Sonata Arctica is one of those Finnish bands that have been causing quite the stir in the metal scene. When one thinks of the best performers of Power Metal, they are among the first to come up in the same sentence as Nightwish and EdGuy. Now distributed in the USA by Nuclear Blast, they have returned with the CD “Reckoning Night”. For this release I admit that I expected a little more. I had found their previous release “Winterheart’s Guild” to be a work of metal genius. It is very good, but does not seem to possess the intensity that I found on the other release. The 10 tracks I found go between very heavy and fast to your almost sing along-able type of track. Sonata often has the variety in their CD’s. The lineup is Tony Kakko (vocals), Jani Liimatainen (guitars), Tommy Portimo (drums), Marko Paasikoski (bass), and Henrik Klingenberg (keyboards). Fans of the technical side will enjoy how the members of Sonata play off of one another during the songs.
The production does not seem to be as in your face as I would have liked it to be or that has been on previous releases. The band however is in top notch form on their playing and vocal harmonies. The best tracks to experience this is during “Misplaced” and “Wildfire”. There are a couple of potential singles also on the CD, such as “Don’t Say A Word” and “My Selene”. My favorite tracks thusfar would have to be “White Pearl, Black Oceans” and “Misplaced”. There is a nice ballad called “Shamandalie”, this will appeal to those who loved “A Letter To Dana” most specifically since it’s the closest they come to this feel.
Clearly, Sonata Arctica is one of those groups that fans of the genre should be supporting. They make sure to give you a deftly crafted record on a regular basis and they have not yet become repetitive in it. You can also find them on various tributes. It’s amazing how the European scene allows for these guys to do albums, tours and tributes on a regular basis, yet here in the States we wait 4 years between some releases by our favorite bands. Often suffering at the hands of a producer who has a better “vision” for the piece. If music keeps coming like this from the other side of the pond, I think I might move there.