I’ll spare you my “why is power metal so shit on” and my “why isn’t this genre more popular” power metal rants this time, because I’m sick of typing it and a longer, more detailed and thought out version of the rant is in the works, and just tell you this… I fucking love Sonata Arctica. Qualifier. I fucking love the first two albums, enjoy the third and fourth, and go no further with this band than that.
Let’s back up. Finnish power metal band Stratovarius deserve a lot of credit for carrying the power metal torch in Finland during in the 80’s and 90’s and adding that soaring, uplifting, keyboard every, sappy element to power metal, and they’ve produced some classic albums with that sound, but I think a lot of what they influenced my outdo them. Sonata Arctica being the prime example.
Sonata is also Finnish so you’d expect some Stratovarius influence on the band, but on their debut album Ecliptica, Sonata took that Stratovarius style to the next level. Faster, more glorious, more sappy, more cheesy (some would say) with insane, furious guitar work, masterful vocals, and catchy as fuck songs. Sonata’s power metal is more of an uplifting type then the chant along type, again that Stratovarius influence, and they’ve mastered that on their debut. The song “Fullmoon” might be the single best Sonanta song, if it weren’t for “Wolf & Raven on the follow up album Silence, which is one of my all time favorite power metal albums as they took this formula, ramped it up, but added a weird little dark, twisted theatrical presence to the proceedings. But this album, this album is a fucking amazing debut.
After the fourth album, the cheese became too much to be contained by power metal and they started to drift into cock rock/glam metal areas and never really came back, thus they only exist to me in the form of their first four albums, which are all excellent examples of this kind of power metal, but the first two, that’s the fucking sweet spot.
Oh. They rerecorded this album in 2015. Don’t listen to that one. Just listen to the original version.