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Full Throttle Rock

Album Review: Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child

Posted on April 7, 2014 at 10:30 PM

Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child

Written by Dave Smiles

Judging by the comments on Youtube for The Wolves Die Young, the first single from this album, Sonata Arctica are receiving some varying opinions from fans. It’s almost as divided and passionate as opinions on Metallica. I for one don’t understand the criticism. There are some bands who are happy to release the same album over and over, and that’s fine. Others, who wish to establish a long career and explore their musical capabilities, are going to want to branch out and change. And this change doesn’t take anything away from their earlier releases. If the early stuff is all you like, the albums are there to enjoy. For a band to continue, especially a touring band, they need to keep creating music to keep it interesting.

I’m relatively new to the band, having discovered them after the release of Stones Grow Her Name. I haven’t heard as much of their older stuff as I’d like, but perhaps this lets me hear the new material with more open ears.

My initial reaction to this album is it’s more straight forward than the previous release. But upon repeated listens it’s apparent that while there are no experimental songs like Cinderblock this time around, there is certainly a lot going on within the songs themselves.

Statements from the band about the direction of this album indicate they set out to discover what they were all about and what they wanted to be. Without a doubt Sonata Arctica are a unique band; perhaps not one for the hell raisers. On the previous album, the track I Have A Right showed singer and lyricist Tony Kakko has a sense of consciousness and concern; a man who sees things about the world that deserve attention. Tracks on Pariah’s Child that are of a similar nature are Blood, X Marks The Spot and What Did You Do In The War, Dad. These are songs to get you thinking.

Musically, the band creates varying and contrasting textures in their songs. A beautiful piano melody will be mingled with or replaced by a harsh guitar riff, as in Blood and Take One Breath.

A tender ballad like Love contrasts with the all-out heavy tracks like Blood and Running Lights, showing the wide breadth of what the band can undertake. Take One Breath has a strong progressive feel to it and some great performances for the band.

With all the contrasting sections, various parts to the songs and changes in feel, what does become apparent is the band are playing together as a unit and no stone is being left unturned when it comes to creating unique music.

With the return of the wolf, whose themes and metaphors had been absent on the previous album, as the focal point of the album’s cover art it is apparent they’ve discovered what the spirit of Sonata Arctica is, and it’s shining bright. No doubt they will continue to create interesting music that goes against the norm. It’s well past time I checked out more from their earlier catalogue.


Categories: Album Reviews

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