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Flower Metal at its sickeningly catchy best. - 88%

caspian, September 12th, 2007

Flower Metal should be a genre that I hate. Ridiculously cheesy keys, vocals that make your penis shrink, guitars that generally do nothing, etc etc. However, perhaps the fact that it's so cheesy and happy is what makes me like it so much. When this kind of stuff is executed properly (Dragonforce being another good example) it's positively life-affirming. Of course, anything less then that and it's freaking terrible.

Luckily for us, though, Sonata Arctica have made possibly THE best flower metal album ever. It's cheesy and incredibly annoying, sure, but it's catchier then the plague and happier then a high-on-prozac Blink 182. And damn, it's good, though still annoying.

The consistency of this album is a real step up from previous Sonata albums. Almost every song is great, or at least not totally crap. The title track actually has some pretty excellent piano work, and while it's a ballad it's actually quite nice, quite tasty indeed. Hell, even the super cheesy synths fit the whole thing perfectly. 'White Pearl, Black Oceans' is probably the first epic power metal song I've heard that didn't bore me to tears, whilst Misplaced is a great album opener that just rocks hard, and has some pretty good keyboard stylings in it. The album's apex is definitely Ain't Your Fairytale- sugary power metal at it's best. It's just really catchy, with some good riffs, really sweet vocals and nice guitar solo action. The guitar solos are probably the highlight of this album. There's some nice fast moments here and there, but the guitarists never resort to "OMG DUDES HOW FAST CAN I SHRED". The solos are nicely composed and very satisfying, like small songs in themselves.

I guess the thing that really appeals to me is the sense of energy and the relentless good times vibe that's throughout the whole album. Of course, most power metal bands have a similar sort of vibe, but Sonata sound like they actually mean it. There's not a hint of pretentiousness, just big, happy riffs and soaring vocals- vocals which aren't falsetto, which is also a very nice thing. The whole thing is helped by a nice production- very polished, of course, but at least the drums don't sound all that triggered, and it's not quite as sterile as most other power metal bands out there.

So, to conclude, well, this is a really good flower metal album. I'm sure there's many out there (like me) who don't normally like this more fluffy offshoot of power metal, but give this one a chance, as it's been executed really well. It's one of the catchiest metal albums I've heard, and basically every song is super catchy and well written. Definitely music to play loud in your car, or music to drink beer to. Highly recommended!