Released: 2004, Nuclear Blast/Sound Pollution
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
Finland’s Sonata Arctica released their first album in 1999. Their first single was UNOPENED and was followed by the debut album the same year called ECLIPTICA. The guys in the band come from a town by the name of Kemi, but where it’s located I don’t have the slightest idea. DON’T SAY A WORD is Sonata Arctica’s first release on their new label and it’s meant as a preview of what to expect on the upcoming album. The new album is called RECKONING NIGHT. The band has a lot of fans and I can promise them that this is a very promising preview.
Sonata Arctica play melodic power metal with the main focus on melody. There are some heavy keyboards that are featured at the top of the mix, along with the lead vocals and some edgy guitar riffs. They have chosen to put two songs from the forthcoming album and two covers. “World In My Eyes” is a Depeche Mode cover and “Two Minds, One Soul” is a Vanishing Point cover.
“Don’t Say A Word” is a brilliant choice for the first single. It’s melodic power metal combined with heavy guitars and keyboards at the top of the mix. The chorus is extremely sing-along friendly and sticks to your brain even after the first time you’ve listened to it. The second song “Ain’t Your Fairytale” is also a typical melodic power metal track with a lot of double bass pedals used. Lead vocals and keyboard play the biggest part in the song, especially compared to the first song. Then it’s time for the Depeche Mode cover, which by the way is a brilliant cover. It has lots of riffing guitars but also a lot of keyboards. It sounds equally as metal as it sounds synth. Last out comes the Vanishing Point cover “Two Minds, One Soul.” That song is a great mixture of both melodic power metal and some harder power metal with riffing guitars. I haven't heard the original but this cover sounds really good. The drum sound is incredibly solid and also in this song they have used a lot of double bass pedals. Besides the stunning lead vocals, the album cover looks remarkably attractive.
The EP was recorded in Tico Tico Studio between March and June 2004 by Ahti Kortelainen. Tracks 1 and 2 on the EP were mixed in the famous Finnvox Studio by Mikko Karmila and tracks 3 and 4 were mixed by Ahti Kertelainen. The band members themselves produced it and it’s very well produced. They have managed to create a heavy and full soundscape.
I can sum up this EP by saying that Sonata Arctica make well-played melodic power metal and they have some really great material, a really competent singer that takes the music to another level and competent musicians. I really hope that the album is of the same high class as the EP.
The only negative thing about the EP is that why have they chosen to put two songs from the forthcoming album on the EP instead of putting on another bonus track that’s not featured on the album. That would give you more music for the money. Besides that I have no complaints. For all of you who like melodic power metal I really think that this EP is a nice way to spend your money.
Good news for fans of the band ... they are going out on tour with their labelmates and colleagues in Nightwish on a co-headling tour through Europe later this year.