Sonata Arctica Stones Grow Her Name 2012

Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name
2012 - Album Review

Here we come again. An established metal band going to, or trying to, get more wide musical spectrum in their discography. Sonata Arctica is/was flesh and bone a symphonic power metal band from the beginning. But as some of musician just simply can't resist to tryout their musical outlet outside their respective genre, Sonata Arctica decided to do this under its very same name. Prior to Stones Grow Her Name, the sign of chances already there. An album before, the Days of Gray was already a slow down , calm version of power metal. On this album, they take the full measurement and switch large scale from their previous comfort zone. This is usually mean two results, first is the unrest of innocence fans, that only know their franchise of power metal now gone, and the second is a welcoming fans who care to follow whenever the direction their fav metal band went to.

The second scenario is actually almost a myth, since it's mostly a minority. It's like marketing Pavarotti as a pop singer after the public known him as a classical singer. This review however only addressing the second situation as to review as the first point of view will mean a lamentation and criticism only. Stones Grow Her Name, fortunately is an interesting musical project. If its name under Tonny Kakko solo project I think the reception will much more positive. The first opener track Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful) is up. Yes, there still existed the very sort melodious intro, but it's far away from the bombastic symphonic and the short length song structure , short length of guitar solo, mean more straight forward, modern type of metal. Second song is the frontal confrontation to power metal, Shitload of Money is almost disco type drum beat. Strangely, these two earlier tracks need only few listening and the melody sink into consciousness, face it, you sing a long the chorus and its seem can't escape from your (metal) mind.

Third song, Losing My Insanity,  is the most familiar Sonata Arctica music. Don't get to happy because this is actually an old song, recorded before and Sonata Arctica doing a different version here. Somewhere Close To You, is again interesting song composition. Fit nicely to Sonata Arctica in full honestly. I Have A Right is a good ballad song but suffered from too much repetition. It's seem want you to remember its chorus forever. Alone in Heaven again , again a nice ballad full of emotion. But The Day seems odd without strong concept, and sound like a filler, again with too many repetition.

As we criticized The Day as too generic, get ready for surprise. Many reviewer take this song seriously, Cinderblox is actually a fun song. Just accept this as one of our folk metal song and its ok.  Don't Mean once again serve as a fun delaying moment, I just don't understand why this song needed to be recorded here. We then arrive to the point of more seriousness, Wildfire Part II and III, these two song give more musical adventure and is good as a climax to the album.

Personal review, the singer is still our beloved familiar voice. In fact, Tony's voice is what really saved this album from being not Sonata. The rest of the band put in creative works, the keyboard works take the most significant elements on this album.

So what we lost in this album, that is the familiar Reckoning Night era power metal. Fans of power metal is correct to lament this switch of direction by Sonata Arctica. While Stones Grow Her Name is by no mean a bad album, but deep inside, I really think and hope Sonata Arctica will back to full scale power metal and its symphonic passion.

Metal Harem class: ******* 7 stars out of 10

Sonata Arctica Stones Grow Her Name
2012 - buy it here

01. Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
02. Shitload Of Money
03. Losing My Insanity
04. Somewhere Close To You
05. I Have A Right
06. Alone In Heaven
07. The Day
08. Cinderblox
09. Don't Be Mean
10. Wildfire, Part: II - One With The Mountain
11. Wildfire, Part: III - Wildfire Town, Population: 0
12. Tonight I Dance Alone [digipak bonus]
13. One-Two-Free-Fall [Japanese bonus]

Guest artists

Cover Art of Stones Grow Her Name, already in psychedelic art design.

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