There’s no denying the fact that Finnish progressive power metal band Sonata Arctica is one of the genre’s most talented and refined acts. The band has successfully built on a Helloween-style power metal foundation and combined that with a progressive technicality that is on par with bands like Vanden Plas and Threshold. Unfortunately, like their fellow countrymen Stratovarius, the band can be a bit repetitive at times. I own their first four studio albums, and if I loaded my CD changer with all of them, I’d be hard pressed to tell which album I was listening to at any given time. I had come to the conclusion that while I certainly appreciated Sonata Arctica’s sound, it just wasn’t necessary for me to own all of their albums. That’s where the appropriately-titled 2006 release The Collection comes in handy. Well, End of This Chapter: Best of Sonata Arctica would have done just as nicely, but for those of us not inclined to drop big bucks on a Japanese import, this is the next best thing.
This 2-disc collection draws the best songs from Sonata Arctica’s catalog, up until Reckoning Night. They really managed to grab the most memorable songs from the band’s catalog while adding a pair of remakes – My Land and Replica. There are 17 tracks total on the first disc.
The second disc is a DVD featuring a pair of videos and some live performances. It’s a nice enough extra I suppose, but a second disc full of songs would have gone over much better. Maybe I’m spoiled by recent compilations from Edenbridge or Edguy that have a “best of” disc paired with a second CD full of b-sides, covers and other rare tracks. Given the sheer volume of Japanese Sonata Arctica singles on the market, a b-side compilation would have been much appreciated.
That minor compliant aside, I’m still quite pleased with The Collection. It’s an ideal place to start for anyone new to the band, and a nice overview of the band’s best material for those like me who find their studio albums a bit repetitive.