Sonata Arctica - 2012 Stones Grow Her Name


ARTIST: Sonata Arctica
ALBUM: Stones Grow Her Name
LABEL: Nuclear Blast
SERIAL: NB 2861-2
YEAR: 2012


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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful) * 02 Shitload O' Money * 03 Losing My Insanity * 04 Somewhere Close To You * 05 I Have A Right * 06 Alone In Heaven * 07 The Day * 08 Cinderblox * 09 Don't Be Mean * 10 Wildfire, Part II - One With The Mountain * 11 Wildfire, Part III - Wildfire Town, Population: 0

RATING: image



After taking an unusual three-year break between releases, the genre-hopping Finns released a mixed bag of songs that surprised everybody - mostly in a negative way.

The Songs

'Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)' is quite sugary and happy-go-lucky, and unsurprisingly so, since the music was originally written for a children's CD and Kakko was convinced by his band members to Sonata-ize it.

'Shitload O' Money' is rather baffling - a Finnish metal take on glam metal that didn't hit the mark in any way, and especially not when you take the video into consideration as well, which was supposed to be a satirical take on all those music videos with half naked ladies dancing seductively, but contains no element of condemnation of such videos whatsoever.

'Losing My Insanity' is rather good, a fast-paced, cold power metal track, that sounds like it was written in their 'Unia'-era - exactly because it was, in fact, written back in 2007-ish for the winner of Finnish Idol (and current singer of Amoral) Ari Koivunen. Why they decided they needed to re-interpret it themselves, I don't know, since nothing of the music was changed between the two versions, but the fact is that 'Losing My Insanity' is one of the best songs on this album, recycled as it is.

'Somewhere Close To You' is unusually dark and carries much power in its tones, definitely one of the brightest moments both on this album and in their entire careers - but sadly, from this moment on, everything starts going downhill again.

'I Have A Right' and 'Alone In Heaven' are two touching power ballads (about childhood abuse and friendship, respectively) that are marred by the fact each of their choruses repeats about a million times.

'The Day' is a song that features some incredible melodies but has no real hooks and is rather forgettable until you've cemented it in your head by playing it a few dozen times.

'Cinderblox' is probably the band's first take on folk metal, but not Northern European folk, quite the contrary. It is a completely banjo-led, hillibilly flavored tavern dancing tune that was baffling to many (and endearing to me personally).

'Don't Be Mean' is probably the most boring and empty Sonata Arctica ballad ever conceived, and it would probably not even be worthy of a bonus song spot on any of their previous albums.

I welcomed the end of the album with mixed feelings - a little bored to death, a little thrilled by experimentation that took place during some songs, a little confused about the recycling of older songs and songs meant for other purposes - when the duo of 'Wildfires' passed.

Based on the chorus melody and some other motifs from the rather overlooked 'Wildfire' from 'Reckoning Night', it is a perfect throwback to their earlier eras where they preferred telling stories, both in their music and their lyrics, but I kept wondering what is the place of such throwbacks on an album that was both so new for the band and so underwhelming.

In Summary

More of a collection of songs than a cohesive album, and a rather disappointing, forced simplicity and change of style, but it is somewhat saved by the excellence of a few select songs.

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