Posted by Rodrigo Trupp at 5:38 PM
No fast songs at all, that's the first Impression I had when I received "UNIA", but there is some good moments on Sonata Arctica's latest full length album. The Music is not as explicit as on previous records. Finland's premiere Power Metal band who revitalized the power metal genre back in 1999 with their classic debut Ecliptica and their follow up Silence from 2001 (to me one the best albums of all time) has returned with a more progressive work.
Nowadays things have changed and so the music genre as well, which is been injected lately with new energy and full speed by the likes of Dragonforce and Powerquest (both bands from the UK), Dragonland another great band from Sweden has also contributed to the style from lacking vigor and dynamism or to be too laid down or stocked.
On this record Sonata Arctica is giving us a lot of exercises based on intricate passages on songs like "The Harvest" in which the record lifts up a little from the rest of the content on it.
The album begins with a great song entitled "In Black and White" which reflects the title of the song and offers a little adventurous and more progressive feel on to it in general the disc picks up where its predecessor "Reckoning Night" left. The repetitive choirs here and there, to my judgment, are a distinctive support to the orchestrated arrangements. The interesting vocal lines and multilayered voices are not just there to fill in what's left unfulfilled, to the contrary they are along the lyrics part of the general concept in the album.
A much cohesive sound that all albums before, UNIA is impressive and there's great songs on it also, the uplifting and more captivating song Paid in Full, gives us back something missed since "Silence", while For the Sake of Revenge and It Won't Fade the balance is kept between Symphonic and intricate heavy passages yet with some experimentation from keyboard Man( and Kung Fu admirer) Henrik Klingenberg. The medieval touch which is something that Sonata have approached before very closely but not in totality Musically , its present on both the amazing "It Won't Fade" and the eloquently slow and heavy piece "Under your Tree" .
Caleb and The Vice are the complexity center and the following "My Dream's But A Drop Fuel For A Nightmare" mark the Peak of the record in which the three songs are the most the band have cover symphonic territories ever, manic and at the same time progressive, keeping magically their own identity the choir arrangement is another great reach.
The Harvest recovers some of the speed that is basically missing on this album and some solos from Jani Liimatainen, who is much more present with the heaviness of the metrics than as a lead player and who also shines with his acoustics on the next song The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden one the best transitional pieces I have ever heard from them.
Among the bunch of touching songs in Sonata's Career there must be a place for the closing "Good Enough Is Good Enough" in which Tony Kakko uses his great voice against orchestral arrangements.
This is a symphonic-progressive version of the band and the record is the maturity of playing constantly, compared to previous albums this contains a little of everything, although the complexity and the instrumentals in which finally we get to hear all members doing their work and their solo offerings is one great gift, keyboards are present all the time although yielding space to the "Baroque", the "Gypsy an" , the mysticism and the aforementioned Classic orchestrated parts.
I believe this is their most cohesive work since Silence, yet no better than Winterheart's Guild from 2003. I also think that there were a couple of fast songs missed, but still this might be a transition for what's yet to come....... hopefully.