Released: 2006, Nuclear Blast
Over the past couple of years I sort of lost touch with Sonata Arctica, not to the point of not checking out their new albums, but they just never hit me with the same intensity as ECLIPTICA (1999) and SILENCE (2001). With the release of their DVD and live CD, my interest in the band’s recent material has been rekindled. This is especially the case with regards to RECKONING NIGHT (2004). At first, it didn’t do much for me, but this live release has prompted me to re-evaluate it and I find that I like it much more now than when it came out. So, besides being for die-hard Sonata fans, FOR THE SAKE OF REVENGE is also great for those who may not have followed Sonata Arctica as closely over the past couple of releases.
Recorded at Shibuya AX, Tokyo, Japan on February 5th, 2005, FOR THE SAKE OF REVENGE comes with a 16-track live CD and an 18-track live DVD of the same concert. The DVD also contains some minor bonus features such as behind the scenes stuff from the Japan tour called “The Men Of The North In The Land Of The Rising Sun” and the usual biography, discography, and photo sections. The video quality is not the best I’ve ever seen, but I still have no complaints.
The live set is well-paced and structured. For example, just when you had enough of some slower songs Tony asks “Would you like something a little more speedy?” and then begins an excellent rendition of “8th Commandment” (awesome playing on this one!). I was surprised they included this ECLIPTICA track over “Blank File” (they should have had both on here)…but you can never include everyone’s favorite songs in a single live show. That said, how could they not include “Wolf & Raven”…weird! There is also humor such as the intro: “Now it’s time for some underwear music… Victoria's Secret”! ha! The best part is the altered line in “Black Sheep” where Tony sings “We’re not Iron Maiden, we don’t come from England. We’re Sonata Arctica, we come from Finland.” I also like the fact that the band left in a place where Tony missed his vocal que at the beginning of the song. Tony and Jani have a little laugh at it and pick things right back up. That makes them seem more human and normal, rather then editing it out. Unlike some “live” recordings, I didn’t notice any noticeable vocal overdubs on here, not that they might not be there, but the band does sound live and the sound is great.
If you’ve lost interest with Sonata Arctica, give FOR THE SAKE OF REVENGE and listen/watch and with luck it will also re-energize your interest in the band. I hope that the band’s next studio album will be out sooner rather than later as this is just something to get us through the dry spell considering the last studio album is from 2004.