Sonata Arctica - Orientation
During the wait for their next fullength album , the guys in finnish Sonata Arctica have decided to realse a few mini cd' - one for the finnish market only, and one for the japanese - this is the japanese version, and contains one more track than the other.
What is it then, that they are offering us? Well - for a change it is not a boring, mediocre "in-between-releases" cd, that we so often are beeing served. This one contains 2 really good tracks - 3 if you count Black Sheep which already could be found on the previous album Silence, and is a real killersong. In an acoustic version of Mary-Lou (which I am holding for one of the best songs all together released during the year 2001), we get to hear a great vocal performance by Mr. Kakko, and the arrangement is very good- this is a very beautiful song! If I get to choose, I'd rather hear it in it's metalshape, but apart from that - this is as good as it gets.
The other hit on this appetizer for us Sonata-thirsty fans, is a really well covered song originally composed by a group that goes under the name Iron Maiden. They are performing a very nice version here, not manically following the original, but instead give room for elegant choirs, and splendid riffing by the talented Jani Liimatainen.
We also get to hear a Bette Midler(!) cover on this one - The Wind Beneath My Wings, and that can perhaps sound like a weird choice by the guys, but in fact it doesn't sound bad at all. They do it in the best possible mid-tempo Sonatastyle possible, and if I didn't knew it was a Midlercover, I would probably never reflected over it. It is a standardsong that doesn't rise above most things they have done, but it doesn't lower the grades for this release - rather helps maintaning the good standard.
A Mcd is always a Mcd, and you have to decide for yourself if you think it is worth the nickles to get a hold of this release, or wait for a fulllenght album, but it contains only good tracks all over, and for the diehard Sonata fan I think that a decision to not buy this one, should not be an option.