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Sonata Arctica: Ecliptica - Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition

Ecliptica remains one of the best melodic power metal debuts and one that I still do enjoy a great deal, recorded by the Finnish group Sonata Arctica some fifteen years ago. The band have now re-recorded this album with their current line-up, only two members of which appeared on the original, that is vocalist Tony Kakko and drummer Tommy Portimo. A move that is sure to give long term Sonata Arctica fans mixed feelings much like their releases since the excellent Reckoning Night. Honestly I was not over the moon when first reading about this release, as I really didn't see the point or any need for a new version of Ecliptica when the original remains just fine as it is. This may be a worthwhile exercise if Ecliptica had been released with ordinary sound quality or the songs were well below par, which was not the case on both counts.

So after listening to Ecliptica Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition has my opinion changed? If you have the original I really find this to be a non essential purchase, and myself I still prefer the version they debuted with. Yes Sonata Arctica does have years of experience behind them in comparison and their performances are impressive as they were on the original. Vocalist Tony Kakko's English pronunciation has improved but a large part of the originals appeal was the fact that back then they were a new band, and any slight vocal imperfections added to its charm. There's also a cover of the Genesis song "I Can't Dance" which sounds so far out of place on such a metal album it's not funny, and was hardly one of Genesis's best numbers to begin with. The Japanese version of Ecliptica Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition has the lively metal track "I'm Haunted" instead which is far more suited. I have decided not to give this album a rating as the original to me is a 4.5/5. But this new take just still seems completely pointless, and I don't want to mark down a classic that features so many addictive songs like "Blank File", "Full Moon", "Replica" and "UnOpened".

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Blank File
2. My Land
3. 8th Commandment
4. Replica
5. Kingdom For A Heart
6. Fullmoon
7. Letter To Dana
8. UnOpened
9. Picturing The Past
10. Destruction Preventer
11. I Can't Dance (Bonus Track)

Added: November 1st 2014
Reviewer: Scott Jessup
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2892
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sonata Arctica: Ecliptica - Revisited: 15th Anniversary Edition
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-11-01 07:12:41
My Score:

OK, I'll admit, I've never actually heard the original Ecliptica, the 1999 debut album from power metal darlings Sonata Arctica. To my ears, this bands material has been rather spotty at best, and their music just has never clicked with me enough to dip that far back in their discography. So that brings us to this 2014 re-recording of the debut album with the current line-up of Sonata Arctica, as only 2 of the members were actually in the band back on that debut. Seems to be a trend these days right, re-recording old songs and albums by bands that have been around the block a bit? Well, if you are someone who perhaps hasn't heard the original material (like myself), it's a fresh take on classic material that is now being heard for the first time. Does it work here? Sure. All the Sonata Arctica elements are clearly on display; upbeat, melodic vocals, a wealth of symphonic keyboards, chugging riffs, and galloping rhythms. Many of these songs are quite memorable and strong, such as "My Land", the soaring "Fullmoon", the raging "My Commandment", and of course the blazing "Picturing the Past".

The thing is, if you are more than happy with the original debut, I'm not sure how much extra mileage you are going to get out of this revisit, but the current line-up of the band gets a lot of love, so perhaps I'm underestimating the appeal here. For me, this is solid Sonata Arctica, progressive in spots, pretty heavy in others, though much of what's on display once again falls into that 'happy power metal' realm that's always rubbed me the wrong way, but that's just my issue. Otherwise, not much to fault here, good production, good playing, solid songs. If you've never heard Ecliptica and want to check out how the band as it is today has recreated it, this will be worth checking into. If you treasure the original, take a pass or a curious listen...your choice.

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