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 Sonata Arctica - "Stones Grow Her Name"

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PostSubject: Sonata Arctica - "Stones Grow Her Name"   Tue May 07, 2013 5:12 am

Review by Victoria Long

Following the release of Sonata Arctica's beautiful previous album about life, death, and love called The Days of Grays we fans were shortly presented with a new album. This album took me by surprise – and it wasn't exactly a pleasant surprise. It took me quite awhile to warm up to some of the songs, while others really stood out and made quite an impression (and still do). Stones Grow Her Name is, dare I say it, Sonata's most diverse album they have delivered so far. You can find everything from their classic Ecliptica sound to a song more commonly known as “banjo metal”, and there are plenty of musical surprises within the songs themselves along the way.

Opening with “Only the Broken Hearts(Make You Beautiful)”, this track is a brilliant intro to the entire album. It has a completely open and melodic feel, going from piano to fortissimo in mere seconds. This song will have the listener singing along to the chorus and screaming like Tony by the end. Following this is “Shitload of Money”, one of Sonata's more amusing songs from the album. With an upbeat groove and tight vocals, this will easily be a crowd favorite. The guitars have such a great sound throughout this song and the drums especially stand out. After this song we are led into a beautiful piano piece from Henka, which strongly reminds me of “Full Moon”, introducing “Losing My Insanity”. This is undeniably a classic Sonata Arctica song. There is not one element that doesn't reflect the sound that can immediately be recognized by a fan, and there are fun Iron Maiden-esque parts like the galloping guitars in the middle of the song. The next track is my personal favorite off the album, as it is incredibly strong and really sends chills down my spine from Tony's harsh voice, and sudden musical change during the chorus. This song is “Somewhere Close to You”, an absolutely riveting, haunting song that I hope others enjoy as much as I do. After this is the single off the album, “I Have a Right”, which was also the first song us fans were able to hear off Stones Grow Her Name. This song is what proved to me that Stones Grow Her Name would be a different Sonata album; it wouldn't be what most fans expect. This song shows that Sonata really has a set sound they're going for in this album – and they completely achieve it. Its more focused, yet still diverse and full of various twists and turns. After this we reach the halfway point of the album with “Alone in Heaven”, which is almost hard to coin as a power ballad but it proves to be one with its lull and lyrics.

After the half-mark of the album we are pulled into the beat of “The Day”. This is a song I would expect to find on a previous album such as Unia. This is a song with a story, and its a beautiful sad story about one losing his home and his loved ones “when the sea came in”. The sad feelings don't last though! Because after this track is the most fun, exciting, new and strange songs off the album. This is “Cinderblox”, the aforementioned song that is what we fans call banjo metal. Really, they use a banjo in this song. A banjo, you ask? How could a band make this work? If any band can, its Sonata Arctica. And they absolutely OWN it! Imagine square dancing to this in a mosh pit – that is the kind of song this is. Its fun and upbeat, with crazy lyrics to match and a beautiful solo instrumental interlude in the middle before reverting back to the banjo and violins. After this is a ballad, called “Don't Be Mean”. It is one of my least favorite Sonata ballads as it is rather bland and sounds a bit forced on the album. Next is “Wildfire, Part: II – One With the Mountain”, the next song in the “Wildfire” series us fans have been waiting for. And what a trip it is. This and “Wildfire, Part: III – Wildfire Town, Population: 0” are undeniably the most classic-sounding songs of the entire album. “Wildfire, Part II” is more set in its pace and goes through both dynamic ranges; an incredible song that will have you singing “I don't want to dance anymore!” halfway through. “Wildfire, Part III” opens with an odd synth sound that is quite a trip to listen to and it keeps popping up throughout. This is a song you would also expect to find on a former album, such as The Days of Grays. The percussion is technical in parts and the fast-pace of the song backed by the classic Sonata keyboards and even a bit of finnish and slow violin splashed into the mix creates one hell of a song, and is a huge highlight of the album. The final track is a bonus one, titled “Tonight I Dance Alone”, another slow song. Its also a wonderful way to end the album, as its a beautiful song and I honestly would have preferred this to be in the album and not “Don't Be Mean”. Altogether this album is another triumph and gold star under Sonata Arctica's belt. This album does take awhile before it really sets in, so if you gave it a chance and didn't enjoy it, try it again. You will be surprised by how much you will like it, I guarantee! This album gets a good 4/5 from me, so go out and buy it to support our Finnish superstars (and get them to tour the US again!)!


*Signature made by me*
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PostSubject: Re: Sonata Arctica - "Stones Grow Her Name"   Sat Jul 27, 2013 2:36 am

Damn good band and damn good review. I enjoyed reading.
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