Sound — 8
The formula that made their debut, "Ecliptica," such a success among power metal fans is once again utilized here. In other words, rhythm guitars that alternate between muted sixteenth notes and whole notes, the rapid drum beat, and bass lines that follow the root of the the guitar chords. Let's not forget the technical guitar/keyboard solo duels between Jani Limitainen and Mikko Harkin that generally occur two thirds through the song.
That said, there are some tempo and time signature changes in places you wouldn't expect, as well as unconventional song structures, a foreshadowing of the progressive side of the band that would develop further on later albums like "Reckoning Night" and "Unia."
Lyrics — 9
Tony Kakko, one of my favorite vocalists, hasn't changed his approach much here. He proves to be very versatile, ranging from the tenderness of "Tallulah" to the Dickinson-esque belting of "Wolf and Raven." Sometimes, though, he sings a little too high for his own good, hence why it's hard to find good live versions of some of these songs.
Many of the lyrical themes from the previous album are revisited here, namely regarding werewolves, concerns over internet privacy, fighting against oppression, and lamenting over lost love. Kakko has a knack for writing lyrics that are simultaneously gorgeous and poetic, and yet fairly disturbing. Here's a sample from "Wolf and Raven": Grant me a wish, my master/Take heed of me/I have been loyal/servant/Heartfelt, humble/Gave up what belongs to me/Gave up my greed/My self-examination/Made me see, to be me/I am now like Judas, done/Ashamed of what I've become/Fear for life I wear as a ring/To bask in your favor, I will kill the king."
Overall Impression — 8
There are a couple of songs that don't stand out to me, but overall "Silence" is a worthy addition to Sonata Arctica's catalog. For the most part, Kakko and friends stay within their comfort zone, for better or for worse, but there are plenty of surprises. It demonstrates how they were able to develop their sound without dramatically reinventing themselves, and it marks a significant step forward in terms of musicianship and songwriting. Key tracks to look out for: "The End of This Chapter," "Sand Sebastian," "Wolf and Raven" and "The Power of One."