Sonata Arctica in my opinion is one of the best finnish power metal bands out there, or perhaps I should rephrase and say, its one of the best power metal bands in the world. They were the first finnish metal bands I had ever listened to, and although over the two years that I have been acquainted with finnish metal, I have come across some great metal bands, Sonata Arctica remains that one that I will always hold above others.
I remember the first time I heard Sonata Arctica I sat speechless, my eyes wide. This band managed to convert me, one of those people who’d never dreamed they’d ever be into metal, into a metal fan all the way. In this sort of genre it is very easy for bands to blend together and start sounding the same. I may be a novice when it comes to metal, yet even I can tell the difference between Sonata Arctica and any other metal.
Believed to have drawn inspiration from the power metal band Stratovarius, this metal group has a sound of its own. In many ways they seem to echo the splendor of Nightwish, and pack a big punch of the theatricality that made Queen so famous. They manage to add their own twist to power metal,moulding it to their design and create the perfect fantasy and theatrical sound at the same time. They’re big, flashy and not afraid to dominate their songs with heavy guitar solos, mainly because it fits so well together.
What really appeals to me when it comes to this band is the fanfare that leaks into all their songs. This fanfare gives them a distinct personality-it allows them to explore avenues that many power metal bands have perhaps not ventured.Their ‘larger than life’ personality when it comes to music allows them to engage and captivate their audience, their symphonies are one of a kind, and you know from the beginning of the song that you’re in for one hell of a ride.
Sonata Arctica screams variety. You’ve got songs like Kingdom of A Heart and Wolf & Raven that fast paced, hard and heavy, characterized by Tony Kakko’s powerful voice accentuated with rapid fire guitar solos.
However, there are also songs like Shy and Replica that are comparatively slower, with Kakko’s voice sweeter, softer and more melancholic. The lack of instruments in one of my favorite songs, Shy, allows the listener to zone in and focus on the depth that is conveyed by the music.
The band structures everything so that in each of their songs a certain aspect gets to shine, be it the vocals, instruments, harmonies or all of them put together. They are spunky, individualistic and oh so catchy, constantly trying to better themselves or expose different facets of their musical persona. It is plain to see that defining the band just as plain old power metal band would be erroneous, for Sonata Arcticas musical prowess extends beyond just that. Theres a certain strangeness about them, an originality that resides only with their members, perhaps thats what makes them so special to me.