Original Portuguese version here: http://heavenisnottoofar.webs.com/reviewsonataartica.htm
» With every album SONATA ARCTICA release, they redefine themselves a little. And despite the new nuances of “Stone Grows Her Name” haven’t impressed me much, I still believe that changing is always better than staying the same.
Without turning their backs completely to their power metal roots, the more “old school” fans can re-live that past with “Losing My Insanity”, “Cinderblox” and “Wildfire Town Population 0”. But the majority of the album dwells somewhere inside the boundaries of heavy rock.
The drums are probably the least fast in all SONATA ARCTICA‘s discography, as the first track “Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)” shows us right away. Along with how the chorus sticks to our heads and the “easy-listening” guitar solo, I dare using the term “commercial”.
The riffs in “Shitload O’ Money” are heavy, the guitar solo is more elaborated, followed by a keyboard one. And speaking of keys, at a certain point there’s this little piano somewhat dissonant in comparison to the rest of the melody, which can either be very pleasant to the listener or very annoying. A few “heys” in the background, more or less in the middle of the song, show clearly that this track will be played live, with the audience helping out in this given part. Not exactly a brilliant song, but one of those which stand out the most.
“Somewhere Close To You” is pure heavy metal, with a more aggressive attitude, not only from the instruments but from Tony Kakko’s voice as well.
Something I expected even less was the lack of solos in the first single/video “I Have A Right”. But the melody in a whole, the combination of strings and keys, that is characteristic of the band, so it was a good choice using that song to promote “Stones Grow Her Name”. The spoken verses by a child, Anna Lavender, also leave their mark – although it still reminds me of NIGHTWISH‘s “Dead Boy’s Poem”.
“Alone In Heaven” and “The Day” are close to ballads, but “Don’t Be Mean” is one in full, with a beautiful violin solo by the hands of Pekka Kuusisto.
It’s an album that excels in the details, whose basic structure is precisely that – basic. Which is not a depreciatory critic on my part. That they became more simplistic and straight-forward reveals, in my point of view, maturity. I’m just not sure if it will please most people. «
Label: Nuclear Blast
Producer: Nino Laurenne
- Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
- Shitload O’ Money
- Losing My Insanity
- Somewhere Close To You
- I Have A Right
- Alone In Heaven
- The Day
- Don’t Be Mean
- Wildfire, Part II – One With The Mountain
- Wildfire, Part III – Wildfire Town, Population 0
- Tonight I Dance Alone (Europe and USA bonus track)
- One-Two-Free-Fall (Japan bonus track)