Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child (2014)

It has not been easy being a fan of the Finnish power metal band Sonata Arctica these last couple of years. Since the release of "Unia" in 2007, the band has tormented its audience with unsuccessful experimenting and weak song writing. However, we might finally see the light at the end of the tunnel with the release of "Pariah's Child". Just the fact that the band has gone back to its original band logo (which they have not had on a album since "Reckoning Night") is a good signs for the old fans.

And sure enough, most of the music sounds more like the old Sonata Arctica on "Pariah's Child". Even if we do not get treated with a album filled speedy and true power metal song, it still shows some nice intentions that makes you remember what made you like Sonata Arctica in the first place, like the fast pounding in "Running Lights" and "Blood", the melodies in "Cloud Factory", and the brittleness in "What Did You Do In The War, Dad?". Even the winter and medieval feel that the whole album reeks off just makes you feel all warm inside.

It is an overall coherent album where all the songs feels like they belong in it. There are a lot of catchy tunes that makes it a power metal album, but the cheesiness is not so high that it makes the album sloppy. You can easily tag a long on tracks like "The Wolves Die Young" and "Cloud Factory" while other tracks, like "Take One Breath" and "Love", instead grows on you. The variation in the record is also very splendid and the band performs like professionals. And even if most of the tunes are somewhat predictable, it does not spoil anything, it is still pretty enjoyable for the listener.

However, all is not well with "Pariah's Child". There are also parts in "Pariah's Child" were it just feels so wrong that it is there. The track "Half A Marathon Man" is a weird mix of gospel, loud keyboards and heavy rock that just does not suit the band. Then we also have "X Marks The Spot" that is musically a decent track, but lyrically it is just way too corny for the band's own good. And then also the random preachings from the American gospel priest. What is even the meaning with that? Totally useless waste of space.

Even if "Pariah's Child" does not reach up to the same heights as Sonata Arctica's strongest works, it is still the band's best album since "Reckoning Night". Gone are most of the weird progressive experiments and they are instead replaced with what the band does best, melodic power metal. So welcome back from the darkness Sonata Arctica, we have missed you.

Songs worthy of recognition: "What Did You Do In The War, Dad?", Cloud Factory, Blood

Rating: 7,5/10 Marathon Men

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