Sonata Arctica
Stones Grow Her Name


3.5
great

Review

by eyesofapocalypse USER (14 Reviews)
October 22nd, 2012 | 14 replies | 5,117 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sonata Arctica dumbed their sound down way too much.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Power metal is not exactly the most appreciated subgenre in metal. Actually, it seems quite the opposite. Few, if any, bands ever receive the kind of near-universal acceptance that bands such as Opeth, Primordial, Moonsorrow, and Sigh receive (even if some do not deserve it). Power metal, more often than not, is received as a "guilty pleasure," it seems. Then comes Sonata Arctica and... well, gives complete justification to that response. Truly, they've always had a poppy, fluffy feel to them from which even a lot of standard power metal fans turn away. Yet, even so, their sound just has a certain magic that makes many like me fall in love with it. This is mostly led by Tony Kakko's excellent vocals; indeed, he's among the best vocalists in power metal (which is saying a lot, since power metal's trademark is excellent vocals).

However, when Unia came, it seems everybody and their cats decided to turn in complete revolt. I'm still trying to figure out why, considering it incorporated a lot of progressive tendencies, and that's something almost everyone approves of. It is for that reason I am pointing this out: if you didn't like Unia, you will not like Stones Grow Her Name. Almost everything about it reminds of Unia. There is but one key difference... this album eschews much of the progressive tendencies established in Unia and perfectly evolved in The Days of Grays (which is their magnum opus, in my opinion), and instead opts for a sound even more poppy yet. One look at the tracklist, seeing titles such as "***load of Money" and "Don't Be Mean," and you'll see that they are influenced by a more mainstream culture. I'd like to say this right now: I really have no clue what drug Tony was on when he decided this was a good idea, but I want him in ***ing rehab before it's time to start writing the eighth album.

That said, the sound is so similar to Unia that this seems far more like a natural progression from it than The Days of Grays does. I'll even go out on a limb here and say that none of the songs are bad. This album actually is more cohesive with a much better flow than Unia had, though there are no real standout tracks like the first four of Unia were for me.

Of course, the Sonata Arctica traits are still here, with ballads (namely "Don't Be Mean"), fluffy anthems ("Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)" and "I Have a Right"), and groovier, heavier tracks ("Losing My Insanity" being the best). They even threw me for a loop with Cinderblox, where there's a constant rhythm played on a banjo (yes, a banjo), and Tony occasionally puts a country accent to use. It's almost like he was sitting around thinking of a transitional song that will attract country music fans, then came up with this. Yet, despite every part of me wanting to hate it, everything about it works... and it may even be a highlight of the album. The progressive tendencies of the past two albums have not been completely abandoned, as well, with the biggest example also being the biggest highlight of the album: the two Wildfire tracks. Complete with non-linear songwriting and unexpected rhythm changes, these two easily could've been (and probably should've been) on Unia.

I don't know if I've made it clear yet, but this album is in the same damn style as Unia. I have seen this album described as Unia + Reckoning Night; I can kind of see that, in that the majority songs sound like Unia, but feature dumbed down progressive qualities that are only semi-used like Reckoning Night. This results in lesser quality material for Sonata Arctica. While I still consider this a good album with some great moments (I do really like the Wildfire tracks), it is one that needs a lot of growing space to even be acceptable. My initial reaction to this was, "What the actual *** am I listening to?"

Yeah, I really wish they would've evolved off the symphonic and, most importantly, sophisticated sound of The Days of Grays instead.



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user ratings (114)
Chart.
2.8
good
other reviews of this album
King Henry VIII (2)
The banjo was the most innovating thing they've ever done....


Comments:Add a Comment 
MichaelSnoxall
October 22nd 2012



12163 Comments


One...one review per day.

FrozenVain
October 22nd 2012



2395 Comments


eyesoFAPocalypse
HA!

PsychicChris
October 22nd 2012



210 Comments


I kinda like Days Of Grays but never got into Unia. It's all about Silence and Ecliptica for me.

Itwasthatwas
October 22nd 2012



767 Comments


Yeah so this is like a 0/5

TheSpirit
October 22nd 2012



17650 Comments


thanks for fucking up the site becasuse the mods had to delete all your reviews

Digging: Venus Star - Nigredo Expulsion

SgtPepper
Staff Reviewer
October 22nd 2012



4400 Comments


Pos'd for Sonata Artica. Love this band.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Bfhurricane
October 22nd 2012



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This album is three or four awesome tracks surrounded by inoffensive and vaguely enjoyable fillers. I still listen to it in full pretty frequently though. It sounds like the missing link between Reckoning Night and Unia, but not done as well as either.

Dreamflight
October 22nd 2012



1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Great review, however:

"Almost everything about it reminds of Unia."

Seriously? imo SGHN is like Sonata Arctica goes Gamma Ray. Apart from Somewhere close to you and some moments of the Wildfires this lacks the passion that made Unia and TDOG so amazing.


eyesofapocalypse
October 23rd 2012



25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Almost all of the tracks on this record reminded me of Unia, just more poppy and less progressive. The Wildfire tracks, especially, would've fit right in.

I definitely agree it lacks the passion that made TDoG amazing, but Unia is only slightly better IMO.

Bfhurricane
October 23rd 2012



6197 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

passion that made Unia and TDOG so amazing.

I definitely agree it lacks the passion that made TDoG amazing


Am I the only one who was severely let down by The Days of Grays? It's barely a good album and has a couple of their absolute worst songs.

Dreamflight
October 24th 2012



1760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

No you're not, actually TDoG to my displeasure was badly recieved by most SA fans.

I can see no bad songs here, especially compared with some tunes from Stones.

eyesofapocalypse
October 25th 2012



25 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

As Dreamflight said, TDoG does certainly seem to have been badly received by most SA fans.

All SA albums after Reckoning Night have been badly received by most SA fans, though.

DatsNotDaMetulz
November 4th 2012



1745 Comments


Thinking of checking because SHITLOADAMUNNEH

TheAJMetal
August 22nd 2014



67 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm honestly surprised that you see this as any worse than The Days of Grays (and, shockingly enough, equate it with "brilliance" and rate it a 5). This sounds in the same vein as TDOG, imo, just more simple structurally. I thought TDOG was pretty bad and felt about the same toward this one.



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