Sonata Arctica has recently become one of my favourite bands. I had heard ‘The Cage’ and ‘Blank File’ in the past, and I liked them a lot. I was in Japan a couple of months ago and decided to buy a few albums, so I bought Ecliptica, Winterheart’s Guild and this one, Reckoning Night. All are fantastic, but RN may just be my favourite.
Reckoning Night is slightly different to the other SA albums. It sees them using a little wider range of influences, throwing in a bit of heavy metal and hard rock to go with their already amazing power metal. This breathes life into their sound, not that it needed it though! Blinded No More is a good example of this new feel, and is a damn good song. Tony Kakko also uses his amazing voice to more effect on RN, just listen to the song Wildfire, with so many different vocal styles in it, the song just rules.
There is not one moment on this album I don’t love, from the awesome opener Misplaced, to the single Don’t Say a Word, to my personal favourites, Ain’t Your Fairytale and White Pearl, Black Oceans… These songs take the cake for me due to the beautiful vocal melodies and harmonies. While these are present in pretty much every SA song, they are just truly amazing in these 2 songs.
Having said all this, Reckoning Night did actually take a while to grow on me. I don’t know why, as it has all the ingredients that make Winterheart’s and Ecliptica great plus more, but it seemed a lot different on first listen. This may put you off, but definitely listen to it more than once before you throw the album off as bad, it will grow on you!
PS, if you can, get the Japanese version with the bonus track Wrecking the Sphere on it, it is such a great song and just shows how much better the bonus tracks on Japanese releases are. The song is 7 minutes of sheer brilliance. Don’t get the 2 minute acoustic jam hidden track mixed up as Wrecking the Sphere, its not! The hidden track is simply called ‘Jam’.