Twelve years into their career, Finnish quintet Sonata Arctica are just releasing their seventh studio album and all ears are ready to sample what the band have to offer this time. Over a decade later, the band are completely different to the super charged energy ball they were back in the late nineties and this is reflected in their music.
Gone is the band with lightning fast power riffs and soaring metal classics, and instead they’ve been replaced with a mid-tempo band with plodding choruses. This album seems to hold a much slower pace than previous albums, there are more tracks with a feel of a post mid-life crisis. They’re not quite all there.
The band may have lost their raw power, but with age and experience comes some solid sounds with melodies that still show off the vital core of the band. The band’s spirit still shines through, especially through tracks such as ‘Alone In Heaven’ and ‘Losing My Insanity’, while ‘Somewhere Close To You’ appears to be the heaviest point the band can reach.
Lead single ‘I Have A Right’ is more pop than rock, and on listening to it you wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that the band had taken a step away from the power metal everyone fell in the love with. However, perhaps the change will bring in a new audience of lovers for this band. The music is still eclectic and ‘Cinderblox’ is a song which brings the fun factor to the album, sounding like a country infused metal track
‘Stones Grow Her Name’ is certainly not an instant classic, but with some dedicated listening it can be enjoyed and it has enough sustenance for the surviving fans of this band to cherry pick and cherish the golden moments that this album has to offer.
Written by Rhian Westbury