Reckoning Night
SONATA ARCTICA

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SONATA ARCTICA - Reckoning Night cover
3.60 | 17 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2004

Filed under Power Metal

Tracklist

1. Misplaced (4:42)
2. Blinded No More (5:33)
3. Ain't Your Fairytale (5:26)
4. Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night... (3:21)
5. Don't Say A Word (5:48)
6. The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet (4:44)
7. My Selene (5:28)
8. Wildfire (4:36)
9. White Pearl, Black Oceans... (8:47)
10. Shamandalie (4:04)
11. Jam (2:51)

Total Time: 55:26

Line-up/Musicians

- Tony Kakko / vocals
- Jani Liimatainen / guitars
- Marko Paasikoski / bass
- Tommy Portimo / drums
- Henrik Klingenberg / keyboards

Guest musicians:
- Nik Van-Eckmann / male voice (5, 8 and 9)

About this release

Release date: October 11, 2004
Label: Nuclear Blast

Japanese bonus track:
12. Wrecking The Sphere (7:02)

Thanks to progshine for the updates

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SONATA ARCTICA RECKONING NIGHT reviews

Specialists/collaborators reviews

Diogenes
Reckoning Night is considered by many fans to be Sonata Arctica’s swansong, as if the band mysteriously disappeared in 2005 and has been missing ever since. It’s a silly idea, but what those people are right on is that this is, by far, the band’s most mature effort to this point. The production is rich and powerful, bringing forth tight musicianship from all angles (although they’ve never been the most technical group around) and sounding every bit as wintry as their previous works while packing a punch that a lot of metal records like it lack. It’s also noticeably darker, as this is where the Finns really started to explore territory beyond their Stratoesque roots, writing longer songs and easing up a bit on the tiring double-kick drum patterns; the use of keyboards can still be considered “flowery,” except they’re accompanied by a great dose of melancholy this time around. When the band’s discography is listened to chronologically, it’s quite easy to tell that this is where they exchanged their light, fun atmosphere for something much heavier and intimate, though not yet to the point of Unia or The Days of Grays.

Lyrically, Tony Kakko has never been better, painting somber tales of sadness (“Misplaced”) and angst (“Blinded No More”), along with the traditional Sonata Arctica wolf anthem, “Ain’t Your Fairytale”. His vocals, despite being somewhat lower-pitched than they were in the band’s earlier years, convey the songs’ messages perfectly while being intertwined with complex choir arrangements; the best example of this would probably be in the classic “Don’t Say a Word,” although the vocal arrangements are consistently strong throughout the album as a whole and really show Kakko’s growth as a composer rather than a singer.

The mood change and musical evolution on Reckoning Night acts both as a boon and a hindrance; while it may appeal to those who were wishing Sonata Arctica would find their own sound (which, in my opinion, they already did on Winterheart’s Guild), it just seems plodding in areas where I’m used to the band soaring. Yes, there are more midtempo tracks here, but that’s not necessarily it; “My Selene,” while being one of the album’s faster songs, is simply not up to the usual Sonata Arctica standard of power metal. The same goes for “The Boy Who Wanted to Be A Real Puppet” and “Blinded No More,” which are basically just there-not bad enough to be filler, but not really memorable in any way either.

Sonata Arctica hits a grand slam, however, on the epic “While Pearl, Black Oceans”. A fascinating yet woeful tale of a lighthouse keeper and a tragic shipwreck he indirectly causes, the song stands both as the end of the straightforward power metal era of the band and perhaps their biggest triumph as an overall composition. A lyrical masterpiece, the song builds as the story goes on, Kakko adding more and more choirs before it reaches its sorrowful climax. It’s just so beautifully sad and gripping, making it the perfect album closer (unfortunately, this is not the case). Definitely the best song on the album, and maybe in Sonata Arctica’s career.

So while I find myself missing the energy and enthusiasm of the band’s earlier works, the fourth Sonata Arctica album certainly has its fair share to offer. Reckoning Night is certainly worth a listen, even if it’s just for its standout tracks; inconsistent, but enjoyable nonetheless.
topofsm
There are plenty of artists that can be used as great examples of "flower metal" when referring to upbeat, symphonic, and melodic metal. However, Sonata Arctica may as well be regarded as the posterboys of the sort of genre, and Reckoning Night is one of their most prominent examples. For sure, the album is great for getting that energetic power mood into you. In some respects it may be lacking, but plenty of the acts are good at putting that speedy, bright energy into you.

Such energy is apparent right from the start in "Misplaced", which doesn't even give a minute for build up by starting with fast paced drums, going into some quick power guitar lines and going into the speed. Like this song, many of the songs on this album are standard fare for power metal, very fast, with bright guitar lines. The production makes everything very accessible sounding, with the guitars never too distorted and on equal footing with the always melodic keyboard. The other more famous song on the album that matches this style is "Ain't Your Fairytale", which features an anthemic chorus and a pretty creative solo and bridge section with some cool keyboards.

That being said, there seems to be a wasted space on the album. After the rapid opener, the energy drops to a crawl with "Blinded No More", which is VERY slow to midtempo. It doesn't seem to carry much inspiration, and even the guitar solo seems there to fill some time. Half of the supposed epic "White Pearl, Black Ocean" seems to fit the bill for this, and the closing ballad "Shamandile" doesn't work too well either. I've stated often that one of power metal's flaws is that the best stuff is usually in the speedy over-the-top stuff, so what tends to happen is either an album of similar sounding tracks or a bunch of these speed metal songs intersperced with standard ballads.

As far as other tracks go, it's mostly back to the quick-paced power metal fare we should all be familiar with. "Wildfire" is a good standout, as the chorus is fairly angry for what Sonata Arctica usually gets by with. "The Boy Who Wanted to be a Real Puppet" is actually fairly interesting, with a prominent waltz-esque feel to it intersperced with that bright power feeling, something you don't hear every day. There's not much to complain about, but then again there's still not much there either. This tends to happen to power metal, and with very bright, soft varieties like these it has the unfortunate tendency completely lack bite.

That being said, Sonata Arctica definitely shows they are good musicians who have the ability to write some great songs. "Ain't Your Fairytale" is a standard they can be proud of, along with "Wildfire" and "The Boy Who wanted to be a Real Puppet". The rest of the album may hit snags here and there, but it's still a great album to "power out" too, and maybe play World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons to.

Members reviews

RuneWalsh2112
I first became aware of Sonata Arctica back in 2003 when I was in the army serving in the northern Sweden. The local folk, up in the north, are a lot more into melodic music which is why cheesy pop music and melodic metal is especially popular in the northern regions of the world. At first, I wasn't actually much of a fan even though bands that I listened to at the time weren't exactly much different in comparison (i.e. Dream Theater, Rush, Sympony X etc.) even if I wanted to believe that they were.

The snippets of "Silence" and "Ecliptica" that I've got to hear during my 10 month in the service felt very tedious and straining at first but eventually I got off my high horse and began to appreciate the simplicity and high energy that existed in the European Power Metal. It didn't mean that I was completely sold on the whole concept, rather that I was more open-minded about it.

By the time "Reckoning Night" came around I've almost completely forgotten about ever listening to Sonata Arctica but this definitely changed once I've read the highly praising AllMusic review of the album and its creative edge over the band's repertoire up to this point. I basically said why not? ... and purchased the album. The music that I was met with wasn't exactly too different compared to what I previously heard from the band but the major difference was in the fact that the material was a whole lot more consistent compared to their first two releases. The album revealed a lot of the hidden qualities that I have not experienced on any other Power Metal albums until now. I'm referring to the completely gorgeous melodies that weren't necessary cheesy, or at least I didn't see them as such. Most importantly, this particular album didn't feel like junk food --- an analogy that works surprisingly well with most Power Metal albums. Most of the Power Metal albums that I've experienced thus far have all felt like brainless fun that really had no, or very little, consistency to it making them ideal for a spin or two and them dropping them completely off my playlist for many months and sometimes even years!

Simply put, this is one of the few Power Metal albums that managed to click with me. Just like with most other music from this genre, it only works when I'm in that weird kind of mood, but it sure feels great to have a right album for the occasion!

***** star songs: Misplaced (4:42) Ain't Your Fairytale (5:26) White Pearl, Black Oceans... (8:47) Shamandalie (4:04)

**** star songs: Blinded No More (5:33) The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet (4:44) My Selene (5:28) Wildfire (4:36) Don't Say A Word (5:49)

** star songs: Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night... (3:21)

Ratings only

  • DippoMagoo
  • Dougie
  • Primeval Scum
  • KatiLily
  • ProgHead
  • guitarherosucks
  • SevDawg
  • Nergal131
  • silversaw
  • daveman
  • SrEstaire
  • Lokus
  • shriiimp
  • NorseGangsta

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