MetalBite Review by Adam on 8/28/2003
You know what I like about power metal? Sonata FREAKING Arctica
! These guys were just babies when they blew us away with their debut album "Ecliptica."
They followed it up with 2001's epic album, "Silence,"
which put them amongst the monsters of the power metal genre. They raised the bar on the quality of power metal music and put many of their older, more experienced counterparts to shame. With the bar raised so high, could they outdo themselves again? Unfortunately, the short answer is no.
Let us go over the perks of the album first. The production is killer of course and the musicianship remains tight and commendable. Tony Kakko's vocals are one of the highlights of the album as his range is simply amazing. The best thing is that on "Winterheart's Guild"
they've actually got some balls! The keyboards are as loud and flaunty as ever and there is some great soloing to be had all over this baby! Standout tracks include 'The Cage,'
the awkwardly titled 'Victoria's Secret,'
was a super power metal album. It had it all! We all expected this one to be explosive and fly into uncharted territory, but sadly it does not come anywhere close. "Winterheart's Guild"
is catchy and jam-packed with sing-along vocal melodies, but it's the same old thing. There are some minor grudges, some songs end rather abruptly and the first song is too long and complex to be the opener. Usually Sonata
kick right in with a tight, fast, and memorable opener, but this song lacks any real unforgettable hook and the solo is fairly nonexistent.
The main grudge I have is that they really just played it too safe. "Silence"
really showed us everything the band had to offer. Following up a record like that is undoubtedly hard work and Sonata
just barely missed the mark. This is not a bad album by any means. It is actually really good! However, Sonata Arctica
raised their own standards with their first two releases and "Winterheart's Guild"
falls short of meeting them. Overall, though, the band remains one of the front runners in the power metal subgenre, and this still manages to be quite an enjoyable release.
Fans of the band will probably like either of the first two more but this is still worth a buy.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
out of 10