah’s Child”, it was a fun record with a lot of good tunes. It got me into the band and I’ve considered myself a fan ever since. So I snapped up the opportunity to take a listen to the new record, “The Ninth Hour”.

Straight from the first song, “Closer To An Animal”, I knew I was listening to a bolder product with more focus and solid songwriting.  Every element of the album is alive and energized. The synth is just uplifting and makes for a nice atmosphere with its diversity. The songwriting is beautiful and is filled with emotion and passion. From slow and somber songs to the heavy and faced paced straight up metal songs. They just make an impression on every song.

The lyrical content is pretty simple when you think about it. The message of the album is life a good life, be kind to people and stop killing the planet. It sounds simplistic and something you’d sing to your kids. Yet, just because you learned it when you were young it does make these morals false. Sometimes you need simple things just said to you and Sonata Arctica really sell it. Tony Kakko’s voice sounds absolutely amazing on this album. He always seems to manage to match his voice to the emotion of the song and it sounds so sweet every time.

This is an excellent album. In my opinion, Sonata Arctica are the undisputed kings of power metal. If I were to recommend songs from the album, firstly “Life”. This is a belting track with a genuinely inspiring and cheerful chorus that sounds glorious. The other song I’d recommend is “We Are What We Are”, which sound sorrowful and passionate.  It’s a beautiful album that really live up to their reputation as one of the best. I love it

4/5

Mick Birchall

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Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom and Nightwish live in Tampere

Posted in Gig, Live, Metal with tags , , on 1st August 2015 by izaforestspirit

Sonata Arctica, Children of Bodom, Nightwish
Ratina Stadium, Tampere, Finland
31st July 2015

A cloudy Friday night in central Tampere. The weather might have not been great but there was a sizable crowd of metalheads gathered at the local stadium. Why, you might ask? Three of the country’s biggest metal bands have come here to play a show.

Sonata Arctica were almost half way through their set by the time I arrived at the venue. I like some of their old albums but I’ve never been a massive fan. I’ve also seen them live many times before so I knew what to expect from their show. They play energetic power metal with very fast keyboards and squeaky vocals. I’m not familiar with their recent albums but I’m glad that they played ‘Don’t Say A Word’ towards the end because that is one of the very few songs that I recognized. 3/5

I’ve been a Children of Bodom fan since my early teens and I was really looking forward to see them live again. The last time that I saw them was at Sauna Open Air back in 2013. This time they played more songs from their newer albums which was a bit of shame because I actually prefer the old songs. Luckily their set also featured some of my favourites including ‘Lake Bodom’, ‘Hate Me’, ‘Needled 24/7’ and ‘In Your Face’. 4/5

The last time that I saw the headlining act, Nightwish, was in 2013 just before they announced that Floor Jansen was going to be their full-time singer. I don’t own a copy of their latest album, but I’ve heard some of the songs on the radio such as the single ‘Élan’. I actually danced along to the tune when I heard it. They put on an elaborate performance complete with large backdrop artwork display, pyrotechnics and fireworks. I was really happy to hear some of the old classics, such as ‘Stargazers’, ‘Sleeping Sun’ and my personal favourite ‘She Is My Sin’. These were songs which I never thought that I would get to hear live since their previous singer Anette couldn’t handle the operatic vocals. Luckily her replacement, Floor Jansen is a much more skilled vocalist and a better performer. Not only could she sing all the classic Nightwish songs but also their mid-career stuff such as ‘Amaranth’ (originally written with Anette on vocals) sounded good. All the fancy stage props really helped to build up to the grand finale, the unforgettable opus that is ‘The Greatest Show on Earth. 5/5

Overall, it’s been a memorable evening. Sonata Arctica’s show was pretty much what I expected it to be. Children of Bodom put on a good show but they were better the previous time that I saw them. Nightwish exceeded my expectations with a fantastic show that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

Iza Raittila

Sonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , on 11th May 2014 by mickbirchy

Sonata Arctica
“Pariah’s Child”
Power metal
Released on 26th March 2014
via Nuclear Blast

 photo pariahschild_zps278d99b1.jpg

OK, this is a good one… I mean really damn good.  I don’t usually listen to power metal, but when I do, this is the kind of band I like.  Sonata Arctica and their newest release Pariah’s Child gave me exactly what I wanted from this type of album.  This is my first time listening to them, so I can say, if you have never heard of them or have just never got around to listening to them, this album is a great jumping on point. That being said, I do feel the album is a bit of a grower, it took me a couples of straight listens to truly get in to it.

The record starts well with great sounding production, solid riffs, a creative lyrical style all in all the signs of a decently composed record, and this sets a good atmosphere for the album to come.  Track one is the lead in single, The Wolves Die Young, a great intro that keeps to the bare bones of the the genre’s formula, it’s light hearted and has some nice twinkly synth happening in the back of the production.  However, it’s only when you truly think about the lyrics of this song, that you get the general ideas and themes this album is trying to convey; in short, it’s about the regret of an elder generation, and the crimes of today having to live on through our youth.

It definitely took a few listens but the album is littered with this symbolic language, in it’s lyrics and even in the atmosphere and tone of the music itself.  The most blunt example of this type of writing, would be in the song What Did You Do In The War, Dad.  To be honest I just thought this was another typical power metal song.  Well it is about war and conflict, set to fast power chords, and fast bass-drum kicks.  You know… the usual song and dance. However, this verse caught me off guard, “What did you do in the war, dad, tell me, Why can’t you smile when the children sing, Did the wages of war cut your soaring wings, And your soul is now torn, unlike mine, Do you fear yesterday will in someway, Define the life of your child?”  This line goes by so quickly you don’t fully hear it the first time.  It’s subtle and simultaneously powerful.  This line shows a guilt-ridden father struggling to deal with the present, because he feels guilty about the past, and then, putting those mental burdens on his child.  The child then realises, that their dad may never be the same person and as a result, the child must grow with these mental strains as well.  It makes you think about the subject matter but not so much as to ruin the enjoyment of the record, it’s just great writing, nothing more, nothing less.

If I step aside from the lyrics and talk about the music for just a moment.  I would say for the most part it’s very well written, it’s catchy and fun with a lot of great riffs and hooks. There appear to a lot of odes and nods to classic rock and that gives the songs some interesting grooves to hear, check out the songs Half a Marathon Man & X Marks the Spot to see what I mean.  The melodies are well crafted and set an interesting tone for every song.  Especially in the ballads, which this album is not short of…  Nope, you can’t have a power metal album without the slow songs, and usually they’re the weakest part of the genre, but Sonata Arctica find a way to make them sound great and give them sense of sincerity.  Again, this is a sign brilliantly written music.  The song Love could have just been a typical metal ballad, but the band takes their time with it and allows the song to build slowly and naturally, then, the big metal chords come in at the end. It’s just so great to hear in this type of music.

OK, so any songs in particular to check out?  Well, I would say just buy the album, but if you’re looking for a sample to get your interest going, I would recommend the track Cloud Factory.  It has a fun and bouncy beat, creative and poetic language and it’s probably the most interesting song on the album, considering its premise.  Overall though, this is a great record, I don’t think I’ve had as much fun listening to an album in a while. Great tunes, beautiful atmosphere and just enjoyable, check it out.

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

Tuomas Holopainen – The Life and Times of Scrooge

Posted in CD, Folk, Rock with tags , , , , , , , , on 14th March 2014 by hammersmashedlauren

Tuomas Holopainen
The Life and Times of Scrooge
Released: 11th April, 2014
Folk/Symphonic Rock
Released via Nuclear Blast

Being his first solo record, Tuomas Holopainen did an outstanding job of creating a masterpiece that is very different from anything he has ever done in his primary band, Nightwish. This is a concept album that is based off of the Disney novel, The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, and if this book did have a movie, I’m confident that this album would be the soundtrack. There are, of course, keyboards and a symphony which doesn’t branch too far from Nightwish, but there are also elements of folk heard at different times which gave this the light-hearted, childish feel you might get from a Disney movie.

Many musicians helped to create the album, and most of them were not from metal bands. However, Tony Kakko of Sonata Arctica played the part of the “storyteller” and one of Nightwish’s newest members, Troy Donockley, played the pipes and whistles. I like that even with the help of metal musicians, it still did not derive away from the over feel of the album. There are some times when songs definitely were a bit more aggressive and heavier, and that subtle influence was enough to remind me that this album was made by a metal musician.

One track in particular, Cold Heart of the Klondike, had an intro that reminded me a lot of something that Nightwish would have written. This is probably because it starts out with primarily the keyboards and then gradually goes into violins paired with dramatic choir vocals, and that’s something I would expect to hear on any kind of symphonic metal album. While I greatly enjoyed these small bits of fast and epic music, it’s primarily what I looked forward while listening to this album. I felt that the tracks were much too long and kind of dragged out after a while. The only tracked I really enjoyed listening to was their single release, A Lifetime of Adventure. To me, it was the most memorable because it had the most vocals and didn’t drag out for too long. While the other songs were done beautifully, they were just entirely too long and repetitive for my liking.

Overall, this album was a great listen. I highly recommend picking it up once it is released next month if you are a fan of symphonic, folk, or power metal. A Lifetime of Adventure has a music video out if you want to preview what the album actually sounds like as well. I was impressed by the musicianship and overall quality of this album, and I hope Tuomas Holopainen continues to make more solo records.

4.5/5

Lauren Gowdy

Lost Society give the low down on the first five tracks from Terror Hungry

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 12th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Lost Society are set to unleash their new album Terror Hungry next month through Nuclear Blast. In anticipation of the new album, the guys have filmed a video giving fans the down low on the album. Lost Society decided to do this while on tour so each track is covered in a different country and/or city, giving fans a chance to see what life on the road with these four Finnish dudes is like. The first clips which covers the first five tracks can be viewed just below:

Part One: Spurgatory

Part Two: Game Over and Attaxic

Part Three: Lethal Pleasure and Terror Hungry

Lost Society online:

http://facebook.com/lostsocietyfinland
http://youtube.com/lostsocietyfinland
https://twitter.com/lostsocietyfi

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Sonata Arctica unveil second single from upcoming studio album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on 6th March 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Sonata Arctica are set to release their eighth studio album, entitled Pariah’s Child, at the end of the month. The album is the follow up to the band’s 2012 release Stones Grow Her Name. The band recently release a single from the new album titled Wolves Die Young and the band have now released the second single from the album. The single, titled Cloud Factory, is available for listening down below. The official video for wolves Die Young can be viewed down below as well.

Pariah’s Child was recorded and produced by the band at Studio 57 in Alaveteli, Finland. The mix was done by the band’s new bass player Kauppinen.

Sonata Arctica online:

http://sonataarctica.info
http://facebook.com/sonataarctica
http://twitter.com/SonataArctica
http://youtube.com/user/SonataArctica

 

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Sonata Arctica reveal artwork for new album, Pariah’s Child

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 9th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

31st March will see the release of a new Sonata Arctica album entitled Pariah’s Child. It is the band’s eight studio album and the follow-up to their successful release Stones Grow Her Name. Today the breathtakingly beautiful cover artwork, as seen above, for Pariah’s Child has been revealed. Vocalist Tony Kakko explains the thoughts behind the album title and the artwork:

As always it’s pretty hard coming up with a name for the new baby. I tried to approach it from many angles; how this is our 8th album and how easy it would be to abuse that fact. All the symbolism of figure eight, eternity and so on. But that just did not feel right as it’s been done so many times. Then I started to think how we’d in ways abandoned our “totem animal”, the wolf and all what comes with the territory. As the music on the album is bowing more towards the “old” Sonata, meaning more power metal style elements and wolves in many of the songs in one form or another, it was clear we need a wolf on the cover. An abandoned wolf. A pariah. Or Pariah’s child, actually. The new generation to bring the old logo back.

Following the release of Pariah’s Child in March, Sonata Arctica will be touring once again. Keyboardist Henrik “Henkka” Klingenberg commented:

It’s been a while since we last toured Europe, so I’m very happy that we can announce our first tour with our new album. Since the album will be out in March 2014, we don’t want to waste any time but will head out for a full European Tour. Our tour will start in Eindhoven, NL on April 10th, 2014. The whole band is really looking forward to play some new songs for you and introduce our new bass player, Pasi, for all our fans. He’s a monster live, you’ll see. Check below for the tourdates and we’ll see you in a few months!

Tour dates are as follow:

10.04.2014 – NL – Effenaar, Eindhoven
13.04.2014 – NL – Melkweg, Amsterdam
14.04.2014 – DE – Markthalle, Hamburg
16.04.2014 – DE – Meier Music Hall, Braunschweig
17.04.2014 – DE – C-Club, Berlin
18.04.2014 – DE – Hellraiser, Leipzig
19.04.2014 – DE – Matrix, Bochum
21.04.2014 – DE – Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg
22.04.2014 – DE – Garage, Saarbrücken
23.04.2014 – FR – Bataclan, Paris
24.04.2014 – DE – Rockfabrik, Ludwigsburg
26.04.2014 – DE – Hirsch, Nürnberg
27.04.2014 – CH – Z7, Pratteln
28.04.2014 – IT – Live Club, Trezzo
30.04.2014 – HU – Club 202, Budapest
01.05.2014 – CZ – Retro Music Hall, Prague
02.05.2014 – AT – Szene, Vienna
04.05.2014 – FR – Transbordeur, Lyon
05.05.2014 – ES – Bikini, Barcelona
06.05.2014 – ES – Arena, Madrid

Sonata Arctica online:

http://www.sonataarctica.info
http://www.facebook.com/sonataarctica

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