Sonata Arctica - _Pariah's Child_
(Nuclear Blast, 2014)
by: Julia Semprich (4.5 out of 10)
After their release of _Silence_ in 2001, Adrian Bromley wrote that "Sonata Arctica were the real deal for fans who want good, wholesome melodic metal done right". These were exactly my thoughts and I couldn't have expressed them in better words. The first two or three albums had their share of slow, slightly corny ballads, but they still contained instrumental passages with aggressive guitars and ample of speed. Back then, the Finnish quintet was a group of talented musicians who were about to find their individual style.

And today? There is hardly anything in their eighth studio album _Pariah's Child_ that distinguishes Sonata Artica from any other melodic metal band. In many of the songs you even have to search very hard for the "metal" component. The speedy parts with the characteristic double bass have vanished from almost all songs. Only "Running Lights" shows some of the typical, early Sonata Arctica elements such as variations in speed and heavier guitars. Most of the other songs focus on catchy tunes and endless repetitions, with less variation in the vocals compared to the band's early works. Keyboards and programming are the dominant element, which is not surprising for a melodic medal album, but I could live with less of the jingling bells and music box-like interludes.

The only song which sticks out of the album is "Half a Marathon Man" which is heavily interspersed with elements from the hard rock and heavy metal genres. Due to this difference in style, it almost sounds like a cover version. Finally, Tony shows that his voice has much more to offer than the other songs might make us believe.

There is nothing to criticize on the technical level of the album; the musicians show their versatility, the production is well done. It's just a pity that despite all this concentrated talent, the band doesn't seem to create something more special. I'd prefer songs with less catchy tunes, less repetitions, less focus on the vocals and maybe more variation and edge in the voice. In short: more metal, less mainstream.


(article published 2/5/2015)

10/19/2001 A Bromley 8 Sonata Arctica - Silence
1/15/2000 A Bromley 7 Sonata Arctica - Ecliptica
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