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Sonata Arctica - The Collection.
The Collection is a greatest hits collection from Sonata Arctica. All the songs on this album are top notch and I can find little to complain about. It was released at the end of 2006 and came with a DVD, which I have not reviewed, sorry, but I'm not good at reviewing music videos. The DVD comes with the WOLF AND RAVEN music video and two live performances - THE CAGE and KINGDOM FOR A HEART.
THE RUINS OF MY LIFE is fast paced with powerful melody and drums. The song is about a man who fights for his master in order to keep the girl who he loves alive. Unfortunately the master betrays him. A great start to the album with a meaningful song, but what do you expect from a greatest hits CD. A definite hit originally off the Winterhearts Guild Album.
8TH COMMANDMENT begins with a great riff and some nice drumming. The song is fast paced with a powerful melody. To me the song seems to be about someone who has died and gone to hell for the sins of their lives. This is a great song that really follows on from THE RUINS OF MY LIFE masterfully. A great song from the Ecliptica Album.
Next up is the fifth track from the Reckoning Night album. DON'T SAY A WORD. A rather tastefully done track about wanting to kill a girl, so as to be free form loving her when he knows he shouldn't. This definitely deserves to be on the album with its dark melody and powerful beat.
VICTORIA'S SECRET follows on with a much more up beat sound to it. Seemingly about a girl (Victoria no doubt) who has just escaped the shackles of depression, never to return. A feel good track with a great melody. Another track that defiantly deserves to be here.
TALLULAH is the next track, a sad song about losing the girl he loves and begging for another chance. I love this song although I have seen others say they hate it. The melody is just so powerful and you can feel the emotion being put into the song.
WOLF AND RAVEN is a magnificently dark track with heavy drums. I love it completely. The lyrics are great, if a little hard to hear. It is about a guy who wants to be free from his master and so kills his king. The master won't free him and so he develops a deep hatred for him. This is definitely deserving of its place on the greatest hits album.
BLACK SHEEP is a great, heavy and fast paced track. It appears to be about a were-wolf miller who loves a girl. The song is lost on me, but I love to hear it. I wouldn't have said it was one of their best though...
BROKEN is an epic song "I might be a god" are class lyrics. The entire chorus is amazing. It is a pretty dark song but should be on all MP3 players in my opinion.
KINGDOM FOR A HEART is the next track and has a fast melody and great drum use. It is about a man who is about to die, but the people around him keep asking him to help. He would give anything, even a kingdom if he had one, for one more day, or a heart. This makes me think he is dying from a heart condition. Actually due to some of the later verses suggest he is not dying, but just wants to have a heart so he can fall in love. I find this song a little weak, I don't know why but it just doesn't sit well with me. I really think it should have been left off the album
"Running away from it all" some amazing lyrics are used in this song. You can tell that the band really 'feel' this track. FULL MOON is defiantly belonging here. I mean who doesn't want to hear the story of a were-wolfs relationship with a woman he ends up killing? Epic to the max!!!
MY LAND begins with an awesome intro. The melody is captivating and the drums are brilliant. The song in itself is about a guy who has been kicked out of his home land. He feels that this is unjust and so returns in the future to reclaim it. The vocals are powerful and I feel that this is one of the best songs on the album. Woop!!!
THE CAGE is a song based around wolves. I love this song and it is defiantly one of my favorites and makes me want to throw off my own shackles, which would actually be quite a bad idea so I don't. The melody is uplifting and fast paced. Told from the wolf's point of view, it tells of its wishes to escape its cage. The last verse is a threat to the humans who have trapped the wolf. A magnificent song that is very happy here.
LAST DROP FALLS is a truly awe-inspiring song. It is about a guy who is in love with a woman who is just using him for her own devises. The melody reaches into me and attempts a strangle hold. The lyrics bite into you and anchor the songs place in this best of album. Magical.
UNOPENED is the next track. The beat and melody are instantly recognizable. The song is once more fast paced and wonderful. The sort of song you could listen to over and over. It is about a person who keeps getting letters from someone they had a relationship with at one point, but too much time has passed so they refuse to open it in case they missed out on something good.
SAN SABASTIAN is a speedy little number that really lifts your spirits. It is about a guy who has fallen for San Sebastian's daughter who was too hot to handle. He wishes he had not spent all his life pining after her. A great song and truly deserves to be here.
AIN'T YOUR FAIRY TALE is a magical 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. It is a fast paced song with wonderful lyrics that go right through me. Extremely powerful power metal.
REPLICA comes next. A magnificent song with powerful lyrics. It is about how war changes all of us, especially those directly involved. The man the song is about has been completely destroyed by the war, being unable to even remember Christmas, something that I always remember. The melody is slightly haunting, kind of like the music you would expect at the end of a horror movie. It is a nice slow song that I have kept on my MP3 player since first hearing it on Ecliptica.
This is defiantly the best of Sonata Arctica. The songs on this album are not necessarily what I would have chosen, but you can see that it is a well rounded album of tracks that different people would all consider to be the best. There are songs from each of their albums that they had released at that time. I personally think that they should have included WHITE PEARL BLACK OCEAN, but that is a minor fault, if one at all.
A definite recommend.
An Evil Sam review.
Sonata Arctica is a power metal band hailing from Finland. In one decade, they have managed to produce 4 albums (up to 2006), 2 compilations and a DVD. In 2005, they also released a compilation called The End of this Chapter, then a year later, they release this CD. Why, I wonder. Perhaps the songs on the previous compilation wasn't enough to satisfy the fans so they made another one, or distro label wanted to line their pockets further.
This CD compromises of songs from all the albums pre-2006. There are two songs that have been re-made but all other songs remain untouched; it is for this reason why it isn't suitable for big fans of Sonata Arctica, they may have already got other albums that contains these songs anyway.
The track list are as follows;
01. The Ruins Of My Life
02. 8th Commandment
03. Don't Say A Word
04. Victoria's Secret
06. Wolf & Raven
07. Black Sheep
09. Kingdom For A Heart
11. My Land [2006 re-make]
12. The Cage
13. Last Drop Falls
15. San Sebastian [Revisited]
16. Ain't Your Fairytale
17. Replica [2006 re-make]
I am not too sure if the songs have been carefully chosen to showcase the band's songs, as most of the songs actually comes from the first and second album of Eplictica and Silence. Eplictica was a very good album, I held it in a high regard; perhaps one of the best 'flower metal' album produced in the last decade. 8th Commandment, Replica, FullMoon, Unopened and Kingdom for a Heart was taken from Eplictica, not the best songs chosen but they can't please everyone! What I didn't like what they did with the song of Replica and My Land; they made new versions which in my eyes, ruined the songs forever and shouldn't have been put on the CD at all.
However, the selection from the second album of Silence; was well-thought, more suitable for the newcomers who may pick up the CD as it really shows Sonata Arctica's talents at creating moody but yet heavy songs. The songs as follows are; San Sebastian [Revisited], Black Sheep, Wolf & Raven and Tallulah. Fantastic songs displayed from that album; they are all mid-paced songs that are incredibly catchy.
Now, the third album; Winterheart's Guild. It is a lot of people's favourite album so it couldn't be hard to pick few good songs from this album, right? Which is why I was disappointed to see they have not done so. What I could not comprehend was the fact WHY they chose to put Victoria's Secret; it does nothing for me as a song at all. Utterly useless waste of space on the CD! But the other songs chosen were the Cage. Which is 'alright'. I would have suggested other songs.
Hang on, isn't this too many songs mentioned already when we've still got Reckoning Night to discuss? ....Well, the label decided not to put any of the songs from Reckoning Night; for some unknown reason. So basically, the title is misleading, it is not the works from 1999 to 2006, it is actually 1999-2003, which would mislead a lot of customers who might believe this album would also include songs from Reckoning Night.
The album art is quite striking again; Sonata Arctica is quite consistent in their album style; it always displays a feel of winter (not surprising seeing they come from Finland.) mixed with poignancy (If that's the right word?). The booklet still contains the same style as before, I always love looking at the pictures as I listen to my music so I can really get into the imagery.
In summary, I would suggest that this CD is only for newcomers to this band; definitely not suitable for fans who already have purchased Sonata Arctica's other albums; they will feel that this release is very poor in comparison as the selection of songs does nothing for Sonata Arctica! The remakes that SA have done has lowered the respect I had for them; they should realise the greatness of their songs and not interfere with them.
Thank you for reading.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 The Ruins Of My Life
2 8th Commandment
3 Don't Say A Word
4 Victoria's Secret
6 Wolf & Raven
7 Black Sheep
9 Kingdom For A Heart
11 My Land (2006 re-make)
12 The Cage
13 Last Drop Falls
15 San Sebastian (Revisited)
16 Ain't Your Fairytale
17 Replica (2006 re-make)
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 Wolf & Raven (promo clip)
2 8th Commandment (live in Tavastia 2004)
3 My Land (live in Tavastia 2004)
6 Kingdom For A Heart
7 Sing In Silence
8 False News Travel Fast
9 Last Drop Falls
10 Respect The Wilderness
12 The End Of This Chapter
14 My Land
15 Black Sheep
16 Wolf & Raven
17 Still Loving You (Scorpions cover)
18 I Want Out (Helloween cover)
19 San Sebastian