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Sonata Arctica - The Ninth Hour

Discussion in 'Power Quest' started by Power_Metal_Dom, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Power_Metal_Dom

    Power_Metal_Dom Epic Metaller

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    [​IMG]


    1. Closer to an Animal 05:25
    2. Life 05:06
    3. Fairytale 06:38
    4. We Are What We Are 05:25
    5. Till Death's Done Us Apart 06:06
    6. Among the Shooting Stars 04:10
    7. Rise a Night 04:28
    8. Fly, Navigate, Communicate 04:27
    9. Candle Lawns 04:32
    10. White Pearl, Black Oceans (Part II: By the Grace of the Ocean) 10:13
    11. On the Faultline (Closure to an Animal) 05:34
    12. Run to You (Bryan Adams cover) 03:34

    -----

    So, have we all heard it yet? Thoughts?
     
  2. Symphony

    Symphony PQ member

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    I've not heard it yet mate but I haven't followed the band closely for a number of years now to be fair
     
  3. 1928

    1928 Jack Nippleson

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    *takes a big swig of coffee*

    It'll take a few more listens to sink in and hopefully it will grow on me but this is the first Sonata Arctica album I've been disappointed by. Even the songs that try to have that soaring power metal vibe of old just meander with their melodies and fail to reach the heights they seem to want to go for. (Rise A Night, what is going on there? Everything is spot on but the lead guitar is just bumbling around.) Avantasia nails this every time Tobi writes a Kiske song (Wastelands, Shelter From The Rain, Ghostlights), Cain's Offering is absolutely crushing it (I Will Build You A Rome is a shining example), other bands are doing this far better. I bring those up because that seems to be the vibe they're going for but it misses the mark so hard.

    The rest of the album is not bad because it isn't old school power metal, it's because there's such a startling lack of energy and interesting musical parts. The guitar is relegated to a bland percussive chug even moreso than usual (didn't think that was possible after SGHN and PC). The drumming is boring as all get out. The bass is noticeable but the mix is annoying to hear, just like Pariah's Child. Tony's voice - doesn't even seem like he wants to try anymore.

    I'm sure it will grow on me in time - Sonata has never disappointed me in the past, until now - but currently I'm a bit sour on this one. Beautiful artwork, at least.
     
  4. Power_Metal_Dom

    Power_Metal_Dom Epic Metaller

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    I agree in part with you Mike. I'm currently chewing over Sonata Arctica and trying to salvage to the good bits. Sonata has a habit since Unia of initially sounding awful but then growing on you and sounding better until you love it. Trying to stay open minded for now. This did come out on my birthday so as a gift I'm making myself appreciate it :lol:

    That said I fully agree what this album is sorely missing is a shot of adrenaline instead of an album of ballads. At least a few shots here and there. They gave fan service with Pariah's Child by finding some room for more of their older, classic sound (uptempo, harpsichord-y fast arpeggios and runs with extended guitar solos, wolves, etc) and made it work SO wonderfully well with a blend of a maturer newer proggier Sonata sound. The more I think about it the more I think PC is a modern Sonata classic that could rub shoulders with Reckoning Night but I digress...

    I think they tried to inject a bit of that older sound into this new album but when you do get a break from the dreariness it comes across like they've been added as an afterthought, they don't really gel too well within the song IMO. I don't think Avantasia/Cain Offering was the precise vibe they were going for.

    Speaking of dreary, this is Sonata we're talking about so you expect that signature Finnish melancholy approach to songwriting but this album strives to be contemplative but ends up sounding pretty dull as a result.

    And it's strangely ironic because I actually think one of the most uplifting and motivational songs from Sonata are on this - Life - seriously check out those lyrics.

    So yeah, I need more time with it but there are some standout moments for sure it's just a little disappointing considering what the last album was.
     
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  5. 1928

    1928 Jack Nippleson

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    I don't know how Tony fucked up White Pearl, Black Oceans part 2 so badly. It's boring as hell, flat out. I'm all for respecting artistic vision, and I'm glad he wrote the song he wanted to, but what an utter disappointment. 10 minutes of him quietly crooning with not one catchy vocal melody in the whole thing; it is such a stark contrast to the powerhouse, speedy, monumental epic that is the original, with its triumphant chorus, haunting piano, trumpets that come shattering out of the darkness in the later choruses, it's a masterwork in power metal storytelling songwriting. Part 2 by contrast sounds like the passengers on the White Pearl itself, cold and dying. It's the musical equivalent of driftwood from a once grand vessel now drifting lifelessly along the water.

    Sounds harsh, but man, I cannot get into this. I really do not like how for several albums now it seems as if the guitars and drums are total afterthoughts, as if all the songs are written at a piano with a very bland melody and everything is put in afterwards and sounds like a demo.
     
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  6. Aish!

    Aish! -Аиш!

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    Brutal truth.
     
  7. Thematt202

    Thematt202 Member

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    There's some good stuff here, but i don't see much lasting power. They desperately need to step up the musicianship, as five minutes of chugging without so much as an embellishment gets old very quickly.

    I know that Tony isn't a fan of Dream Theater and the like, so perhaps this is his way of carving out a niche whilst still being somewhat progressive?
     

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