I am always dubious and with good reason as many a time I felt let down when a band is supposedly going to return to more of that "old style", like Sonata Arctica were said to be on this their new album Pariah's Child. I have remained a fan since their excellent melodic power metal debut though with less enthusiasm since the release of Unia and the two albums that followed especially the last Stones Grow Her Name. While Reckoning Night was the last Sonata release which I totally enjoyed has this latest release changed that view?
I can answer that by confirming that Pariah's Child is indeed their best work since Reckoning Night. You have to be realistic with your expectations as the band has changed in both line-up and approach, but they have still managed to incorporate a more balanced approach this time that should go a long way to appease and unite the fans of both the early and later styles of Sonata Arctica.
To the mid paced "The Wolves Die Young" and yes Sonata Arctica sure seem to like their wolf inspired themes, Tony Kakko's vocal's remain so appealing and the music is also, "Running Light's" is varied in tempo being quite the upbeat power metal number with the combined vocals still being one of Sonata Arctica's strengths, coupled with a brief but smoking keyboard/guitar and you can't go wrong. "Take One Breath" is a more adventurous and quite a busy number, returning to that vibrant melodic power metal on "Cloud Factory".
While Sonata Arctica have many riveting turbo charged tunes in their back catalogue, there are also those that equally as enthralling while not hitting the redline. "Blood" and "What Did You Do In The War, Dad?" are great examples of this. "X Marks The Spot" is the "out there" track of the album as Sonata Arctica are in fun mode, "Larger Than Life" brings the closure to this album in fine form when Sonata Arctica perform their longest and one of the most varied and enthralling songs of the album like Sonata Arctica meets Queen, and the orchestration works so well.
So Sonata Arctica has reaffirmed my faith in their ability to still record the kind of album that I want to hear from them, their eighth full-length studio release Pariah's Child reminds me of why I was so fond of this band from the start.
1. The Wolves Die Young
2. Running Lights
3. Take One Breath
4. Cloud Factory
6. What Did You Do In The War, Dad?
7. Half A Marathon Man
8. X Marks The Spot
10. Larger Than Life