Sonata Arctica
Silence


4.5
superb

Review

by Xenorazr CONTRIBUTOR (111 Reviews)
August 22nd, 2014 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2001 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Sonata Arctica kickstart their music and take full command.

There's something to be said about those albums that catch you off-guard, the ones that suddenly seize your attention and enamor your ears. I certainly didn't expect to be enthralled by Silence, not after its unbecoming predecessor. Though far from offensive, Ecliptica accomplished little more than what could be expected from a debut album, especially given the territory. Yet Sonata Arctica managed to make me feel like a total fool in my lack of suspicion; Silence proves itself a steadfast solidification of the Finnish band's take on symphonic-infused power metal.

Nik Van-Eckmann, who'd return for Reckoning Night, introduces the album with a few spoken words. In a matter of seconds, this eerie opening suggests what kind of force Silence will become. Imperative to this realization is the upheaved production; Ecliptica's grating, high-pitch notes have been refined to allow a far glossier and entrancing sound to arise. The entire band take full advantage of their resources and explore the power metal terrain with a sense of familiarity and growing wisdom. No one in the band is out to steal the spotlight, since Silence is a truly collective effort; Mikko Harkin and Tony Kakko make a deadly combo on keyboards, reinforced by ever-enthusiastic guitar and drum work from Jani Liimatainen and Tommy Portimo, respectively. Equally rewarding is when the band decide to collaborate vocally, showcased on damn-near every chorus. Not only does Kakko actually sing throughout all of the songs, but the rest of the group frequently back him up. It's this unity of vocal and instrumental work that makes Silence a quintessential example of symphonic/power metal.

Consistency is another area Silence rises not just above its predecessor, but its brethren as well. Some songs are obviously better than others, yet the only reason one might call certain tracks drab is because the highlights shine so brightly. After feeling like an imitation of Ecliptica for a couple full tracks, "The End of This Chapter" begins with another Nik Van-Eckmann passage before an arresting series of keyboard notes ensnare the listener. The ensuing song is a powerful, affecting experience, be it individually or amidst surrounding tracks. And we're treated to this in the first third of the runtime. Yes, Silence is a meatier affair than its predecessor--by about ten minutes. If you're wondering where the extra time went, look to the final track, "The Power of One," which eats up over eleven minutes. It's one of the album's more conventional moments, vividly evoking the similarities between Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius. Some will hold the album at fault for this, others will merely shrug it aside.

Two years is all it took for Sonata Arctica to show just how far a band could go with two albums. No one ever proclaimed Ecliptica as a classic, but after being graced by Silence's elegance, it's easier to pick up on the signs. Where one felt like a jumbling of tracks, the other manifests itself as a power metal powerhouse. Innovation barely exists as a spice to the meat that is Silence, but the end result is simply too scrumptious to discredit.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2014


1123 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Yeah, this album REALLY caught me by surprise. I'll admit my rating is generous, but it's so fun, especially during its highlights.

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review and nice rating too. I love how much more melancholic this album is, especially with the two main ballads. That being said, the only negative on this is actually The Power of One, which was a bit too cheesy for its own good

Digging: Bicep - Bicep

Sabrutin
August 22nd 2014


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's hard to listen to Ecliptica today, but this record still kicks major ass. Wolf & Raven brings the m/



Moreover, the 2008 remaster has "PeaceMaker" in it, and I'm so damn glad for it.



Pos'd.

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Huh, didn't know you dig this, Verm. It's a shame everything after Unia become horribly cheesy

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is the only Power Metal band I love because everything else I've heard or been rec'd is pretty silly, as you say. Yes!

White Pearls is probably one of my favourites and regardless of how popular Don't Say a Word is, I fucking love the dark

tone of it

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Cheers. Believe it or not, the only Kamelot album I like is The Black Halo, which is their least power metal album. The appeal for this is nostalgia, mostly as I don't think I'd love it as much as I would if i started listening to them today

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tried them ages ago but didn't like them too much. I dunno, maybe power metal isn't my thing anymore

Xenorazr
Contributing Reviewer
August 22nd 2014


1123 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I initially saw power metal with the same mocking view many give it, but after a while my reservations just seemed to drop. Granted, I know and acknowledge when the material is particularly cheesy, but as long as those really over-the-top moments are kept to a minimum I'm not too bothered.

Sabrutin
August 22nd 2014


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Verm, will you follow this discography review? I think we have different opinions on some albums (you may guess which).



Kamelot rule, btw.

TheAJMetal
August 22nd 2014


100 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good review, although I disagree somewhat. I think this is definitely better than Ecliptica, but I don't think it's an amazing album or anything. It just sounds much less sloppy. I feel as though Winterheart's Guild and Reckoning Night were the best. I just wish this one was shorter. It's hard to listen to all at once, at least for me.

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Reckoning Night is definitely better but this has The End of This Chapter

DungeonBoy
August 22nd 2014


3703 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Grew up loving Sonata Arctica, but this and Winterheart's Guild are the only two I still jam on occasion. The keyboard and guitar solos on this album rip so hard and the song writing is pretty phenomenal.

Digging: Fabrizio Paterlini - The Art of the Piano

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Likewise but I find that Unia has grown on me the most with it's more experimental approach to songwriting

Sabrutin
August 22nd 2014


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Meh, Unia never clicked for me. I like The Days Of Grays though.

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really? Not even Caleb of In Black and White? It's their most bold has some of their best songs but it's just inconsistent

Sabrutin
August 22nd 2014


4960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's bad. I like to hear some songs occasionally, like the two you

mentioned, but as a whole it failed to capture me because I feel it starts to drag quite early (that's

why I rated it a 3).

ChoccyPhilly
August 22nd 2014


11741 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Couldn't agree more man but Dream is by far the best and most outgoing song on Unia



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