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Sonata Arctica: Stones Grow Her Name

Stones Grow Her Name is not a return to their earlier style but has Sonata Arctica churning out more surprises, since the excellent Reckoning Night this Finnish band have been much more adventurous delivering mixed results as they became more progressive in style. Of course this has caused the usual arguments between fans as to whether it is for the better. I do find myself in the middle not totally sold on all their newer material but I find I am still enjoying a lot of what this band releases. They really aren't the easiest band to classify anymore being way more diverse than in their earlier days.

Sonata Arctica haven't totally ditched that former sound but the pace of their songs has been cut back for the most part. So that style of catchy and rapid metal tracks like "Wolf and Raven" and "The Cage" are sadly now absent, the band have also gone through some line-up changes since then but there is still no mistaking who you are listening to. Tony Kakko still has a wonderful voice and backed up capably by the rest of his SA band mates.

Stone Grow Her Name is a sample first CD for fans of early Sonata Arctica , as with the last two releases Unia and Days Of Grays some tracks will leap out and instantly draw you in. Such as the melodic opener "Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)" while others are quite different and may take time like "Cinderblox" if anyone's looking for some vibrant hillbilly country style rocking/metal it's right here and as unusual as this sounds it works. "Shitload Of Money" starts out strong but it does drag on too long while the upbeat "Losing My Insanity" has that catchy SA feel that would fit well on any of their releases. The very good "I Have A Right" is hard not to like and is probably the most memorable song on Stone Grow Her Name. The somewhat lengthy atmospheric tracks 10 and 11 are a continuation of the story as told on "Wildfire" from the album Reckoning Night and they make for two interesting songs with a mixture of styles once again.

I've had this for a while now and as yet haven't been compelled to revisit Stones Grow Her Name as much as say a release like Silence, though that's not to say it's a bad CD. I just find there are other releases in past months I like more, so in time maybe I'll go back to this more. Sonata Arctica have moved on musically and in doing so probably have many of those fans who prefer their music to be more predictable and straightforward, but I'm still hanging in there.


Track list:
1. Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful)
2. Shitload Of Money
3. Losing My Insanity
4. Somewhere Close To You
5. I Have A Right
6. Alone In Heaven
7. The Day
8. Cinderblox
9. Don't Be Mean
10. Wildfire, Part 2: One With The Mountain
11. Wildfire, Part 3: Wildfire Town, Population
12. Tonight I Dance Alone (Bonus Track)

Added: August 4th 2012
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Score:
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1169
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sonata Arctica: Stones Grow Her Name
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2012-08-04 06:11:03
My Score:

Hard to believe that this is the same band that recorded Reckoning Night and Winterheart's Guild. Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've never fully jumped on the bandwagon of this Finnish band like so many others have since they burst on the scene back in 1999. For me, their early material was too similar to the Stratovarius sound-speedy power metal with over the top vocals and keyboards. It's a style that has been done to death, and despite Sonata Arctica's polish and ability to create catchy melodies, their stuff just never quite clicked with me. Unia and Days of Grays saw the band dive into more progressive waters, and this is where their music began to interest me, but with this latest Stones Grow Her Name the band has seemingly dropped the power metal and dropped the progressive metal, instead delivering what can mostly be seen as a pure pop album. Yes, there are a few catchy tunes here; "Shitload of Money" is a lot of fun, and "The Day" is a nice, hook laden ballad, but there are way too many misses on this one, such as the country/bluegrass tinged "Cinderblox", the crooning love song "Don't Be Mean", and the nu-metal "Somewhere Close to You", just to name a few.

Not sure who Sonata Arctica are trying to reach out to here, as I can't imagine too many longtime fans being overly happy with what's on display on Stones Grow Her Name. Gone is the speedy power metal, gone are the soaring musical passages, and Tony Kakko is trying way too much vocally, with not a lot of it working. It amounts to a big missfire, and it will be interesting to see how the band recovers from this one.



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