Sonata Arctica - Silence
Century Media
Melodic Speed Metal
14 songs (60'06 (Japan))
Release year: 2001
Sonata Arctica, Century Media
Reviewed by Chris
Album of the month

After a long waiting of a year and a half, the new Sonata Arctica arrived. Now I know exactly what question is in your mind : Is this new opus better than their fantastic debut album Ecliptica ? Difficult to say... honestly. It's maybe not as good as the first album, but let's face it, Ecliptica is amongst the best (if not the best) Melodic Speed Metal releases of the last 5 years.

What a hell of a record my friends !!! I remember vocalist Tony Kakko telling me he hoped he would be able to make a decent second album during our last interview. Be reassured, it's not only decent, it's an exceptional release, no doubts about that. Musically there's not much changes, they play fast, incredibly melodic Speed Metal in the vein of Stratovarius (a bit too much sometimes) with maybe a more mature songwriting. Tony's vocals are even more amazing than in Ecliptica (less accent as well). On the improvements list there's also the keyboards which are simply majestic and are partly responsible for Sonata's overall sound balance. My complain is that the album contains maybe too many ballads. Four to be precise for a total of 11 songs (10 new) : that's way too much, even if the very first ballad The End Of This Chapter is really impressive (what a song my friends !) just like Replica was. The other 3 are a bit more common (still good songs). There's also a remix of San Sebastian which was a new track released (last year) in the Successor MP. I prefer the original mix (basically only the keyboards is a bit different on this new version) but this version is very cool as well. The album ends on a long epic song (more than 9 minutes) à la Edguy called : The Power Of One which perfectly demonstrate the improvements done in matters of songwriting.

The Japanese version (released by Avalon June 21th) contains a bonus track (no kidding ?), and here is where I start to disagree... why ? Well, I don't mind the Japanese to have bonus tracks, they are fervent defenders of metal (so are we in Europe !), but why put one of the best song as a bonus ?? I believe that almost all live shows done in Europe (with Rhapsody & Stratovarius) were sold out and many people where there to support Sonata Arctica. So why not put one of the ballads (there are too many already) instead of this excellent song (simply the second best of the record after Wolf & Raven) called Respect The Wilderness ? So if you want it (and believe me you do) you will have to get your hands on a Japanese import (like I did), or wait the next single and hope it find its way there.

As for the packaging... yes, it's usually not very important, but I am amongst the people who think that it has its own degree of importance. Let's be honest, the artcover of Silence is not a good one. I prefer their computer generated landscapes in the previous releases than this cold, emotionless drawing. As for the booklet (the Japan version), it's also very weak design wise, simple pictures, dead colors...quite disappointing. That's too bad cause a top packaging would have enhanced the overall... next time.

An excellent second album that confirms the metal world that Sonata Arctica is a hell of a band and that their sole purpose is too deliver one of the best (if not the best) melodic Speed Metal around !! It took me a few spins to accept all the songs, and some are really amongst Sonata Arctica's bests. Congratulations, I honestly can't wait to listen to their next studio album... if possible make it with less ballads, other than this : carry on guys, you rock !

In Sonata Arctica I Trust !

Killing Songs :
Weballery, False News Travels Fast, The End Of This Chapter, Black Sheep, Wolf & Raven & Respect The Wilderness (Japan release bonus track) and The Power Of One.
Chris quoted 93 / 100
Aleksie quoted 90 / 100
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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