Sonata Arctica - Songs of Silence Live in Tokyo
Melodic Speed Metal
Disc 1: 14 songs (69:50) Disc 2: 3 songs (12:57)
Release year: 2002
Sonata Arctica
Reviewed by Ben

Sonata Arctica finally releases their first official live album. With only two full lengths and 2 EPS under their belt one might think that it is a little premature for a live cd and to some extent I agree. I prefer it when live albums are made after five or so studio releases and the artist draws upon the best of their material to present in the live format. Well despite this, Sonata performs a tight set that revolves around Ecliptica and Silence. Songs of Silence is a very professional and well produced album. Some people feel that Spinefarm just rushed this release to capitalize on the band's success but upon hearing it, that is obviously not the case. It is evident alot of time and care went into this.

The disc starts off with the standard taped intro, a mix of the male voice on The End of This Chapter and the Millenium theme. After the intro the band starts the show with the energetic Weballergy. Its as good an opener for this concert as it was on Silence. One thing thats evident right from the start is this band is as tight and proficient live as they are in the studio. Something I noticed though is that during the chorus to Weballergy Tony's voice sounds a bit strained, like he's struggling to hit the notes. It doesn't sound horrible or anything but slightly detracts from the song. Next up is Kingdom for a Heart, sounds like the version heard on the Succesor EP but with better production. Third track, Sing in Silence slows the pace down and sounds strange live as the drums hit hard over the soft intro. From here on out Sonata alternate between the fast speedy numbers like Respect the Wilderness, The Power of One, and Fullmoon and the slower, midtempo Replica, The End of This Chapter, and Last Drop Falls. All the songs are played well and pretty much like they are in the studio. It all ends with a triple shot of My Land, Black Sheep, and Wolf and Raven. This should be the highlight of the cd to everyone but it isn't.....

There had to be a bad side to the performance and here it is. Two tracks which should kick my ass don't. My Land is played much slower and just seems to crawl along and go nowhere and Tony's voice sounds totally shot on Wolf and Raven. I can understand that his voice wouldn't sound crystal clear I mean no one's would after singing for 90-120 min in a live setting and whatnot but it just sounds really BAD and he plows through the song and instead of hitting the high notes he opts to growl instead. One of their best songs ever and its ruined by the awful vocals. Oh and by the way, where in the hell is Unopened?!?!?!?!?? How could Sonata NOT play this song at every show? This album is sorely lacking because of this atrocity alone.(according to me that is, I'm the one doing the review. I would have also liked San Sebastian and I Want Out to be included but you can't have everything ;))

The Japanese version of Songs of Silence contains a bonus disc with three tracks, live renditions of Blank File and Land of the Free, and the b-side to the Wolf and Raven single released last year, Peacemaker. Nothing too stellar about the live tracks, they're just nice to have and Peacemaker sounds just as good as it did last year.

In the end Songs of Silence is a definite purchase if you are a die-hard fan (especially this version, I got it in April and paid Japanses import prices just so I could have the bonus disc and to have it before the July Euro release date), but the casual Sonata listener most likely will prefer the studio albums.. While it is well produced and flawlessy played nothing really jumps out at you and gets your attention. After the first couple of spins you could listen to half of the cd and not even realize it. Essential for diehards but if you're a Sonata newbie, pick up Ecliptica and Silence first.

Killing Songs :
Power of One (just glad to hear it live),Replica and Full Moon
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by Sonata Arctica that we have reviewed:
Sonata Arctica - The Ninth Hour reviewed by Jared and quoted 70 / 100
Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child reviewed by Joel and quoted 85 / 100
Sonata Arctica - Stones Grow Her Name reviewed by Cory and quoted 71 / 100
Sonata Arctica - The Days Of Grays reviewed by Elias and quoted 95 / 100
Sonata Arctica - Unia reviewed by Chris and quoted 55 / 100
To see all 15 reviews click here
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