Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child review
|Release date:||March 2014|
01. The Wolves Die Young
02. Running Lights
03. Take One Breath
04. Cloud Factory
06. What Did You Do In The War, Dad?
07. Half A Marathon Man
08. X Marks The Spot
10. Larger Than Life
11. No Pain [Japanese bonus]
Sonata Arctica are back with a new album that, at least externally, relives the glory of the past times. A new album with the flavour of the old: old logo, old artwork style and old wolves' theme are back. What about the inside?
Let's just say that if you are one of those fans who would have only been satisfied with a new Ecliptica or something of that sort, feel free to stop reading this; you'll be disappointed. Pariah's Child isn't the album the fans expected, and is by no means a complete return to the band's classic style.
The last three albums have been testing ones for the band, and Pariah's Child is no exception. This said, let's admit the band has balls, since the guys surely know this will be an album that will undergo many harsh criticisms. Moreover, differently from the previous releases, this one doesn't feature a "Flag In The Ground" or a "Losing My Insanity", meant as tracks "put there" to please fans but which don't absolutely fit the album's mood: Pariah's Child remains coherent.
Overall this is a simple and catchy release: something inherited from the controversial Stones Grow Her Name, but Pariah's Child also brings back some of that Reckoning Night-esque melodic power, even if a more modern approach impregnates the whole album. I mean, there's a song about drifting - and not drifting on wolves (that'd be cool, yeah) but in real cars, for humans.
Pariah's Child is, compared to the usual band's standards, a slow album. The double bass power metal rides have been replaced by quieter mid-tempos, with Henkka's keys bossing the show, while new entry Pasi Kauppinen satisfies, who was, since 2007, waiting for another Unia to hear more bass. With nice ideas, good musicianship (please note I didn't say technical, I said good), a variegated Tony Kakko and an epic, "Larger Than Life", that so badly tries to be "White Pearl, Black Ocean" part II, this had all the features needed to become, if not a Sonata Arctica classic, a good make-up album, but not everything went in the right direction.
The band's music has never been so elaborate, but in the last two albums an exaggerated oversimplification and perhaps too playful tendencies have taken the lead. An example is "X Marks The Spot": an enjoyable, potentially epic tune, with Tony in great shape, isn't fully exploited due to... well, you'll hear and judge by yourselves. Therefore, where this release falls short is in its predictability: after the first seconds of almost every track it's pretty easy to imagine how the whole song will develop.
Pariah's Child trusts the emotional power Sonata Arctica always had, and thanks to this it has its moments, as the moving "What Did You Do In The War, Dad?" or "Love", that righteously gains a place among the band's immortal ballads such as "Shy" or "Tallullah".
This album is a step up from the disappointing Stones Grow Her Name, but will it be enough to please fans that have felt betrayed for too many years?
Written on 09.03.2014 by
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.
So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
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