When it comes to SONATA ARCTICA, no one really needs an introduction. The classic metal band has released nine albums and now is ready to release their tenth studio album “Talviyö” on 6 September 2019 through Nuclear Blast.
Writing this review is really challenging. I have always been a fan of SONATA ARCTICA, up until “Unia”, that’s when I started to lose interest in what these guys are doing. Yet, there is always that slim flicker of hope where you imagine the band putting out an energetic power metal album again. Well, I have been counting… SONATA ARCTICA hasn’t put out a power metal record for about ten years now… A long time. Can we expect new winds on the horizon for “Talviyö”? Let’s dive into what you can expect…
Taking into account that I’m a fan of old SONATA ARCTICA, this album didn’t really tickle my interest. I have listened to it an awful lot of times to prepare for the interview I did with them, and the band did give me some answers to the many questions I had about the album, its style, and its sound, but still I’m left with an empty stomach. Admittedly, “Talviyö” is not what I had hoped for. It explores more of the same style the band has played in the previous three albums, and by far is the slowest-paced album the band ever has put out. Then again, if you’re a fan of gloomy melody lines, this is definitely your cup of tea.
The opening track “Message From The Sun” was described by Tony Kakko as the most power metal track on this album, and while it has perhaps a faster tempo than the rest, it’s far from the old SONATA ARCTICA. The album continues in a similar style with tracks like “Cold”, and “Who Failed The Most”, “The Last Of The Lambs” is part of the Caleb saga but musically feels like it’s part of a different story altogether. The best track on the album, in my opinion, is the instrumental track “Ismo’s Got Good Reactors” as after all that gloominess it offers a nice break. The single “A Little Less Understanding” forms another highlight on the album. A catchy chorus, we can find in “Who Failed The Most”.
What the album for me personally lacks is mostly energy. I don’t mind the band trying to experiment and find a new way to write music, however, if the songs had even just a tiny bit more energy, both in the production and in the songwriting, the album would have sounded a lot different, and perhaps a bit more crisp or dynamic.
The good news is that if you liked the previous albums, this one definitely continues in the same style, and takes it even further. In my opinion, the band has experimented even more with this sound and has done some peculiar things production-wise as they wanted to achieve a more live sound in the production. This is especially clear in the loud bass sound and the more organic sounding drums – at times a tad too sloppy for my taste. While the vocals are not as rich as they used to be, Tony uses a lot of different techniques in this album, such as storytelling, which do adds a little bit of extra depth to the songs.
That leaves me pretty much only to conclude that if you liked the old SONATA ARCTICA, “Talviyö” might be not for you, but if you like how the band has progressed into a melodic rock/metal band, then you should definitely give “Talviyö” a go.
|1||Message From The Sun|
|4||Storm The Armada|
|5||The Last Of The Lambs|
|6||Who Failed The Most|
|7||Ismo’s Got Good Reactors|
|9||A Little Less Understanding|
|10||The Raven Still Flies|
Tony Kakko – vocals
Elias Viljanen – guitars
Tommy Portimo – drums
Henrik Klingenberg – keyboards
Pasi Kauppinen – bass
Interview with Vola — “At this point, we just felt like writing something heavy again, more streamlined.”