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Sonata Arctica
Winterheart`s Guild
May 2003
Released: 2003, Century Media
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: JP

I’ll state my bias right up front. SA is one of my favorite new bands! This is their 5th release but third full-length and they are as good as ever. Every element I like about the band is in place, blazing speed, catchy melodies, interesting lyrics it’s all there.

The band presents up with another cool, northern/winter inspired title and cover and a great batch of songs. For fans of the previous albums this is a nice blend of the first two. It takes has the darker elements of the first album, the bright speed of the second and blends them into a smooth dark mix like a good rich European chocolate.

As always the production is flawless, performances spot on. I really like the singing style of Kakko who stretches his range a bit while keeping the unique phrasing intact. Lyrically this album adds an element of…dare I say it, sensuality? Tracks like ‘Silver Tongue’, Draw Me’, Victoria’s Secret’ and ‘Champagne Bath’ bring a refined smoothness and elegance to the proceedings.

My favorite cut by far is ‘The Cage’ and the opening cut blows me away with it’s traditional, relentless, double-kick opening. This CD would get the full 5/5 out of five if it were not for one thing. The quality of the ballads are still not quite as good as I’d hoped. They have not been able to top the heart-wrenching ‘Letter to Dana” and ‘Replica’ from ECLIPTICA an album that is a five out of five for me.

In my mind this band can do wrong and they are a contender for album of the year for me and virtually guaranteed a spot in my Top 10.
Track Listing

1. Abandoned, Pleased, Brainwashed and Exploited
2. Graven Image
3. The Cage
4. Silver Tongue
5. The Misery
6. Victoria’s Secret
7. Champagne Bath
8. Broken
9. The Rest of The Sun Belongs To Me
10. The Ruins of My Life
11. Draw Me


Tony Kakko-Vocals
Jani Liimatanien-Guitar
Marko Paasikoski-Bass
Henrik Kiligenberg-Keys
Tony Portimo-Drums



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