Sonata Arctica
Ecliptica


3.5
great

Review

by Kenneth E. Rathburn CONTRIBUTOR (106 Reviews)
August 21st, 2014 | 49 replies


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sonata Arctica's debut fits their genre archetype with ease and, occasionally, finesse.

Finland, it would seem, has a metal fetish. The Nordic country has hosted group births aplenty, including Children of Bodom, Nightwish, Ensiferum, Wintersun, Amorphis, Korpiklaani, Stratovarius, Kalmah, Moonsorrow and Luther knows how many others. One can only wonder where to start, what with so many options. Sonata Arctica aren't necessarily the first group to spring to mind, but they do have some stake in claim. Rather than be genre-innovators, these power metallers take a relatively traditional approach with their music. The origin of their post-Tricky Beans/Tricky Means career came with Ecliptica, which is slated for a re-release this October. In the meantime, we have the original recording to munch on.

Barely a few minutes in, Ecliptica showcases itself as a jack-of-all-trades; swift tempos run in tracks like "Blank File," while ballads "Replica" and "Letter to Dana" play out conversely. Easiest to take to, however, are the middle-road tracks, the ones most characteristic of Sonata Arctica's core style. Keyboards and symphonics are clearly the band's forte and, combined with Tony Kakko's nationally-telling vocals, allow them to impart a simple yet effective resonance with the listener. "My Land" is a proud example, punctuated during its enjoyable chorus with every member on discernible display. This musical personality makes Ecliptica accessible for newcomers and just enjoyable enough for genre enthusiasts. These are also the only two parties that may become enthralled by the presented material.

As I said, Sonata Arctica run the gamut without taking creative leaps. Such is commonplace among heavy metal debuts, yet it's less so is when said albums effectively introduce their corresponding bands. Ecliptica always has an upbeat feel, even during slower moments such as "Replica." So even when the band seem to be settling down, they're still kicking the ball at a slightly accelerated pace. This lends Ecliptica a sense of immediacy which, as a result, almost makes it the anthesis of the term "drab affair." I use that word ("almost") since we aren't spared those cornily over-the-top moments symphonic/power metal is known for--these are mostly intros. Also worth noting is the fact the variety of tracks can make the album feel like it's losing momentum in some parts, with "Letter to Dana" being a particularly lackluster stretch. Thankfully, these low tides are few and short-lived.

Ecliptica is ultimately a routine affair, one that assumes the role of an acceptable and mostly competent debut album. The fact this is Finnish symphonic/power metal is enough to make it either worth the time, or barely more than a shrug, depending on your preferences. Whether this was a sign of potential and strength, or slumping and misdirection, only time would tell.



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user ratings (461)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2014


953 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I've found myself listening to "My Land" repeatedly since deciding to start doing a discography review for these guys, which was decided on since they'll be playing near me in October. If I decide to see them, I want to be acquainted.

KILL
August 20th 2014


80846 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this sucks balls

Sabrutin
August 20th 2014


4412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"8th Commandment", "Kingdom for a Heart" and "FullMoon" are jams, but this is quite flawed though. The vocals in the opener are lolbad for example.



Nostalgic album anyway.

Digging: Paradise Lost - Medusa

KILL
August 20th 2014


80846 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

dude even poet doesnt dig this

Sabrutin
August 20th 2014


4412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I dug it pretty hard, but today I only listen to those three songs. I may lower my rating to a 3 though, I can't listen anymore to its ballads.



Their following albums are mostly still good for my tastes though.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 20th 2014


953 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I enjoy "Full Moon" as well, but I'm not so partial to the other two.

ChoccyPhilly
August 21st 2014


11595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

aww sweet, discog review for Sonata Arctica? Can't wait bro. Find this a bit cheesy with a handful of good songs but really pales in comparison to Silence and Reckoning Night.



You gonna do another song list after the full discog?

Digging: Lapalux - Ruinism

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


953 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

That's the plan. Probably going to do mostly discog reviews from here on. Seems I picked this band at an opportune time, since they're re-releasing this album in a couple months.

ChoccyPhilly
August 21st 2014


11595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tempted to lower this but the good songs are very good and frankly, i'm not too concerned with giving this a 3.5 when it feels more like a 3.2.



Your song list will probably be very different to mine, Xen but that's the beauty of a plethora of good songs i guess

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2014


953 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

And a variety of opinions. I'm sure most of the band's popular, celebrated songs will crack my list, just not necessarily in the same order as others. But that's fine, sometimes an unpopular opinion is necessary, even welcome.

ChoccyPhilly
August 21st 2014


11595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well you'd be mad to compose your top 10 out of their last 3 albums for starters but you're right

Sabrutin
August 22nd 2014


4412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"seems I picked this band at an opportune time, since they're re-releasing this album in a couple months."



At first I thought "What? They did it in 2008!", but then I read it's a re-recording... wow. http://www.sputnikmusic.com/news/32229/Sonata-Arctica-re-recording-Ecliptica/

Poet
September 2nd 2014


6003 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"dude even poet doesnt dig this"



lol just saw this. I do dig this actually

Sabrutin
September 2nd 2014


4412 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

IF I ONLY HAD A HEART!

Artuma
September 2nd 2014


28970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

used to like this band when i was like 12

Digging: Gang of Youths - Go Farther in Lightness

ChoccyPhilly
September 2nd 2014


11595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nostalgia is a powerful thing, eh?

Artuma
September 2nd 2014


28970 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

well yeah but i just don't like this kind of music anymore at all. so cheesy and tony's vox are really eh

ChoccyPhilly
September 2nd 2014


11595 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Maybe on this, but I don't hear it as much on Reckoning Night/Silence/Unia

KILL
September 2nd 2014


80846 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is gay as fuck



jam some gamma ray bros

LepreCon
September 2nd 2014


5419 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Poofter metal



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