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Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name

Published May 26 2012

=Staff's pick

Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)*
Shitload O'Money
Losing My Insanity*
Somewhere Close To You
I Have A Right
Alone In Heaven*
The Day
Don't Be Mean
Wildfire Part II - One With The Mountain
Wildfire Part III - Wildfire Town, Population: 0

Genre Progressive Power Metal
Tony Kakko
Tracks 11
Elias Viljanen
Running time 53 Min.
Label Nuclear Blast
Marko Paasikoski
Release 23 May 2012
Tommy Portimo
Country Germany
Henrik Klingenberg
Producer Sonata Arctica
Similar artists Stratovarius

Finnish quintet Sonata Arctica are back with their seventh full length studio album. Once starting their career as a full time power metal band and now, over a decade later, a band with more progressive elements, but still with a power metal foundation. The two latest releases and fish baits, Unia and The Days Of Grays, have been too complex for many listeners and therefore their fan base have been slowly decreasing. Yet they have gained new fans along the way when songwriter and singer Tony Kakko has started to create music for people of a more mature age, I would say.

This complexity is still present on Stones Grow Her Name, but driven more to some form of catchiness with songs like the opener Only The Broken Hearts, the first single I Have A Right and with Losing My Insanity. I hear parts during certain moments from their early work as well, even if this album by no means sounds anything like their debut album, Ecliptica or their sophomore release Silence.

Cinderblox is one peculiar track. Probably an old song rearranged or just totally written to sound like it. The melody of the song is old Sonata Arctica, but the performance is just bizarre. Cool and good, but yet it sucks. You gotta hear it to draw your own conclusion. Shitload O'Money is a bit metallic, but without that striking spark. Furthermore there's The Day, which is some kind of a semi-ballad which quietly passes me by, and Somewhere Close To You with this band's progressiveness taken to the summit and my whole body writhes.

A couple of ballads are of course present as well. Alone In Heaven is powerful and a nice piece of work. Don't Be Mean is too much lullaby and too powerless for me and I'm starting to think what's up next, and next up is the Wildfire-suite split in two parts named Part II and Part III. If you're not familiar with their past efforts, there's a song on the album Reckoning Night called Wildfire. This sixteen minute suite takes us back to complex stuff once more with its jumpy and abrupt turning points and even if Part III is sometimes faster, heavier and catchier, it doesn't affect my senses at all.

The album is in fact not that bad as one could get the impression of when reading above, but I feel it could have been so much better. If you like their first three albums and have hopes that this will be a return to straight power metal, you will definitely be disappointed once again. On the other hand, if you dig their three latest releases, this album will suit you just fine.

See also review of: The Ninth Hour , Pariah's Child , Unia , Reckoning Night , Winterheart's Guild , Silence , Don't Say A Word , Orientation








4 chalices of 10 - Tobbe

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