Sonata Arctica - Talviyö review



Reviewer:
4.5

107 users:
5.54
Band: Sonata Arctica
Album: Talviyö
Release date: September 2019


01. Message From The Sun
02. Whirlwind
03. Cold
04. Storm The Armada
05. The Last Of The Lambs
06. Who Failed The Most
07. You Won't Fall [Japanese bonus]
08. Ismo's Got Good Reactors
09. Demon's Cage
10. A Little Less Understanding
11. The Raven Still Flies
12. The Garden


If you have already looked at the score of this review, it's probably clear that I have some issues with the latest Sonata Arctica record.

Honestly, I was disappointed. Why? Because the energy that I used to enjoy in Sonata Arctica's work, just isn't here. What do we get instead? Well, Talviyö tries to go for a more emotional mood (at least that's my impression). And on paper I have absolutely no issue with this. However, I feel like there are things on this album that completely undermine its intention.

First of all, while the lyrics are okay in terms of phrasing (the typical Sonata Arctica style), I feel like they aren't really going anywhere. It's like they had a theme for a song, but then got stuck at trying to deliver the message. I don't know, it's weird to describe, it feels like they are running around in circles. A song like "The Raven Still Flies" is a perfect example. That song is overly long for the message it's trying to convey. At that point you'd expect the music to carry a song like that, but that isn't the case unfortunately.

Now, that's maybe a smaller nitpick. The next thing I want to talk about isn't. Something I have already mentioned on the album page. The productionů What is it with Sonata Arctica and their muddy sound on the last couple of albums? At first, I thought it was an attempt at making their sound feel heavier. But that couldn't be the case with Talviyö, since they went with a softer (more touching) approach in their songwriting. Apparently, they tried to create a live vibe. That's honestly a great idea because it fits with the attempt at a more emotional style. But as I've seen/heard in the past with other bands, something like that is not easy to achieve. Drums that don't have enough punch, guitars that miss clarity in their sound, etc. are all things that I have experienced with those types of albums. And this album suffers from those things as well. The production only amplifies the lack of energy in Talviyö. Any attempt at emotional touches in the music (other than acoustic parts) gets crushed under a production that sucks the individuality of the instrument out of the music. As an example: all the toms on the drum kit sound almost exactly the same.

Vocals-wise, I can't complain. Sure, Tony is getting older and you can hear that, but I still like his delivery and style.

The music itself? Well, I didn't really find anything really memorable. I feel like that's partially the fault of the aforementioned production, but the songwriting itself is also part of the issue here. It misses something. A spark of uniqueness that makes this album stand out in a sea of power metal albums. The older albums have the frantic, high-energy songs. Talviyö on the other hand... doesn't... The songs just don't feel like something I would only hear on a Sonata Arctica album. Maybe I'm too used to the older albums which made me fall in love with their style. I don't know.

Do I want them to return to their old style? No. If the band doesn't want to, then they don't have to. But honestly... I don't want this either... In the end it doesn't matter. They can make whatever they want to make. That doesn't mean though that I will automatically like that change in style. In this case it's disappointing, but there will always be the stuff that I like from them. Talviyö isn't going to change that.

To conclude, I can only say that I found this album to be really bland. And the thing that absolutely puts the nail on the coffin for this record, is its production. Otherwise it probably would have gotten a point more.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 4
Production: 3

Written by tominator | 15.11.2019


 


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments

Comments: 8   Visited by: 91 users
15.11.2019 - 02:40
CWA
You addressed all the fears I had for this album and confirmed them. Sadly, I think I'm done with band if they continue in this direction. I have all their albums up to Pariah. Their latest two are so unmemorable I can't justify buying them.
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15.11.2019 - 13:43
Zenzero
Zenzero
Unia was already enough for me... I forgot them since then!
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16.11.2019 - 02:54
tominator
At best deranged
Written by CWA on 15.11.2019 at 02:40

You addressed all the fears I had for this album and confirmed them. Sadly, I think I'm done with band if they continue in this direction. I have all their albums up to Pariah. Their latest two are so unmemorable I can't justify buying them.


Yeah, like I mentioned in the review there's nothing that really sticks with me. The only memorable thing about this record for me is its production and that's the wrong kind of memorable. And even though I'm not the biggest fan of Phariah's Child myself, it's still easily my favourite 2010s work from them. I still felt like that actually had some interesting parts left in it.

This one though... was just a slog to get through. And my second listen to it, didn't make it any better.
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16.11.2019 - 12:22
Bad English
Masterchief
This is one of worst bands in pm fsmily, its pop rock, i like pm, but this is horrible, joke
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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16.11.2019 - 13:54
tominator
At best deranged
Written by Bad English on 16.11.2019 at 12:22

This is one of worst bands in pm fsmily, its pop rock, i like pm, but this is horrible, joke


They used to have that high energy/high intensity style. I still consider Ecliptica to be a power metal classic. Silence and Winterheart's Guild are also really good albums imo. However, it seems that that particular style of SA is long gone.
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16.11.2019 - 16:50
CWA
Written by tominator on 16.11.2019 at 13:54

Written by Bad English on 16.11.2019 at 12:22

This is one of worst bands in pm fsmily, its pop rock, i like pm, but this is horrible, joke


They used to have that high energy/high intensity style. I still consider Ecliptica to be a power metal classic. Silence and Winterheart's Guild are also really good albums imo. However, it seems that that particular style of SA is long gone.


I think all the albums with Jani Liimatainen are absolutely fantastic; except Unia which I think was just good. Even though the later Sonata album didn't have the high energy sound that i truly gravitated towards I found the compositions where quite strong and varied. Even the hated Stones Grow Her Name (which I think is grossly underrated and their best post-Jani Liimatainen album) got ample amount of play time in my CD player.
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16.11.2019 - 18:31
tominator
At best deranged
Written by CWA on 16.11.2019 at 16:50

I think all the albums with Jani Liimatainen are absolutely fantastic; except Unia which I think was just good. Even though the later Sonata album didn't have the high energy sound that i truly gravitated towards I found the compositions where quite strong and varied. Even the hated Stones Grow Her Name (which I think is grossly underrated and their best post-Jani Liimatainen album) got ample amount of play time in my CD player.


The albums with Jani on them ranged for me from solid to simply excellent. After that there was still some solid stuff. Phariah's Child had some good moments in it and I did quite like The Days Of Grays. And even though I didn't really like Stones Grow Her Name. It still had some good things in it and it had a spark of personality. Cinderblox is a good example of that. I really like that track.

Honestly, I rather have an album like SGHN which is extremely inconsistent (imo) but has some tracks on it that I really like than an album like Talviyö which is just dull and mediocre from start to finish.
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25.11.2019 - 17:59
Belegûr
Arise In Might!
At what point do you say you don't like a band anymore? Not liked anything since Reckoning Night and that was like 15 years ago (insanity). Love their first 4 albums, but everything since just hasn't been for me.
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