SONATA ARCTICA
Power Metal / Traditional heavy metal / Symphonic Metal • Finland

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Sonata Arctica was formed in 1996 on the edge of the world, in the northern Finnish town of Kemi.

Originally was formed as Tricky Beans, they released few demos and as they got the contract they had to change their name. In 1999 the band recorded a new demo "FullMoon" in Tico Tico Studios located in their hometown, Kemi. At the time of recording the line-up consisted of: Tony (vocals/keys), Jani (guitars), Tommy (drums), and Janne (bass). This new demo was the first exploration for the band in heavy metal waters. The band's trademark sound of fast, melodic and keyboard oriented heavy metal with clear, high vocals was born. As fate would have it, and with help from Ahti Kortelainen of Tico Tico Studios, the "FullMoon" demo found its way to the premier metal label of Finland, Spinefarm. At the same time Tricky Beans became Sonata Arctica.

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Pariah's ChildPariah's Child
Nuclear Blast America 2014
Audio CD$8.48
$5.99 (used)
Stones Grow Her NameStones Grow Her Name
Deluxe Edition · Extra tracks
Nuclear Blast America 2012
Audio CD$9.55
$5.00 (used)
Reckoning NightReckoning Night
Nuclear Blast Americ 2004
Audio CD$6.12
$1.50 (used)
UniaUnia
Nuclear Blast Americ 2007
Audio CD$5.74
$2.49 (used)
EclipticaEcliptica
Import
Spinefarm 2008
Audio CD$5.44
$15.75 (used)
Reckoning Night / UniaReckoning Night / Unia
Limited Edition
Nuclear Blast Americ 2013
Audio CD$13.00
$19.24 (used)
SilenceSilence
Import
Spinefarm 2008
Audio CD$5.46
$4.95 (used)
Winterheart's GuildWinterheart's Guild
Import
Spinefarm 2006
Audio CD$5.44
$4.10 (used)
Days of GraysDays of Grays
Nuclear Blast Americ 2009
Audio CD$6.12
$3.94 (used)
Pariah ChildPariah Child
Import
Imports 2014
Audio CD$14.35
$32.48 (used)
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SONATA ARCTICA Discography

SONATA ARCTICA albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 4.25 | 29 ratings
Ecliptica
Power Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.42 | 20 ratings
Silence
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.94 | 18 ratings
Winterheart's Guild
Power Metal 2003
.. Album Cover 3.47 | 16 ratings
Reckoning Night
Power Metal 2004
.. Album Cover 2.27 | 11 ratings
Unia
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover 3.51 | 10 ratings
The Days Of Grays
Symphonic Metal 2009
.. Album Cover 3.90 | 8 ratings
Stones Grow Her Name
Traditional heavy metal 2012
.. Album Cover 3.93 | 2 ratings
Pariah's Child
Power Metal 2014

SONATA ARCTICA EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 3.83 | 3 ratings
Successor
Power Metal 2000
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Orientation
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Takatalvi
Power Metal 2003

SONATA ARCTICA live albums

.. Album Cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Songs Of Silence: Live In Tokyo
Power Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 3.50 | 1 ratings
For The Sake Of Revenge
Power Metal 2006

SONATA ARCTICA demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SONATA ARCTICA boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The End Of This Chapter
Power Metal 2005
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Collection 1999-2006
Power Metal 2006

SONATA ARCTICA singles (14)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
UnOpened
Power Metal 1999
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wolf & Raven
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Last Drop Falls
Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Broken
Power Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Victoria's Secret
Power Metal 2003
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Shamandalie
Power Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Don't Say A Word
Power Metal 2004
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Replica
Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Paid In Full
Power Metal 2007
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Last Amazing Grays
Power Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Flag In The Ground
Power Metal 2009
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Have A Right
Power Metal 2012
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Alone in Heaven
Power Metal 2013
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
The Wolves Die Young
Power Metal 2014

SONATA ARCTICA movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
For The Sake Of Revenge
Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover
5.00 | 1 ratings
Live In Finland
Power Metal 2011

SONATA ARCTICA Reviews

SONATA ARCTICA Pariah's Child

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
arcane-beautiful
Sonata Arctica have a been a band I have admired for a very long time. During a period of power metal popularity, these guys where very much in the background doing their own thing. The band have very much gained a cult following over these past few years with no real mass popularity.

The band's consistency in material has been all over the place in the past few years. Since 2007s very dark “Unia”, the band have had a rather confusing string of albums. While their past few albums have been interesting listens, it does almost sound like the band have had an identity crisis (could be due to the bands ever changing line up).

Apparently according to the band, this album is supposed to be the follow up to “Reckoning Night” (my personal favourite Sonata album) and it is noticeable. Now this statement is a bit of a stretch, with obvious sounds from “The Days Of Greys” and “Stones Grow Her Name”, but it is one of the most recent Sonata albums which bode well to their original sound.

One of the bands biggest attractions has to be Tony Kakko's fun word play in his lyrics. Edging on great storytelling, interesting humour and beautiful poetry. Musically the album jumps between hard rock based power metal along with more progressive and darker moments. But, the album is a lot more joyous than previous albums, going back to a more carefree moment in Sonata's career.

The opening track and first single “The Wolves Die Young” is pretty much a return to form for the band. Catchy chorus, nice melodies and a cheesy music video.

One of my personal favourite songs is “Take One Breath.” Slightly mad in it's arrangement, Tony shows off a wide versatile range to his vocals, going from the harshest of shrieks to the calmest of tones in the drop of a heartbeat. The sci fi inspired lyrics and fun wordplay are also enjoyable.

One of the bands most interesting songs on the album has to be “Blood.” With a rather sporadic arrangement harkening back to the material heard on “Unia.” With a lot of musical twists and turns, it's a very interesting moment on the album. This song also teaches you the exact definition of blood....cause metal isn't just for fun. You can learn stuff too.

The rather cheesy but fun power ballad “Love” is a rather interesting moment on the album. Even though it does have some rather cheesy moments, the statement and song is still very pretty. It's good to see these guys showing a more sensitive side.

The albums closer and longest track “Larger Than Life” is a mad explosive rollercoaster. Being mixed with a power ballad and an almost musical and operatic feel, the song is a very interesting piece, with great over layered vocals by Tony. Great ending to the album.

In conclusion, after a few confusing years of weird experimentation, Sonata Arctica seemed to have finally put their feet more firmly on the ground with a rather 'return to form.' A mixed blend of all of the bands strongest sounds, the album is definitely on par with their more classically renowned releases.

8.2/10

SONATA ARCTICA Reckoning Night

Album · 2004 · Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

SONATA ARCTICA Unia

Album · 2007 · Power Metal
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RuneWalsh2112
After being highly enthusiastic for the material that I've heard on "Reckoning Night" it really felt that Sonata Arctica have finally come into their own as a Power Metal powerhouse! It really seemed to me that they could do no wrong with the release of "Unia", which is why I got the album without a single hesitation. The results of my quick reaction were so disastrous that I now almost never purchase/listen to a record before doing at least minimum amount of research!

"Unia" was the album where Tony Kakko pretty much decided that he's had enough of the straightforward power metal sound of the past and wanted to make sure that his songwriting would be taken seriously by the metal community. The description of the style that he goes for on "Unia" should have been more pleasing to my ears since this prog metalesque sound does remind me of "White Pearl, Black Oceans...", which is probably my favorite track by Sonata Arctica. But when hearing the actual album it's clear that the results are pretty disastrous to say the least!

By pretty much removing all traces of straightforward Power Metal melodies, Sonata Arctica lost the only quality that made them unique in the growing world of metal. There is nothing really wrong with mixing symphonic metal with lite hints of prog metal but there are at least 10 other bands who already completely dominate this genre and Sonata Arctica is really not the act that can pull off convincing progressive sound due to their obvious lack in the instrumental department. They are far from a technical band to begin with, except for a few excellent keyboard players they employed in the past.

Overall, "Unia" is literally a dream that just was not meant to be and the more I listen to it the more convinced I become of this conclusion. My interest for Sonata Arctica faded after this release and I haven't even bothered listening to "The Days Of Grays". Having said that, I will probably give "Stones Grow Her Name" a go even though the first single "I Have A Right" is easily the worst track they've ever released. I'm really curious about the two "Wildfire" tracks that are a continuation of the original track from "Reckoning Night", but my expectation are pretty low.

**** star songs: It Won't Fade (5:58) Caleb (6:16) The Harvest (4:18)

*** star songs: In Black And White (5:03) Paid In Full (4:24) Under Your Tree (5:14) The Vice (4:08) My Dream's But A Drop Of Fuel For A Nightmare (6:13) Fly With The Black Swan (5:08) Good Enough Is Good Enough (5:31)

** star songs: For The Sake Of Revenge (3:23) The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden (2:57)

SONATA ARCTICA For The Sake Of Revenge

Live album · 2006 · Power Metal
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RuneWalsh2112
After being quite excited for the shift in quality on "Reckoning Night" it only felt natural for me to revisit some of the early Sonata Arctica. But right when I got the notion to do so I got the news of this live release that would document the the band's supporting tour. Since I've very much enjoyed the band's Sweden Rock Festival 2005 performance, where they performed (if the memory serves me right) this exact setlist, it only felt natural to revisit this great performance.

It was definitely a lot of fun to hear this setlist performed in just the same manner as I heard it during the Sweden Rock gig but I somehow felt that these songs never actually lifted and created a statement of their own. Yes there are a few vocal variations here and there plus a few updated keyboard solos, but it dawns pretty soon on any listener of a power metal live album that this music cannot be enjoyed in the same way when the performance has been encapsulated on a disc. Tony Kakko does a solid performance in his role as the frontman and I vividly remember how he completely dominated the stage with his rock star attitude and enigmatic/dazzling presence. These qualities are somewhat diminished here since what we mostly hear is a vocalist who does a solid performance but the charisma just doesn't translate on this record.

**** star songs: Misplaced (4:43) Blinded No More (5:16) Fullmoon/White Pearl, Black Oceans... (5:49) Victoria's Secret (5:03) Broken (5:26) 8th Commandment (3:56) Shamandalie (3:54) Kingdom For A Heart (4:17) Replica (4:08) My Land (4:36) Black Sheep (4:00) Don't Say A Word (6:35) The Cage/Vodka (Hava Nagila) (7:30)

*** star songs: Intro (Prelude For Reckoning) (2:16) Gravenimage (2:23)

SONATA ARCTICA Stones Grow Her Name

Album · 2012 · Traditional heavy metal
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Diogenes
Having grown to love Sonata Arctica’s last album, The Days of Grays, I hoped that the band had finally found a style in which they were comfortable, and that their next album would be a continuation of it; so what if they don’t play power metal anymore? The 2012 single “I Have a Right” effectively dashed my hopes and got me worrying: is that what their new album is going to sound like? POP? It was the complete antithesis of what made The Days of Grays special. And so, I rather tentatively began my listen of Sonata Arctica’s latest, Stones Grow Her Name, not knowing what to expect. It was fitting, in a way, because this album is going to throw people for a loop if they aren’t careful.

First, let’s go over what hasn’t changed, since none of it is really surprising anyway. Stones Grow Her Name marks the fourth album in a row in which Sonata Arctica’s mood is melancholy at best; anyone expecting a return to their earlier days of cheese-infested happy sappy stuff should probably turn elsewhere. Tony Kakko’s lyrics remain unorthodox, but his vocals are as emotional as ever, painting scenes of longing and angst as he crows, whines, and growls his way throughout tracks like “Alone in Heaven” and “The Day”. It’s safe to say that no emotiveness or lyrical creativity is lost, despite some really awful track names (“Shitload of Money?” Wildfires Part II AND III? Come on guys).

As for everything else? It’s all up in the air. After experimenting with a darker, more progressive sound on Unia and solidifying it on The Days of Grays, Sonata Arctica have changed gears yet again to incorporate more straightforward hard rock elements. Elias Viljanen is given much more leeway this time around, playing less of a “support” role than he did on The Days of Grays; good riffs are still hard to come by on this album, but Elias gets more of a chance to show off his chops in the shorter compositions, as well as being generally higher in the mix than before. That’s not to say that keyboardist Henrik Klingenberg is absent, of course; his work in the slower passages of tracks like “The Day” make the songs more than tolerable, despite Sonata Arctica’s reputation for writing really crappy ballads, so that alone would net this album some points.

It’s the experimentation, though, that ultimately makes (or breaks) Stones Grow Her Name. It’s almost as if Sonata Arctica threw all sorts of shit at the wall just to see what would stick. The album begins with a simple power-pop number in “Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)” and ends with perhaps the most complex Sonata Arctica arrangement ever in the two-part “Wildfire” continuation. You’ve got the electronic beats to begin “Shitload of Money” and the banjo in “Cinderblox”. Make no mistake about it; Stones Grow Her Name is far from an album on which every song sounds like the previous one.

Tony Kakko’s creativity has never been in doubt, though; it’s whether the material he writes is any good or not. Stones Grow Her Name has a lot of variety (probably the most of any Sonata Arctica album to date), but it seems as if the band is going through another identity crisis. A lack of direction? Maybe, but that’s what Unia suffered from, and this album is considerably better. Inconsistency within the compositions would describe it better, I would say. It’s not just a “I like Song X, but I don’t like Song Y” sort of thing; the songs themselves are roller coasters, going from striking the perfect emotional chords one minute to wondering where the hell that lovable Finnish cheeseball band went the next. “Shitload of Money,” which is bound to be a controversial track, starts off as boring and cliché, but is saved by a catchy and tasteful clean guitar lick (of all things!), a point at which the track becomes quite enjoyable. Even the sole track that can actually be classified as power metal, “Losing My Insanity,” has its ups and downs, with an infectious chorus offsetting the out-of-place piano intro. The whole thing is just all over the map in terms of how well all of those weird elements work, to a point where choosing standout tracks is almost impossible.

If there’s anything to be drawn from Stones Grow Her Name, it’s that Sonata Arctica are going to keep evolving, and if you don’t like it…then you can just wait for their next album, I guess. This is totally respectable, and the risks they take on this album warrant a few listens, if for no reason other than finding out if you like banjo-metal or not. For the wide spectrum of elements on the album, though, I can’t help but feel that Stones Grow Her Name falls a tad short; it sets out to be an adventure in experimentation, but its inconsistent material falls somewhere in between the directionless disaster of Unia and the vast depth of The Days of Grays. Somewhat disappointing, but at the same time, I can’t tell you if you’ll dig it until you give it a serious listen.

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