Sonata Arctica - 2004 Reckoning Night


ARTIST: Sonata Arctica
ALBUM: Reckoning Night
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
SERIAL: NB-1315-2
YEAR: 2004


LINEUP: Tony Kakko - vocals * Jani Liimatainen - guitar * Marko Paasikoski - bass * Tommy Portimo - drums * Henrik Klingenberg - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Misplaced * 02 Blinded No More * 03 Ain't Your Fairytale * 04 Reckoning Day Reckoning Night * 05 Don't Say A Word * 06 The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet * 07 My Selene * 08 Wildfire * 09 White Peal Black Oceans.. * 10 Shamandalie

RATING: image


After finding a replacement keyboardist (Henrik Klingenberg, mostly known for his work with prog metallers Silent Voices and Requiem), the power metal Finns have quickly begun work on another album that saw them transforming almost completely and inventing their own brand of dark and off-kilter power metal.

The Songs

In well-known Sonata Arctica tradition, the album starts with a fast, pure Euro power metal tune that the band used to produce as if they were running a factory line, and by then they've begun to feel rather monotone, saved only by lyrics unorthodox for that particular brand of power metal.

'Misplaced', and the third track, 'Ain't Your Fairytale' are exactly that kind of song, but fortunately for both Sonata Arctica and me, the ardent listener, the rest of the album is much more interesting.

'Blinded No More' is a song so wry and pungent you will feel rather comfortably uncomfortable listening to it, and after dashing through 'Ain't Your Fairytale' and the short, atmospheric instrumental 'Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night', the band offers us their magnum opus, one of the four songs (and probably the best of the four) about their recurring character Caleb, and show the full extent of his madness in 'Don't Say A Word'.

Yes, the track is a power metal stomper, with an anthemic, harmonized chorus and frantic verses, but the instrumentation is complex and original, the vocal delivery is spell-binding and the story simply takes my breath away.

'My Selene' is a touching, emotional song, wistful and gentle in tone, the only one fully written by the band's guitarist Jani Liimatainen, who left after the recording of their following album.

'Wildfire' is Queen gone power metal, sounding like it's sung by six or seven Tony's running down a hill - appropriate considering it's about a madman burning an entire town down.

'White Pearl, Black Oceans..' could be one of the best songs I've ever heard - almost nine minutes long, featuring some of the band's best melodies, easily cruising through several moods they mastered, and completely beautiful.

'Shamandalie' fits both as a goodbye and as a rest from the magnificence of 'White Pearls', a major-key piano ballad about a friendship lost that soothes the listener.

In Summary

With a great new style, a great new label contract, a great new keyboardist, Sonata Arctica have embarked on a journey that both won and lost them many fans, and also brought them artistic integrity and a peace of mind. That is, until new turbulences rocked their smooth-sailing boat.

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