Sonata Arctica - Ecliptica (Spinefarm) 2000
1. "Blank File"
Yet another neo-classical metal band from Finland, who are also home to one of metal's finest bands, Stratovarius. Sonata Arctica are fast and aggressive yet retaining a sense of melody and in many songs adding in a lyrical or musical hook. The drummer for this band is absolutely awesome. His double bass execution is flawless. The only negative thin I can say about this disc is that after a while the songs begin to sound the same. However, with repeated listens and a little more familiarity with the songs, I am sure this could become a favorite cd of mine. Because I am writing this after only having heard the disc twice, I will probably end up writing more or something completely different in the future.
Sonata Arctica - Silence (Century Media) 2001
1. "...of Silence"
"Silence" is a melodic and progressive power metal disc that borders on the same musical boundries as Stratovarius, although they certainly retain their own sound as well. The production is thick, the music is heavy but is surrounded by the keyboard playing of Mikko Harkin. The keys spend much of the time dueling it out with the guitars, making for an interesting sound. The vocals are clean and powerful, yet aggressive. As with most modern prog-metal bands, one moment finds the music subtle and melodic, the next it is in-your-face, heavy and aggressive. Some of the drum work is so fast it would put most black metal bands to shame. It's sad that more of the heavier crowd doesn't pay attention to music like this just because the band doesn't have a cookie monster on crack death metal clone on vocals. It's bands like this that embody true speed and real heavy metal. It's done without downtuning, but with killer riffs, breathless runs up and down the fretboards and tight musicianship. Having said all this, I think this release suffers from one small problem that may diminish with further play. The songs don't seem to stand out by themselves, and therefore begin to sound alike. However, as I say, this may be more a problem of my own unfamiliarity with the disc. Repeated listens, which I can guarantee this cd will get, may change this for me.