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SONATA ARCTICA Talviyö

By Nathan Dufour, Great White North
Thursday, October 24, 2019 @ 8:58 AM


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SONATA ARCTICA
Talviyö

2019, Nuclear Blast




I have a difficult relationship with SONATA ARCTICA, finding them to be at turns brilliant and baffling and then careening into just plain awkward. Unia is one of my favourite albums, ever, in spite of it basically splitting the fanbase between those who lusted at the altar of the speedy more purely Power Metal of Ecliptica (and let’s be real here, “Full Moon” is an absolute rager and a great tale) and the more progressive leanings the intervening albums were always inching towards. And then, after Unia, weird things happened. “Shitload of Money” happened. I gave up for years, lackadaisically buying a new album here or there and making sure to see the band live when I could, but basically resigning myself to the fact that a band I fell in love with would never put out something that hit as many buttons at once as Unia.

Talviyö is the album I have been wanting SONATA ARCTICA to make, as a fan, for at least the last two album cycles. Leaning back into Power Metal, “Message From The Sun” is a great way to start the album and should not be seen as merely pandering nor as an indication of the overall sound of the album. It’s just a damn good song. This time around, the idea was to capture the live sound of the band which meant recording in a more traditional manner (people in a room playing together - who would have thought?) and that ethos shines through on each track. The awkward phrasing, both lyrically and musically, that bogged down SONATA ARCTICA in the past is basically gone and in this newest iteration of the band (and its evolving sound) everything just works. Oh, and the Caleb storyline continues, if you’re interested.

Critically I have seen fair to middling reviews of Talviyö, and I don’t quite understand. It’s almost as though some people are just hating on SONATA ARCTICA for, well, being exactly what they are. The band isn’t trve srs bsns, kids, and are almost completely saccharine. They melt in the rain and they always have. Talviyö is the most complete collection of songs from the band in years. It’s fun to listen to and they have a knack for earworms. And, at the end of the day, listening to music should be fun. Smile, it doesn’t hurt.

Also, songs about wolves are back in fashion.

3.75 Out Of 5.0


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