Sound — 10
This is Sonata's latest full-length album. The bands haven't lost their guitar/keytar combination. The bass can only be heard at some points. the band's downfall is the drums. The drummer can keep a beat but nothing really technical. The keytar/keyboards overshadow the guitar at some points though. I'm not entirely sure if there is a story attached with the CD. But the band is showing massive improvement in their work. The band is usually considered a power metal band but they are far more speed metal than power. There is a bit of a bluesy part in some songs. Loads of variation between songs.
Lyrics — 10
Tony Kakko's lyrics have matured from Sonata's previous albums. His beautiful voice remains. I still can't believe he had never had singing training or lessons. I will list the tracks and rate them out of 10 each: 01. Misplaced - the song starts with a blast of Guitar and keyboard. Freezes for a second, and then there is a lovely keyboard part. Tony comes in singing. Great song with great musicianship with an epic dubbed chorus part. Though was never my favourite. 02. Blinded No More - rather slower paced than the first song. At the verse the guitar and keyboard quiet down from the intro. You can actually hear the basswork. SOunds like some improvised music from RuneScape or something. Great song. Ends with some sog bark. 03. Ain't Your Fairytale - no intro here. Starts of with a growl. And suddenly you hear singing, not from just Tony but from the whole band. Chords mainly with some keyboard shredding. The solo starts off with keyboards and then guitar joins in. This song is Energetic and fast paced. 04. Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night - the whole album pulls to a stop and takes off at a slow pace at the keyboard/piano part. No vocals. We hear Henrik show off his beauty at the keys. It starts off depressing and sad. Then goes to a spooky bit. Beautiful instrumentals. 05. Don't Say A Word - the single on the album. Most people seem to know Sonata Arctica by this song. Lovely keytar parts troughout the entire song. Powerful work from Jani on guitar. Kickass solo but overdubbed vocals on the chorus. Sounds pretty much like Blind Guardian's 'A Night At The Opera' style song. But still a great song. 06. The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet - this is probably the cheesiest song on the album. It's about a guy who wanted to buy a puppet from it's master but he kept disagreeing. A great story song but they're not cutting back on the Cheese. 07. My Selene - the starting riff sounds like guitar but it is clearly a keyboard. The verse part sounds quite bluesy. This is a mid-paced ballad type song. It picks up speed along the way but Tony keeps it at pace with his beautiful voice. This is a perfect opener to the next song which is a huge twist to Soanata's style. 08. Wildfire - the hardest and most evil song in Sonata's career. It begons with a chatter asking some person what would he like to do to a town for kicking the guy out. 'Burn it... Burn it all' A sinister whisper begins the song. A heavy power-chord riff begins with some keyboard octaves. The chorus sounds off though. Sounds drunk a bit. Great solo part, what I would call it. The solo sounds like the music from 'King Of The Hill'. There is a 6 second part where there are soft voices but it's all a heavy and mighty turnaround to Sonata's work. 09. White Pearl, Black Oceans - the longest song of the album lasting 8 minutes yet not exactly my favourite song. It's about the sea a shipwreck or something. The verse is nice and the vocal skills are lovely but a bit soft for my style. It gets heavier at 4 minutes. Then another Blind Guardian-esque style vocal dubbing. A keyboard breakdown and then another soft part. Not my style but still rather good. Some good parts though. 10. Shamndalie - here's your obligatory ballad. It also happens to be one of the best ballads Sonata has ever written. The lyrics are unbelievably sad (I actually looked at them), it's about Tony losing one of his best friends, undoubtedly a girl. Standard MTV emo fair, yes, but he makes it work without being irritating as hell. Nice acoustic guitar work. 11. Wrecking The Sphere - I'm not able to call this a song. It's just them jamming on an acoustic at a bar or something. There are shakers, a little drum and an acoustic. A bunch of Finnish chatter. I don't like it and I'm not sure anyone else does. Good rhythm though. The lyrics comply to the music perfectly. Tony might be untrained as a singer but he sings really good.
Overall Impression — 10
It compares with a lot of power metal bands such as Blind Guardian. The most impressive songs in my honest opinion are Don't Say A Word, Wildfire and My Selene. Recommended. I love the band's inprovement in the vocals and the music. The lyrics have deeply matured from 'Walking around in the cold night air/Without underwear'. I rather dislike their take off of Blind Guardian's 'A Night At The Opera' style vocals dubbing. I also dislike the cheese used in some songs. Down with cheesy songs. I can't lose it since the CD that I have has all the Sonata Arctica Albums. The album is also on my computer's hard-drive and on my iPod. There is a very slim chance of the album being lost or stolen.