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The kind of power metal I like. - 94%

IWP, December 15th, 2007

This band is often criticized for being cheesy and having keyboards be one of the main instruments for their music, and is also labeled "flower metal" by many of the "kvlt" extreme metal fans. However, I fucking love this band, and I especially love this album.

I'd certainly rather listen to this band than listen to a band like Blind Guardian with their cheesy dungeons and dragons lyrics. That's not how power metal is suppose to sound. Now THIS is a power metal album. It has everything that a good power metal album should have; speed, melody, catchiness, and lots of emotion. In fact, this band reminds me alot of Europe on speed, and since I also love Europe (another band that metal elitists frown upon), I also love Sonata Arctica. Either way though, I don't care what anyone else thinks, this is how power metal should sound. The only power metal album that I've listened to so far that outdoes this one is Helloween's Keeper of the Seven Keys 1.

Anyway, on to the songs. Damn, this album is full of great songs. However, my favorite songs would have to be Blank File, My Land, Kingdom For a Heart, and Unopened. The formal two are fast and furious numbers with lots of melody and speed, and I an play these songs over and over again, and not get sick of them. Then, the latter two both have keyboard intros, before amazing you with a huge dose of speed and emotion. I don't care how "cheesy" these two songs sound, they're amazing, and I like Tony's vocals in these songs. He may sound whiny at times, but he's a great singer, and I personally like his voice. Fullmoon, Destruction Preventer, and the ballad, Replica are also worthy of several plays.

About the only weak track on this album is the other ballad, Letter to Dana. I do like this song, but those lyrics are so damn pathetic! Ihe lyrics just basically say that the guy wants this girl, and keeps writing her letters about how much he wants her, yet doesn't really do anything aobut it. He doesn't try to talk to her, and ask her out, or anything. He just complains that he can't have her. Oh, and that part "I saw you in the cover of a filthy magazine, and I think my heart just cannot handle that." is so pathetic and pardon the ignorance, but "emo" that I couldn't help but get a laugh from it. However, for a ballad it's quite good, just if the lyrics weren't so pathetic, I would've liked it better. This track also brings the score down from a 95 or even a 96. However, it's the only weak track on this album.

In conclusion, I don't care how "cheesy" or "whiny" they may be, Sonata Arctica are one of the greatest power metal bands in my opinion. If you can tolerate a little bit of cheese, and like 80s sounding keyboards ala-Europe, you'll love this album. Oh, and no, I DON'T like this better than Painkiller, but that's a different ball game altogehter.