Sonata Arctica

Rating: 82/100

Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen, September '04
Label: Nuclear Blast GmbH
Style: Melodic Power Metal

Reckoning Night

Sonata Arctica returns with a very good album in their attempt to climb to the top of the European power metal olymp. "Reckoning Night" is their studio album number four and I my opinion a much stronger and better album than their last one "Winterheart's Guild", which never got to me. This one has a lot of the magic, that made both "Ecliptica" and "Silence" great albums. They have matured a great deal since the early days, and their technically level has improved a lot also, all of this resulting in an great album with good songs.

Kicking the album off is the fast and powerful track: "Misplaced" with a good chorus, great soli and the familiar use of huge choirs, one of the best songs on the album. I think they are at their best on songs like "Ain't Your Fairytale" - a fast and furious, straight forward metal song with a good solo-part. Other highlights include the first single off the album: "Don't Say A Word" - another fast song with an interesting middlepart with some great solo stuff from both Henrik and Jani. My favorite track is however the acoustic starting "White Pearl, Black Ocean ...", which builds up nicely and grows into a monster track - awesome. Last track off the album is the compulsory power ballad, where I feel the vocals are a bit forced at times, an OK power ballad.

Overall the songs are a bit more dark, they are all on a very high level, and everything is done with conviction from the great production to the songs to the excellent solo-parts. New keyboardist Henrik Klinkenberg brings some great new ideas and fills to their sound, and looks like a great addition.

I can really not understand why they've included the song called: "Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night", which is 3 minutes of meaningless keyboard sounds - not even an intro to the next song. One thing missing on this album is the absolute highlight - like "San Sebastian" on "Silence", but this is a rock solid release, that surely will help Sonata Arctica move forward ....

Recommended tracks: "Misplaced", "Ain't Your Fairytale" and "White Pearl, Black Ocean ..."