Sonata Arctica - Silence
What are finnish youngsters beeing served for breakfast when they grow up ?? It sure as hell can't be some sissy juice, eggs or some coco with a cheesesandwich.... There must be heavier, more compact stuff involved. It doesn't come many groups from from the Land of the Thousand Lakes, but when they finally come out in the open (cause I believe there dwells just as many good bands in that country as any other - they are just seldom heard of), they are doing it with a vengeance.
Sonata Arctica released one of the best - if not THE best - albums during 2001, and I can't really see what shouldn't make this album almost as good. They kickstart the show with the fastpaced Weballergy, with a brillant chorus and excellent riffing and soloing by the guitargenius Liimatainen, and that is beeing followed up by the already classic False News Travel Fast in true Sonata style - quick opening, pounding double bassdrums, a great refrain, and mighty choirs as interludes, The End of This Chapter which is a bit more heavy bit, and the possible prospect for the song of the century: the marvellous speedy Black Sheep which is where the cd reaches a climax - for the first time, but not the last.
Cause it keeps going on from there in a good tempo throughout the album, with Jani on guitars showing from his best side - I am holding that man for one of the best guitarist around, despite his young age. Not the most technical skilled, but with a sixth sense for melodies, licks and riffs. They are also treating us a new version of San Sebastian, which in my eyes has to be one of the best songs ever written, some really good songs at the end that are not really rising above anything else, but still holds a very good standard. 2 ballads on this album - perhaps some would say 3, depending on how you categorize songs, and even though I am of the strong opinion that ballads have nothing to do on a metalalbum, I must say that one of the few groups in the world that gets away with it, is Sonata Arctica. They are in absolute world class, and more beautiful songs you will have a hard time to find elsewhere, if you ask me.
The closure of the album is also very strong, with a short instrumental piece that are very pleasant, and the fast and very headbanging-inviting Wolf&Raven which is one of Sonatas best so far, and they are roundign everything off with the epic, 11 minute track The Power of One which starts slow, but later on they offer us a fine example of Sonata at their very best - intelligent power metal with riffs and melodies that rise above the average.
The production is just excellent - most of the afterwork like mastering and mixing has been done in Finnvox Studios, Finland but the recording took place in Tico Tico Studio, also Finland, which proves that my neighbour country possesses a great deal of knowledge and skill in that area besides the most wellknown. Sonata Arctica have in short time established themselves in the utter elite of this genre, and I have the feeling they are going to stay there for quite some time to come. Kiitos, Suomi!