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,themselves have released some killer material over the years, with their previous two albums in particular garnering them much praise and wider recognition.
It’s such a shame then that ‘ ’ 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