Rating:
7.5
Sonata Arctica - Pariah's Child
28 March 2014


01. The Wolves Die Young
02. Running Lights
03. Take One Breath
04. Cloud Factory
05. Blood
06. What Did You Do In The War, Dad?
07. Half A Marathon Man
08. X Marks The Spot
09. Love
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 The double bass power metal rides have been replaced by quieter mid-tempos, with Henkka's keys bossing the show, while new entry Pasi Kauppinen satisfies, who was, since 2007, waiting for another Unia to hear more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?


Band profile: Sonata Arctica
Album: Pariah's Child


 



Written on 09.03.2014 by
R Lewis
Hopefully you won't agree with me, diversity of opinions is what makes metal so beautiful and varied.

So... critics and advices absolutely welcome.
More reviews by R Lewis ››



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swatata - 09.03.2014 at 12:33  
I was expecting something different from the last years but will have to wait a bit longer then. Still gonna hear it but I doubt it''s going to be something I will like.
Prometheus - 09.03.2014 at 14:30  
Excuse me,when did you listen to this album if it comes out on 28th of March?
Anyway i don't have high expectations for this album:The first single was ok,but the second was pretty meh.
R Lewis - 09.03.2014 at 14:37  
Written by Prometheus on 09.03.2014 at 14:30

Excuse me,when did you listen to this album if it comes out on 28th of March?

As a pretty renowned metal webzine, we receive many albums before their official release date, to review them before they hit the stores, so that bands can use the reviews as promo.
Zenzero - 09.03.2014 at 18:26  
I'm curious about it!
WinterMadness - 09.03.2014 at 18:54  
I think based on the two singles released so far that this album will be better than Stones Grow Her Name, although it won't be as good as their older stuff. But I'm not questioning my fanhood of Sonata Arctica yet; I'm also a fan of Turisas, so if bands changing their styles turned me off, I wouldn't be left with many bands to listen to.
Azarath - 09.03.2014 at 22:04  
Can you divulge how long the "epic" of the album, "Larger Than Life", is?
R Lewis - 09.03.2014 at 22:09  
Written by Azarath on 09.03.2014 at 22:04

Can you divulge how long the "epic" of the album, "Larger Than Life", is?

I don't remember it precisely, but it's around 9 minutes, like, again, "White Pearl, Black Oceans".
LeChron James - 10.03.2014 at 01:55  
Is "Larger Than Life" a Backstreet Boys cover? That's what Paragon covered on their "Screenslaves" album hahaha
DragonSavior X10 - 10.03.2014 at 03:26  
Reckoning Night style huh? That's about what I expected. I'm all for it.
Ornusashas - 10.03.2014 at 03:31  
The hypest release, can't wait.
BenWasHere - 10.03.2014 at 05:15  
I want another Winterheart's Guild
That was my favorite release and I haven't enjoyed any of their albums since that one
Reckoning Night was okay but that was their last not awful album
BynersA7X - 10.03.2014 at 09:13  
"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"."

Ok, if that information is acctually true, it's going to be one of the best albums of the year IMO. Yes, I am that cheap.
Dark Cornatus - 10.03.2014 at 12:44  
Written by BenWasHere on 10.03.2014 at 05:15

I want another Winterheart's Guild
That was my favorite release and I haven't enjoyed any of their albums since that one
Reckoning Night was okay but that was their last not awful album


This is exactly my thoughts. First 3 albums were solid Power Metal, Reckoning was ok, had one or two of their best songs, but a lot of average ones too. Haven't liked a single song since.
R Lewis - 10.03.2014 at 12:51  
Written by LeChron James on 10.03.2014 at 01:55

Is "Larger Than Life" a Backstreet Boys cover? That's what Paragon covered on their "Screenslaves" album hahaha

No, thanks God it isn't.
Azarath - 10.03.2014 at 20:06  
Ok, so we've established that it's not a cover, but is it actually better than this?

And does it have the potential for an equally rad video?
R Lewis - 10.03.2014 at 20:13  
Written by Azarath on 10.03.2014 at 20:06

Ok, so we've established that it's not a cover, but is it actually better than this?

And does it have the potential for an equally rad video?

Yes, it's better and, while not being a masterpiece, is one of the best songs in here. AND it's serious: no jokes, no strange intruments... no SGHN in general.
BlankFile - 10.03.2014 at 21:03  
If it sounds just a little bit as Reckoning Night i think its good news and im happy with that. Im a fan of Sonata Arctica since the release of Ecliptica in 1999, i was 15 years old back then. Now im 29 and i still enjoy a lot of this band, despite the changes in their sound over the years. Honestly i wasn´t expecting a new Ecliptica or Silence, because i think those days are gone for good. I like both songs realesed so far, they´re not spectacular, but good songs nonetheless. Im curious to ear the rest of it and draw my own conclusions about the quality of the album.
breno - 10.03.2014 at 22:37  
Like you give a note to an album that still miss eighteen days to launch?
R Lewis - 10.03.2014 at 23:10  
Written by breno on 10.03.2014 at 22:37

Like you give a note to an album that still miss eighteen days to launch?

I kidnapped the band and forced 'em to play the whole album in my living room. And, since I boast about being the best reviewer in da place (in da place? of da whole WORLD) and I need to listen to every album at least ten times before reviewing it (that's true, btw), they had to play ten hours non-stop.

No, seriously, have you ever heard about promo media?
kains - 12.03.2014 at 23:12  
You, sir, got me stoked about this release!
Aside from Unia, Silence, and The Days of Grays, Reckoning Night was one of the best albums I've ever heard from these guys.
If this album is a retrace of the old Reckoning Night style hardmixed with their latest sound, I'd definitely tap that.
Azarath - 12.03.2014 at 23:57  
Written by R Lewis on 10.03.2014 at 20:13

AND it's serious: no jokes, no strange intruments... no SGHN in general.

You know, I wouldn't mind if they'd haul out the banjo and organ again.
mikeprado30 - 14.03.2014 at 05:39  
I will never understand why people loathe so much Unia & The Days Of Grays. IMHO those ones were nice albums (not as good as the 3 first ones but I enjoyed them very much). SGHN really was a huge letdown if you let me say it
Lehctim - 14.03.2014 at 20:29  
I think I'm the only person on earth that liked SGHN. Not as good as first 3 albums, but way better than Days and Unia
Teravolt_Danny - 14.03.2014 at 22:18  
Written by Lehctim on 14.03.2014 at 20:29

I think I'm the only person on earth that liked SGHN. Not as good as first 3 albums, but way better than Days and Unia


I thought it was a good album, but weak for SA. My favorite SA albums in order would probably be:
1. Reckoning Night
3. Winterheart's Guild
3. Silence
4. Unia
5. The Days of Grays
6. Stones Grow Her Name
7. Ecliptica

Yup, that's right, I think Ecliptica is their worst album. I've never understood what people see in it... yes it's their fastest album, but so what? IMO, it has the most bland and uninteresting melodies of any SA album.

As for the two new singles... I like them both, especially Cloud Factory. I'm a little bummed that it will only be 10 songs, though.
Dark Cornatus - 17.03.2014 at 12:31  
Written by Teravolt_Danny on 14.03.2014 at 22:18

My favorite SA albums in order would probably be:
1. Reckoning Night
3. Winterheart's Guild
3. Silence
4. Unia
5. The Days of Grays
6. Stones Grow Her Name
7. Ecliptica
As for the two new singles... I like them both, especially Cloud Factory. I'm a little bummed that it will only be 10 songs, though.


For me it's:

1. Silence
2. Ecliptica
3. Winterheart's Guild
4. Reckoning Night






5. The rest.....
BlankFile - 18.03.2014 at 21:35  
For me:

Silence
Ecliptica
WinterHeart´s Guild
Reckoning Night
The Days of Grays
Unia
Stones Grow Her Name

I like them all btw, but my preferences are clear.
Vintage Metaller - 25.03.2014 at 04:27  
Looks like SA is all set to deliver more wankery . I am all for the classic SA sound. I am not holding my breath for this album, given the last 2 turds delivered by SA:sleep:
CyGuy6587 - 03.04.2014 at 20:25  
It's definitely better than Stones..., some of the lyrics are pretty daft, like on Running Lights, but the melodies are pretty awesome. Blood is a brilliant song, very reminiscent of older Sonata
BlankFile - 07.04.2014 at 01:06  
At this point i´ve heard the album like 4 or 5 times, and it´s definitely a big improvement comparing to their previous release SGHN wich was little disappointing and the weakest SA album so far. It´s a more consistent album and closer to the old and brilliant Sonata, but still far away from the quality of their first 4 releases. Still, i think maybe its their best effort since the release of Reckoning Night. Good melodies, choruses and lyrics, but a bit lacking on more guitar solos. I think its something that has been missing for a while and is an important part of the band. Elias Viljanen is good, don´t get me wrong, but Jani Liimatainen was a creative force in that field and made the difference in the band.
The highlights in this one for me are: Take One Breath, Blood, What Did You Do In The War, Dad?, Half a Marathon Man and Larger Than Life.
Valaskjalf - 07.04.2014 at 20:52  
This is one of the most retarded albums Ive ever heard...seriously they should just call it quits or get Jani back. Toni needs to be put on a leash, he doesnt understand how writing music works.
Luneth - 22.04.2014 at 16:44  
Written by Teravolt_Danny on 14.03.2014 at 22:18

Written by Lehctim on 14.03.2014 at 20:29

I think I'm the only person on earth that liked SGHN. Not as good as first 3 albums, but way better than Days and Unia


I thought it was a good album, but weak for SA. My favorite SA albums in order would probably be:
1. Reckoning Night
3. Winterheart's Guild
3. Silence
4. Unia
5. The Days of Grays
6. Stones Grow Her Name
7. Ecliptica

Yup, that's right, I think Ecliptica is their worst album. I've never understood what people see in it... yes it's their fastest album, but so what? IMO, it has the most bland and uninteresting melodies of any SA album.

As for the two new singles... I like them both, especially Cloud Factory. I'm a little bummed that it will only be 10 songs, though.



I think that list is quite good and I definitely agree Unia is in their top five. But Ecliptica is class, just beautiful.
1. Ecliptica
2. Reckoning Night
3. Silence
4. Winterheart's Guild
5. Unia
6. Days of Grays

I don't even count stones as an album of theirs and prefer not to think about it. As for this new release, still not heard it but already like Cloud Factory and Wolves Die Young so I'm hopeful
Teravolt_Danny - 30.04.2014 at 01:37  
Well, it will be a long time before I can revise my list of SA albums, but I have a feeling that Pariah's Child will end up somewhere in the top 3 or 4. It's really, really good. Completely exceeded my expectations.
Abel - 12.05.2014 at 04:38  
Written by mikeprado30 on 14.03.2014 at 05:39

I will never understand why people loathe so much Unia & The Days Of Grays. IMHO those ones were nice albums (not as good as the 3 first ones but I enjoyed them very much). SGHN really was a huge letdown if you let me say it



Exactly, I loved Unia and The Days of Gray, I also love the old S.A. but I think they just matured. Power-metal I think its a hard genre to keep up for too long, look at Dragonforce for example, their tracks got shorter and simpler eventually. Unia was a complex album and by the time i was very surprised, but once i listen to it carefully it was very VERY talented; also I'm very open minded about this things.
mikeprado30 - 12.05.2014 at 05:14  
Written by Abel on 12.05.2014 at 04:38

Written by mikeprado30 on 14.03.2014 at 05:39

I will never understand why people loathe so much Unia & The Days Of Grays. IMHO those ones were nice albums (not as good as the 3 first ones but I enjoyed them very much). SGHN really was a huge letdown if you let me say it



Exactly, I loved Unia and The Days of Gray, I also love the old S.A. but I think they just matured. Power-metal I think its a hard genre to keep up for too long, look at Dragonforce for example, their tracks got shorter and simpler eventually. Unia was a complex album and by the time i was very surprised, but once i listen to it carefully it was very VERY talented; also I'm very open minded about this things.


Well, if we talk of complexity in musical terms, best example I know is Blind Guardian's A Night At The Opera So complex that the bards themselves talked about the huge trial that was to record it (specially ATTWS).

I love the complex and the simplest PM if it has quality and gets my like, and this SA album got it

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