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Sonata Arctica - Orientation

=Staff's pick

Black Sheep*
Mary-Lou (acoustic version)*
The Wind Beneath My Wings
Die With Your Boots On*
+Wolf & Raven -video

Genre Power Metal
Tony Kakko
Tracks 4 + extra material
Jani Liimatainen
Runningtime 19 Min.
Label Spinefarm Records
Marko Paasikoski
Release 09 Jul. 2001 (Japan only)
Tommy Portimo
Country Finland
Mikko Harkin
Similar artists Stratovarius

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.

See also review of: The Ninth Hour , Pariah's Child , Stones Grow Her Name , Unia , Reckoning Night , Silence , Winterhearts Guild , Don't Say A Word






7 chalices of 10 - Tommy

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