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Friday, April 25, 2014

SONATA ARCTICA - PARIAH'S CHILD ALBUM REVIEW

SONATA ARCTICA - PARIAH'S CHILD ALBUM REVIEW
Band: Sonata Arctica
Album: Pariah's Child
Label: Nuclear Blast
Genre: Power Metal
Country: Finland
Release Date: March 28, 2014
Before I start the album review, I would like to give a brief album history of Sonata Arctica and my reaction to each release:
Ecliptica - Excellent
Silence - Mind blowing
Winterheart's Guild - They keep getting better
Reckoning Night - Instant classic
Unia - This is different, but still good
Days of Grays - What happened to Sonata Arctica?
Stones Grow Her Name - Better, but still not Sonata Arctica
I heard the singles "Wolves Die Young" and "Cloud Factory" and my hopes were up.  Could this be the Sonata Arctica of old coming back in full circle to what made them great?  I pressed play and listened.  I was not disappointed.  It's not a full circle return to those Epic Power Metal days but that's not a bad thing.
Let's face it, most bands change as the years go by and Sonata Arctica is no exception to that rule but change isn't always a bad thing.  In this case, it's a wonderful thing as they have created an incredibly catchy album.
The album starts off with a blast with "Wolves Die Young" which brought me back to the days of being blown away from this band.  Tony Kakko is in his prime and he proves it by belting out incredible vocal ranges thought the song.  That epic feel is back, as it should be.  That same vibe continues as the album goes right into "Running Lights", a song about a young man, his car and his love having the time of his life as they drive fast through the streets.  The song is incredibly catchy, right down to the chorus.
Sonata Arctica has always had a theme with wolves on their album covers and songs and they do it again with the song "Blood", which is a song comparing wolf and man and who's more of a beast.  The album goes on with the incredibly well written song "What Did You Do in the War Dad?" which is a song about a child asking his dad about the war and what war does to soldiers after the fighting is done.
The most unpredictable and high point of the album is the song "X Marks the Spot" where Tony Kakko takes on the personality of a Southern Baptist preacher, complete with a southern drawl, narration and a call and response moment that is normally done in Southern Baptist churches.  It's absolutely brilliant.  Then the album comes to my personal favorite song, "Love" because it reflects the way I feel about someone in my personal life.  The last song, "Larger Than Life" is a 9:57 song that brings back that epic feel as the album comes to its brilliant end.
What did I do after the album ended?  I did what I haven't done in a long time after listening to an album.  I listened to it again right away.  This album is that good.  Sonata Arctica are the masters when it comes to song writing and storytelling.
Die hard Sonata Arctica fans who are looking  for a full return to the days of "Ecliptica" and "Winterheart's Guild" will be disappointed.  Sonata Arctica has matured and moved on from those days but there is something here for everyone and this album is their most accessible to date.  It's a clash between the Epic Power Metal days and the current Power Metal style that is Sonata Arctica today.
In conclusion, this album is brilliant and is incredibly catchy, unpredictable and there's a song for everybody here.  Tony Kakko is at his best with his songwriting and his vocals shine throughout the entire album.  For those that didn't like "Days of Grays" or "Stones Grow Her Name" will be pleasantly surprised with this release.
Total Playing Time: 53:04
Overall: 9/10
Tracklist:
1.  The Wolves Die Young
2.  Running Lights
3.  Take One Breath
4.  Cloud Factory
5.  Blood
6.  What Did You Do In The War, Dad?
7.  Half a Marathon Man
8.  X Marks the Spot
9.  Love
10.  Larger Than Life