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Reckoning Night is the fourth studio album from power metal band Sonata Arctica. Known for their fast guitar and keyboard work, this album is very much typical Sonata Arctica style, however, they do explore slower and calmer areas a bit in this album too.
Opening with a very typical Sonata Arctica track, 'Misplaced' the guitars and keyboard riffing together. The thick and rich textures coming through particularly in the vocals that soar above the accompanying band. With key changes that add a more sinister touch and the usual keyboard/guitar solo this makes an excellent Sonata Arctica song, with a great catchy chorus you just want to sing along to.
Things slow down a little for second track 'Blinded No More' with the guitar proving a more simplistic accompaniment whilst the vocals carry the majority of the melody in the song, that said, the guitar is given it's moment to leave its mark whilst the vocals convey their somewhat more emotional, yet still slightly dark words.
'Ain't Your Fairytale' speeds things back up again and is very much in every way you're typical Sonata Arctica song, fast, rich keyboard chords along with the faster guitar and keyboard work, with lots of vocal layers all moving really rather quickly with the lyrics actually being slightly dark, not that you'd guess by the somewhat upbeat vocal melody!
'Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night' is a calm, quieter and sinister sounding piano and keyboards prelude to 'Don't Say A Word' which is of a series of songs which follow a story of a stalker that first appears on 'Silence' in the form of 'The End of This Chapter' and continues on 'Unia' in the form of 'Caleb'. With slightly aggressive and dark lyrics matched up with the keyboard undertones and sharp guitar riffs.
'The Boy Who Wanted to be a Real Puppet' is probably my least favourite song of the album as whilst it isn't be any means the longest song of the album it feels like it drags on a bit. Telling a dark story that once again doesn't sound as sinister as the lyrics due to the lighter nature of the melodies that said, as the song progresses it does gain a darker sound.
'My Selene' has a powerful, memorable melody that comes through in both the guitar and vocal lines with more romantic and far less sinister lyric content! I'd say it's songs like this that have led to the odd reference to Sonata Arctica being 'flower metal'!
'Wildfire' has a spoken word opening, which typically can be hit and miss with any band, here it works really quite well a dark introduction to another dark song, lots of fast sparkly sounding keyboard parts overlapping the heavier guitar work that makes for another great song.
The real epic track of the album though, is 'White Pearl, Black Oceans', clocking in at a little under nine minutes, taking all sort of twists and turns melodically, from sensitive, calmer moments to those sharper and powerful refrains. This song is like a summation of the entire feel of 'Reckoning Night' echoing the general tone of the entire album perfectly.
The album closes off with 'Shamandalie', a story of broken love, the acoustic guitar and piano working together to create a more expressive experience, contrasting with altogether more defined and striking passages. A beautiful and moving song, yet whether it was the best choice for the albums closer I'm not entirely sure. A great track nonetheless.
A fantastic album overall, very much in Sonata Arctica style, whilst the very fast guitars don't play as big a part on this album as they do on 'Silence; this album still does their style of power metal very well!
Reckoning Night- Sonata Arctica
Tony Kakko - Vocals
Jani Liimatainen - Guitars
Marko Paasikoski - Bass
Henrik Klingenberg - Keyboards
Tommy Portimo - Drums
Sonata Arctica once again offers a strong flower metal album where the keyboard is a main instrument along the guitars; giving the melodic feel of the album; incredibly catchy songs and fantastic lyrics. The band has gone further in their direction in making this a more emotional and darker album; with instrumentals seemingly more complex than the predecessors. It is pretty damn cheesy when reading the lyrics on its own but as soon as the music plays, it becomes a serious piece of music that takes your attention, no matter how cheesy it is!
There is honestly nothing much to criticise in this album; clocking in over an hour; you do get to hear a wide range of songs from catchy short songs from mind-numbing touching epics, you cannot get bored of listening to this album. The best thing about this album is the consistency of it: there's no filler or bad songs on this album, every song is equally as good as each other, though some are much more excellent.
2. Blinded No More.
3. Ain't your Fairytale
4. Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night...
5. Don't say a Word
6. The Boy who wanted to be a Puppet
7. My Selene
9. White Pearls, Black Oceans
Misplaced is a great fast and catchy song that opens up the album; it has a rather memorable chorus. The band has gone further in their style, and has added a much thicker sound to the song overall; with a more of a chugging quality. This really completes the song overall.
' Blinded No More' and ' Ain't your Fairytale' are the weakest songs on the album mainly due to the blandness of the songs; both has not got any redeeming qualities; the former has a rather slow tempo that isn't in line with the tempo/tone rest of the album but has still pretty dark and broody lyrics. The latter is a good song but lacks any definition in its chorus and doesn't seem to be that memorable.
'Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night...' is easily one of the best instrumentals that Sonata Arctica has done; clocking in at 3 minutes 21 seconds, expertly showing the band's ability in telling a story in a song without the needs for words successfully. One thing that lets this song down that it follows after 'Blinded No More' and 'Ain't your Fairytale' which are rather weak songs in comparison to the rest of the album; good in their own right though.
'Don't Say A Word' is where things becomes much more dramatic, the lyrics gets a lot darker; there is a nice set of melody in this song making it catchy somehow and it is pretty fast. There's some nice riffs inserted in between the almost-emotional lyrics.
'The Boy Who Wanted to be A Puppet' this is a nice take on the story of Pinocchio; albeit in a darker and grim way.
'My Selene' is where they begin to get more varied; this was penned by Jani, the keyboardist, who wrote it for his love. The lyrics are almost gothic style in nature but with true power metal style, it actually becomes a pretty good song in the collection.
Next we have ' Wildfire', a pretty speedy and heavy song with wonderful but unique style of melody that is also prevalent in 'Don't Say a Word', the lyrics are also pretty cool as well; about a crazy madman who sets the town on fire. It is probably the most evillest sounding song that Sonata Arctica has created.
This album contains one of the best power metal epic songs ever in my opinion: 'White Peals, Black Oceans'. You will either love it or hate it; either way it will be stuck in your head for weeks. It is unbelievably catchy despite the length of the song and lyrics! It features an incredible wide range of tone and tempo throughout the song; fast, slow, mid-tempo, this song has it! Kakko has written the lyrics for this song so wonderfully; the emotions from Kakko seeps through the lyrics and it is pretty touching while listening to this. The vocalist Nik Van-Eckmann who takes part in this song plays his part wonderfully, he adds the final touches to the song which makes it even more complete than it is.
As Sonata Arctica ties up all the loose ends, they end the album with this sombre and slow ballad of 'Shamandalie', unfortunately this song is a hit and miss; I find it to be less worthy when compared to other ballads like Tallulah from Silence. I realised that there was more to the title than I realised; it can be broken up into 'Sham and a lie', I thought this was a pretty cool idea to do.
The drumming by Portimo really lets the album down; his unoriginal and repetitive drumming does nothing for the album; it's just there in the background. One might mistake it for a drum machine that has no personality.
This album almost vanquishes any speck of rumour that Sonata Arctica's out of ideas after 3 albums, they have shown they are still full of creativity! Kakko also has shown that his lyrical style is very consistent and is increasing in ability to evoke emotion as each album is released; his lyrics are one of the most meaningful lyrics in metal still. The band is progressing in a direction where it only can get darker and more depressing. I for one, am looking forward to checking out their new album Unia.
Sonata Arctica - Reckoning Night.
Another great album by the amazing Sonata Arctica. This album contains some awe inspiring tracks such as "Ain't Your Fairytale", "Wildfire" and "White Pearl, Black Oceans..."
As with all Sonata Arctica albums, the songs tell a story, and each song is like a chapter in a book, albeit a strange book written by a mad man lol.
The front cover depicts a ship going through rough waters with the waves personified as wolves, a strong symbol that is Sonata Arctica's symbol. There is also a lighthouse in the background with no light. This is a reference to the 9th track on the album "White Pearl, Black Ocean". The back cover and inside depict a puppet, referring to the epic "The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet".
The first track is "misplaced", which is fast paced and makes you want to dance. The vocals make you think it is a dark song even if you are not listening to the lyrics. The song is about a man who feels 'misplaced'. He doesn't fit in and wishes he could go back in time and realizes he is in a dream land. He ends up thinking something is really wrong with him.
The second track is called "Blinded No More". This is another love song about being used by a woman. I can't help thinking that the singer may have had some bad relationships in the past as this is a recurring theme in Sonata Arctica songs. It is slower and not as dark, with a sad melody.
"Ain't Your Fairy tale" is a great song. It describes the war between the humans and wolves from the wolves' perspective. It is sung in the style of an old wolf telling young wolves the history of the pack. A fast paced song with wonderful lyrics that, for some reason, make me feel proud. I have literally no idea why as it has nothing to do with me in subject, or my way of life but whatever. Extremely powerful power metal.
"Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night" is a slow song which is an instrumental. It puts to mind the feeling of creeping though an enemy forest. The end gathers ticking which is then continued in "Don't Say A Word"
"Don't Say A Word" is another dark fast paced song. This is the first Sonata Arctica song that I heard containing a swear word. Well, not really a swear, more a rather nasty insult. It is about a woman who has a 'strangle hold' on his heart, and so he decides to kill her. Well that is my take on it any way. It is done very tastefully and no murder actually takes place in the song.
"The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet" is an incredibly dark song about a boy who becomes fascinated with a puppeteers doll. He wishes to buy it, but the puppeteer refuses. The boy threatens to kill the man and then the boy becomes a puppet. He realizes his mistake, but the puppeteer refuses to turn him back. It is a sad slow song that truly tells a great if creepy story. The melody is enchanting.
"My Selene" has a lighter melody and is relatively fast paced. Another love song but once again, if you listen to the lyrics, it is a sad love song about a man who has fallen for a girl in his dreams. Its got a happy melody with the feel of hope.
"Wildfire" was the first Sonata song I ever heard. The beginning is a very cheesy talk followed by the heaviest melody in a song they have ever done. It's about a man who gets blamed for everything so decides to set his town on fire and run away. He comes across as a crazy person with a dual personality. A funny song if you like dark humor and the closest to a screamer song that Sonata Arctica have done.
"White Pearl Black Ocean" is about a lonely lighthouse worker who decides to go into town one day and meets a girl, sleeps with her and forgets to turn on the lighthouse. It turns out the White Pearl crashed and all aboard died due to his night of passion. The song is slow and filled with guilt. A large section is dedicated to whether or not he should jump off the top of his tower. So another dark song then.
"Shamandelie" is a slow sad song. I have no idea what they are going on about in this song. Im sorry. Its a nice song to listen to but when I try to understand the story behind it I get a bad headache.
I loved this album. "White Pearl Black Oceans..." and "The Boy Who Wanted To Be A Real Puppet" are two of the best story songs I have ever heard, and I love "This Ain't Your Fairy Tale".
Another great album by a band that rocks my socks. Love all the tracks on it and I definitely recommend it to all lovers of music.
An Evil Sam Review
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Blinded No More
3 Ain't Your Fairytale
4 Reckoning Day, Reckoning Night
5 Don't Say a Word
6 Boy Who Wanted to Be a Real Puppet
7 My Selene
9 White Pearl Black Oceans...