Sonata Arctica
Reckoning Night


4.0
excellent

Review

by Shattered_Future USER (50 Reviews)
November 18th, 2005 | 80 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


The words “Sonata Arctica” and “power metal” go hand in hand with each other. Sonata Arctica are one of today’s leading bands in the power metal scene. With their catchy riff-writing and beautiful melodies, they have repaved the road set by their predecessors, and remind us why power metal is so good.

They’re Finnish as well. That usually helps.

Sonata Arctica - Reckoning Night

Released: February 8th, 2005 on Nuclear Blast Records

Members:
Tony Kakko - Vocals
Jani Liimatainen - Guitars
Tommy Portimo - Drums
Marko Paasikoski - Bass
Henrik Klingenberg - Keyboard

Aside from having hard-to-pronounce names, the members of Sonata Arctica are remarkable musicians. Tony Kakko is one of power metal’s biggest vocalists today. His voice has that distinct ring to it, and his is unsurpassed. Although he tends to stay in the higher vocal range, he can belt out some low parts as well. He has great control, sustain, power...everything a good vocalist needs. Like him or hate him, you can’t help but respect his prowess.

Jani is a severely underrated guitarist. He can shred like crazy, bust out with some unforgettable riffs, and will never cease to amaze you. Just listen to the guy, is all I have to say.

For every man, there is his equal...unless you’re afraid of others. In any case, Henrik is surely Jani on keyboards. His harmonies with Jani are spot on, he can keyshred while harmonizing with both hands, play beautiful, uplifting piano parts...everything. Janne Warmen" Never heard of him. Henrik is what’s hot.

Per usual, the bass is mixed a bit low...there’s a few interludes where you can hear it though. Marko does a decent job with it. Unfortunately, you can’t really hear it.

The drums are probably the weakest link of Sonata Arctica. Tommy can keep a beat...but not much else. He’s your average power metal drummer; double pedals, snare, hihat, a couple of fills, and that’s about it. He suffers from a rare disease that only allows him to play 3 styles of drumbeats...the straight double pedal beat, the alternating bass/snare beat, and the 1-2 styled double bass beat, if you understand that (I sorta don’t either...). However, he does his job.

Finally, after all this mindless drivel (who actually READS that crap anyway") we’re on to the actual review. I’ve hope you’ve enjoyed the short biography section. Please fasten your seatbelts, as we descend into the interior of this disc. Barfbags are located to your left and right. Have a safe trip.

Reckoning Night will shock some who are used to old Sonata. They put out 3 brilliant albums, all more or less in the same vein...fast, melodic, catchy power metal. Sure, there was the occasional ballad, but who really cares about those" The band’s biggest hits were the fast, upbeat ones.

With Reckoning Night, the band took a complete 180 degree turn, without loss of braincells. They crafted a completely different, completely original new album. I’ve never heard anything like this...they blend almost traditional metal with power metal elements, add some heaviness, a dash of cheese here and there, and bake for a few years. The best part" It’s actually GOOD.

As was stated before, the album is much different (this repetition is for the illiterate out there). The crazy harmonized guitar/keyboard parts are all but gone from this release. The band shows a more mature style of songwriting...they mix it up a bit. The album emphasizes heaviness; Jani uses the fact that he has a 7 string guitar to his advantage. The album also possesses a darker, more sinister edge not found in their earlier albums. It’s as if the band was cut off from their alcohol for more than 24 hours, and got rather pissed about it.

Tony’s lyrics also show a much more mature edge; the lyrics on Reckoning Night are his best yet. Gone are the days of “Walking in the cold night air/Without underwear”. His lyrics have taken on a more sinister edge, and he shows it. Even so, he can write some absolutely tear-jerking lyrics as well.

The band has also taken up using a choir on certain songs, which is good and bad. The good, it creates a more epic quality to their music, not unlike the crazy drunken German choir stylings of A Night At The Opera-era Blind Guardian, just without the ball vices. The bad" It creates for some of the cheesiest, most hilarious moments in Sonata’s history. Some may find this a good thing...but even I find it going over the top.

So, in short, if you’re a close-minded moron, you won’t like this. Anybody with half an inkling to try new music, check this out, as well as Sonata fans. Although this is MUCH different than their previous albums, it’s also quite better. It’s surely on par with Ecliptica, if not surpassing it. The cheese is kept to somewhat of a minimum on this album, which will please some. There is not as much as some of their other albums.

For those of you who are too chicken to buy the album before hearing it, the recommended tracks:

Blinded No More: A slower itineration. Very melodic, uplifting, and easy to listen to. Kakko’s vocals are top notch on this track, and the keys are quite enjoyable to listen to.

Don’t Say A Word: The single from the album, and possibly the best song here. Once again, Kakko’s vocals take center stage...he is at his peak here. His vocals are absolutely epic. Backed up by some great solo work and a general feeling of greatness.

The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet: This is another slower song...more midpaced, actually. Some decent keyboard work, guitars are good as usual, and Tony is his everperfect self. The lyrics are actually what make this song good...although cheesy (it’s about a man doing anything to get his hands on a puppet), the lyrics weave a tail of deception and lust. It’s a story, rendered inside 5 minutes.

Wildfire: Possibly the most evil song on the album. It starts with your classic cheesy PM moment...a voice asking what they should do to a town. Then, your sinister whisper: “Burn it...burn it all”. Creepy (read: cheesy), eh" Don’t worry, it gets better...goes straight into a heavy riff. Even though it’s an evil song, it’s predominantly written in major keys"! There is some choir work on here as well, the cheesiest moment on the album. However, this song is good...just listen to it.

Shamandalie: Here’s your obligatory ballad. It also happens to be one of the best ballads Sonata has ever written. The lyrics are unbelievably sad (I actually looked at them)...it’s about Tony losing one of his best friends, undoubtedly a girl. Standard MTV emo fair, yes, but he makes it work without being irritating as hell.

Overall: 8.5/10. I’m giving it this simply because there will be SOMEONE who thinks this album is bad because it is different. It won’t appeal to everyone...however, those who can accept change will like it. Enjoy, and remember to support your local drunken crazy Finnish metal bands.



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user ratings (401)
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4
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Xenorazr CONTRIBUTOR (4)
Self-defining and genre-defying, Reckoning Night sees Sonata Arctica progress in a logical direction...

Altmer (4.5)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Storm In A Teacup
November 18th 2005


22362 Comments


Wow Shattered Future, this is sure a step back for you. Not much info on many of the songs. I'm dissapointed in you.




Actually looking back a second time it's not that bad. Average I would say.This Message Edited On 11.18.05

Shattered_Future
November 18th 2005


1557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ouch...cruel. :lol:



Man, I was just stating...you knew that as well.



There's no way you could've read the review either...got you there.

Storm In A Teacup
November 18th 2005


22362 Comments


I did to. :mad: I'm a fucking fast reader.

Plus lookit me edit.

Leper Affinity
November 18th 2005


89 Comments


Way to kill a man's spirits. Read it before you post.

This was a really good review. I much prefer this style to a track-by-track. You discussed many aspects of the album as well as mentioning specific songs.

I'm no SA buff, but I'm getting into them. I like Ecliptica and I plan on looking into Winterheart's Guild next.This Message Edited On 11.18.05

Storm In A Teacup
November 18th 2005


22362 Comments


I did to read it! :mad:

Leper Affinity
November 18th 2005


89 Comments


Considering that you seemed to post the same instant the review was submitted, I doubt that.

ocelot-05
November 18th 2005


807 Comments


I did to read it!


Sorry to correct you there Kripes, but this is fatal mistake. You say, "I did too read it," not what you said. I'm trying to save you, can't you see!? Do not let the spelling and grammar monster destroy you!This Message Edited On 11.18.05

Storm In A Teacup
November 18th 2005


22362 Comments


I honestly read it. Have me banned if you don't believe me.

Shattered_Future
November 18th 2005


1557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oy, people, stop bitching and talk about the damn album.



I don't give a crap what Kripes thinks about my review...or any of you, for that matter. Just read it, enjoy it (or not), and have a good discussion on it.

Leper Affinity
November 18th 2005


89 Comments


Way to kill the mood, moodkiller. :mad: :p

Sometimes the singing and the keyboard action these guys use is just to upbeat for me. I need to counteract it with raw black metal.

Storm In A Teacup
November 18th 2005


22362 Comments


Alright, this album is alright, but I like Silence better.

Shattered_Future
November 18th 2005


1557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ben, this album should be less upbeat than the others...it's WAY darker.

Leper Affinity
November 18th 2005


89 Comments


I think I'd like this if it's way darker.

Jom, why must you crush my spirits like that?

King_Of_Terrors
November 18th 2005


52 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. I like it, as I do the album.

Kronos
November 19th 2005


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Just testing to see if this actually works this time

Great review Mike - I always knew you'd come round to its brilliance! Sonata's best yet, IMO - More variation in styles and subject matter, with a darker edge. Classic.

This Message Edited On 11.20.05This Message Edited On 11.20.05

Shattered_Future
November 19th 2005


1557 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hah...nice one Dene.



Listening to this album over and over again makes me more impaitent for their show on January 18th. :mad:

Kronos
November 20th 2005


4 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Lucky boy. Wish I was gonna be there.....

Emperor
January 31st 2006


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty good review, I really like this album has a good feel to it.

XhalX
March 9th 2006


6 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

this albums kick major ***

10th man down
April 2nd 2006


39 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is the first Sonata album I got, before that I had only heard "Victoria's Secret" and "Wolf & Raven". I'm truly greatful to this album.



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