Sonata Arctica

Album Review: Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name

Hailing from Scandinavia (Finland, to be precise), you would think that rock and metal would be in the veins of the entire population. From some of the most horrific church burnings, to viking and folk metal, the Nordic lands have been responsible for some of the most memorable moments in our genre. Hell, Sonata Arctica themselves have released some killer material over the years, with their previous two albums in particular garnering them much praise and wider recognition.

Sonata Arctica Stones Grow Her Name Artwork
It’s such a shame then that ‘Stones Grow Her Name’ is more than a let-down; it actually feels like a step backwards. Gone is the charm of their previously successful releases, the Finnish atmosphere, and even a lot of their trademark power metal pomp.

Instead, for the most part, the album is clunky and awkward, repetitive and overly long, and as each track continues, more and more disappointing. Opener ‘Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)’ is actually enjoyable, but follow-up track ‘Shitload of Money’ (that really is the name of the song) is the worst track the band have ever recorded. As the album continues, it’s hard to think of any other word rather than, whisper it, boring – which is something the band could never have been accused of in the past.

Every now and then, some of the Sonata Arctica we know and love pops up – ‘Cinderblox’ is a fun, banjo-led oompa driven song. The power metal riffing combined with the cheesy vocal melody is exactly what Sonata Arctica do best, but located so late on in the album, it could be surprising if listeners even make it this far for the standout track.

Disappointing is the correct word. Since this is the band’s 7th album, it could simply be a mis-step. Their back catalogue is strong enough to back up this claim. They have the essence they need within their ranks to bounce back, but on this outing, Sonata Artica have slumped and delivered a stinker. Pretty artwork though.

Rating – 3

     

About Scott Wilson

Having spent the last twenty years of his life telling his friends his opinion of the latest release by every band he has ever heard of, Scott is an enthusiastic journalist and keen writer. A fan of every genre of music, though his heart firmly belongs to rock, he has been spending far too much money on gigs and not enough on digs. Reachable by either email or Twitter where copious amounts of commentating and general excitement can also be found.

2 Responses to “Album Review: Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name”

  1. Gregor_Clegane 24/05/2012 at 12:56 am

    It’s clear that Sonata Arctica drew inspiration from stadium rock bands of the late 70’s and early 80’s.  The album reeks of rock opera.  Are some of them simplistic? Yes.  However, the album has more than just two good tracks to it, despite what you say.  I’m not sure you’ve ever experienced a real rock opera other than possibly Green Day’s American Idiot.  The great classic rock operas from legendary stadium rock bands, for you, are single tracks that are included in a “Greatest Hits” album or remade by more modern artists.  I am wonder where one of the all-time classic rock operas “Bat out of Hell”, rates with you?  Maybe you need to listen to albums from that era to understand what Sonata Arctica was driving for, because I think absent of that, reviewing the songs on an individual basis rather than on an entire work  or comparing it to past albums isn’t judging it fairly.  Should this album recieve a 10/10, absolutely not.  However, your score of 3 is much worse than what the album fairly deserves.

  2. Xander_Danger 12/06/2012 at 7:23 am

    Kudos to the guy before me for the Game of Thrones inspired nick.I also think you were a bit harsh. Sonata Arctica have made no secret they are 70s-80s stadium rock enthusiasts and considering that they were indeed going into a straighter path with the two last albums that yourself mentioned, Stones is not a surprise but something that was to be expected. Granted, it’s repetitive. When I saw the tracklist, with not only one but two follow-ups to my favourite track ‘Wildfire”, I was ecstatic. Only to feel let down with both tracks. I also still listen to Sonata to get my monthly dose of power metal, me being more into metalcore and electro nowadays. And I agree with you that there’s not much power metal to be found here.But it’s still a decent record in its own right. A note of 6 would have been just. But a 3, man. That’s rough. That’s not some shitty, garage band that has no redeeming qualities. Sonata Arctica single handedly introduced my generation to power metal. There’s still some nice stuff in there.