Sonata Arctica continues with the process of shifting towards a different sound that begun on their albums Unia (2007) and The Days Of Grace (2009). This year they present their 7th studio album Stones Grow Her Name. For many change or shifting is not easy to assimilate, at least not from a band with a powerful image like Sonata Arctica that along their fellow countryman of Stratovarius dominated the power metal scene back in the 90’s and early 2000’s. But we have seen how bands changed their sound and evolved to a different thing like Edguy or Hammerfall.
Stones Grow Her Name is by far the softer album Sonata Arctica have ever done. Some tracks like Somewhere Close To You, Wildfire Part III Wildfire Town Population 0 and Only The Broken Hearts are aggressive and power metal epic. Songs like Cinderblox, and Shitload O’ Money are more hard rock oriented, even thought the subject about prostitution made up for the style of these particular song, and the same case applies to their first single I Have A Right a great song about free thought and independence.
Don’t be mean, The Day, and Wilfire Part II – One With The Mountain are the softer songs of the album, a really great vocal work by Tony Kakko whose voice is Sonata Arctica‘s trademark, but that it could be exploited more if the songs were more fast and melodic. Alone In Heaven and Losing my Insanity are great songs musically speaking, and an example of the potential of Sonata Arctica to create good music. However they sound far apart from what the band is capable to create.
Stones Grow Her Name is another phase on Sonata Arctica‘s search for a new sound, It’s totally understandable that bands want to expand their musical horizon, but in these case I believe they have to look for the compass first. The album is good just not what a band like Sonata Arctica is really capable to do.
1. Only the Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful) 03:23
2. Shitload Of Money 04:52
3. Losing My Insanity 04:03
4. Somewhere Close To You 04:13
5. I Have a Right 04:48
6. Alone In Heaven 04:31
7. The Day 04:14
8. Cinderblox 04:03
9. Don’t Be Mean 03:17
10. Wildfire, Part: II – One With The Mountain 07:53
11. Wildfire, Part: III – Wildfire Town, Population: 0 08:00