Sonata Arctica
The Days of Grays


2.5
average

Review

by Kenneth E. Rathburn CONTRIBUTOR (108 Reviews)
August 30th, 2014 | 11 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Gray (adjective). Dull and nondescript; without interest or character.

I wanted to like The Days of Grays more than Unia before hearing a single track. My logic going in was that Unia was a slump, and that its successor's album art alone signified a step back on-course. And based on the first eleven minutes, I thought my preconception would be fully realized. After all, this was the band's first LP since Silence to open with a chilling keyboard intro, which also closes the album in an extended version. Indeed, both variants of "Everything Fades to Gray" are equally effective at expressing a foreboding vibe. But then something happened. It wasn't immediate, but gradual, becoming more and more evident as the album continued on. My friends, I'm referring to an overall loss of interest.

One complete hearing is all it takes to understand what's missing. Where Unia failed to push the keyboards, The Days of Grays fails to push itself. "Deathaura," one of the only notable tracks, is dramatic and, like its predecessor, scattered. Although it's not the most accurate representation of the album stylistically, "Deathaura" does symbolize the kind of impression The Days of Grays will leave on you--which is none at all. For the first time in their career, Sonata Arctica released an album with next to no memorable moments. Even the triumphant "Flag in the Ground" does little more than sound like an empty Iron Maiden imitation.

What's more is that each track struggles to maintain interest for more than a minute or two at a time. By the time I gave the album a fourth listening, I found myself skipping to the next track more times than not, thereby forgoing the better part of the runtime. "Zeroes" is particularly daunting in its opening seconds, with Kakko's vocals and the overall distortion spawning a mental/facial curdling. Whether this or failing to incite the listener's interest is worse, especially from the likes of Sonata Arctica, is totally subjective. Either way, The Days of Grays has plenty of both to go around.

If The Days of Grays does one thing well, it's smoothing the sound on Unia out. However, this proves to be simultaneously beneficial and detrimental. The music isn't so sharp in its juxtaposed tendencies, which gives the entire album a more consistent and unified sound than the band's 2007 project. Yet this begs a question similar to the one I posed above; do you lean towards the impulsive (Unia) or the lethargic (The Days of Grays)? For me, the choice is obvious.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2014


991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I swear each album becomes more and more difficult for me to review. Stones Grow Her Name has me worried...

zaruyache
August 30th 2014


17733 Comments


Their newest one bored me to tears, so have fun with that one! :D

Sabrutin
August 30th 2014


4469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

A lot more interesting/entertaining than Unia for me.



I could write something, but instead click here: http://youtu.be/3dyKyGMN8I4?t=2m28s

Digging: Necromandus - Necromandus

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2014


991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I envy you. I really wanted to get into this album, but each listen made me feel less and less content with it. I even listened to Unia after the fact and found it had grown on me.



And nice solo, but I don't think that song would've left that much of an impression amidst the others if slipped into the regular album.

Sabrutin
August 30th 2014


4469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I understand, this album grew on me pretty slowly and started pretty coldly. What I like about it is the overall atmosphere, I feel it has a more epic mood than Unia (just listen to the instrumental part that starts at about 2:30 in "The Truth Is Out There"). When I think about this album I think of something big (the cover art is perfect with its colors). I also feel that this has what Unia lacks: passion in Tony's vocals and varied instrumentation. My favorite tracks are "Zeroes", "The Truth Is Out There" and "Nothing More" (sadly a japanese bonus).



Ah, some time has passed since my last complete spin, I think I could even bump this to a 4. I'm going to spin this again later.



This is what I was referring at before: http://youtu.be/kvXdYpQ07YE?t=2m25s

Sabrutin
August 30th 2014


4469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this > Unia/Pariah's Child > Stones

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2014


991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I like everything about the album conceptually, but the realization left me wanting so much more. Perhaps my expectations were too high, which wasn't aided by the album art (my favorite SA art). Speaking of which, someone mixed SA with Pokemon, Sonata Articuno. I think it's pretty cool: http://bloodstar.net/sonataarticunowallpaper-1080p.png



And "The Truth Is Out There" is one of the few moments I mostly enjoy. "Juliet" left a good first impression, but soon wore off. The thing about this album is that while it's stylistically consistent with SA's music, it doesn't stick with me. It's not catchy, which might be a good thing, depending on your tastes. All the others had songs I could hum or get stuck in my head out of nowhere. The Days of Grays hasn't had that effect on me.

Sabrutin
August 30th 2014


4469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love catchy music, that's why I took my time to enjoy this. Did I ever mentioned how much I hate

this SA logo, by the way? Good thing they are using the old one again.



On a side note, I have a hard time at picturing that creature as an Articuno haha (it's kinda cool

though).



@Verm: I assume you like Pariah? That's nice to hear, I like it too.

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 30th 2014


991 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

I don't mind the logo shift, but it did make me think about how, after bands establish themselves, a different logo usually indicates something's up.



And I had the same reaction to the art ("that's Articuno?"), but yeah, I still think it's amusing if nothing else.

LepreCon
August 30th 2014


5419 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Lost my interest in these guys a while back, still had some good shit on this though if I remember correctly

Sabrutin
August 30th 2014


4469 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Their last album combines mediocre songs with a few amazing ones (Blood, Larger Than Life, What Did You Do In The War Dad?), it's almost a joke how inconsistent it is.



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