Rating:
8.9
Sonata Arctica - Unia
25 May 2007


01. In Black And White
02. Paid In Full
03. For The Sake Of Revenge
04. It Won't Fade
05. Under Your Tree
06. Caleb
07. The Vice
08. My Dream's But A Drop Of Fuel For A Nightmare
09. The Harvest
10. To Create A Warlike Feel [digipack bonus]
11. The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden
12. Fly With The Black Swan
13. Good Enough Is Good Enough
14. They Follow [Japanese bonus]
15. Out In The Fields [Japanese bonus] [Gary Moore cover]
16. My Dream's But A Drop Of Fuel For A Nightmare [Japanese bonus] [instrumental version]


This is one of the bands that may be a perfect example of how heavy metal fans are often ungrateful and don't know what they want. Reckoning Night, their previous album, was very well received, but there were some complaints about some generic and repetitive songs - people thought that the band should add some more variations to their style. Then came Unia, the album that totally redefined Sonata Arctica's music; people, of course, complained that they should basically repeat Silence a thousand times over in order for the fans to be satisfied. Well, you can't please everyone, and Sonata Arctica gave a big middle finger to the latter ones.

What basically changed on this album? Finally, the music fits the lyrics - it's dark, deeper, layered, chaotic and weird. I've been listening to the album for almost four years and still find stuff I haven't noticed on the previous listens. This is probably the only album of theirs that deserves a pure ten for performance because finally all of the band members get to play unique and fun stuff. This especially applies to Tommy Portimo, who can get creative with his drums, and Marko Paasikoski, whose bass lines are at last audible. Tony Kakko's vocals have been improving over the years, so no surprises there. The solos are fewer in number, but very creative - even Jani Liimatainen found some strength in him to play well, being bored with the band as he was.

Speaking of tracks, there are of course many interesting stories to hear from Tony Kakko. There's a song about their stalker-character, "Caleb", which this time tells a story of his childhood and how he became what he is known for. "It Won't Fade" is the wolf song on the album, which sounds like it's dedicated to Liimatainen, their guitarist I mentioned before (for the full story of his departure from the band, head to their interviews and other stuff). There are, of course, the storytelling ones we're used to, but in weirder package ("Fly With The Black Swan", "The Vice"), and, to make for a recently more highlighted Sonata-theme, songs about modern world alienation of man ("The Harvest", "The Worlds Forgotten, The Words Forbidden").

The biggest downside of the album? Well, though there were a lot of quirky elements back on Reckoning Night, the change was too sudden and it was too hard to swallow for a lot of fans. The next album is an improvement in that field. Also, the production can be brilliant at some aspects, but there are a lot of weird effects used on Tony's voice.

Overall, this is an album that needs a lot of listens in order for the listener to fully appreciate it. One advice to the disappointed fans: if you don't like it, DON'T listen to it. There are plenty of other fish comfortably swimming in the shallow parts of the power metal sea. Sonata Arctica has decided to sail uncharted waters.

Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Production: 8


Band profile: Sonata Arctica
Album: Unia


 


written by Milena | 23.03.2011


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

Staff review by
Demonic Tutor

Rating:
6.8
After a career of releasing similar albums, Sonata Arctica's fifth studio effort - "Unia" - goes away from their usual style to offer something slightly more progressive. As a warning, "Unia" will have some fans and some detractors, and I belong to the latter category, despite loving progressive metal and liking the band.

Read more ››
published 11.07.2007 | Comments (46)



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howNowBrownSow - 23.03.2011 at 15:20  
Finally someone else who thinks like I do about this album.
Milena - 23.03.2011 at 15:46  
Written by howNowBrownSow on 23.03.2011 at 15:20

Finally someone else who thinks like I do about this album.



There is a legion of us, but the ones who don't like it are the more outspoken. Go to the official Sonata forum, and you'll see that all the major members and biggest fans like it
WorpeX - 23.03.2011 at 16:45  
I never understood the hate surrounding this album. Granted, this was the first SA album I heard, but when I heard the rest of their discography, I really couldn't tell much of a difference in style change. I love this album, great review, it matched a lot of the feelings I had about it.

My favorite tracks on it are It Wont Fade, For the Sake of Revenge and The Vice.
Susan - 23.03.2011 at 16:56  
"One advice to the disappointed fans: if you don't like it, DON'T listen to it. There are plenty of other fish comfortably swimming in the shallow parts of the power metal sea. Sonata Arctica has decided to sail uncharted waters."

Best line ever in a review. All reviews should have such a disclaimer attached to them.
Aluminum Alloy - 23.03.2011 at 17:08  
The middle of this review is good, and you of course have every right to praise the album.

however, the first and last paragraphs come across as pointless whining about other whiners.
yes, alot of people don't like the album, many for legitimate reasons. the simple whiners, you'll never
win an argument with them, so don't bother, it just makes you look petty.
moe5512 - 23.03.2011 at 17:29  
I agree on the most parts, the downside for me with this album is that it is very complicating listening to
Milena - 23.03.2011 at 17:30  
Written by Susan on 23.03.2011 at 16:56

"One advice to the disappointed fans: if you don't like it, DON'T listen to it. There are plenty of other fish comfortably swimming in the shallow parts of the power metal sea. Sonata Arctica has decided to sail uncharted waters."

Best line ever in a review. All reviews should have such a disclaimer attached to them.


Well thank you Many of us are reviewing our fave bands-personally, the more I love a band, the more I know their weak as well as their good sides, but in the end...it all comes down to the readers' and the reviewer's personal taste and experience. So, yeah, I like adding disclaimers.




Written by Aluminum Alloy on 23.03.2011 at 17:08

the simple whiners, you'll never
win an argument with them, so don't bother, it just makes you look petty.

I beg to differ; it makes me a bit annoyed that the people who complain do it very loudly and all over the place, so many people, when they read those and similar opinions, pay less attention to the albums which are criticized. If I can phrase myself better and more strongly, maybe some people will pay attention to this opinion too, and give a fair chance to the album in question. There need to be more opinions on the web so we can all enter debates - so sometimes they can get a bit edgy. And that's why these sentences are edgy too
Vitriolic Hate - 23.03.2011 at 17:31  
Overall, this is an album that needs a lot of listens in order for the listener to fully appreciate it.

Indeed.
Zenzero - 23.03.2011 at 19:18  
I really don't like this album.... I think it's boring!
dragonfire1603 - 23.03.2011 at 20:23  
To me personally it's their best album so far. It's maybe a little harder to get into it, but that's exactly what I like about it. As you said in your review:
"I've been listening to the album for almost four years and still find stuff I haven't noticed on the previous listens."
That's what makes it exciting!

Nice review!
Aluminum Alloy - 23.03.2011 at 21:15  
Quote:
Written by Aluminum Alloy on 23.03.2011 at 17:08

the simple whiners, you'll never
win an argument with them, so don't bother, it just makes you look petty.

I beg to differ; it makes me a bit annoyed that the people who complain do it very loudly and all over the place, so many people, when they read those and similar opinions, pay less attention to the albums which are criticized. If I can phrase myself better and more strongly, maybe some people will pay attention to this opinion too, and give a fair chance to the album in question. There need to be more opinions on the web so we can all enter debates - so sometimes they can get a bit edgy. And that's why these sentences are edgy too


i agree with you that there should be alternate opinions available, which i why i think your review is good as a counterpoint to the other on here, a task the middle, the actual "review" portion of this review, fulfulls quite well.
however, "edgy" music debates get nowhere. soon both sides disintegrate into personal attacks (where your "shallow parts of the sea" comment is heading), and the music gets lost in the shuffle. (for a perfect example, look at the comments on the reviewfor Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare. that's a debate going nowhere)
phrasing yourself "strongly" only makes you lose credibility with level-headed people. phrasing yourself well however, makes those level-headed people (frankly, the ones worth discussing with) far more willing to take your opinion seriously.
The Shape 1973 - 23.03.2011 at 22:49  
Every now and again I get this album out again to see if I can get in to it. Each time I get about half way through and turn it off. It has little or no flow to it and great chunks of it are pretty much unlistenable to. The vocals are terrible compared to all of their other albums. I have been a fan from day one and still like their latest album which makes far more sense, having more variety but still melody.

I will take your advice, I don't like it, so I won't listen to it.
Luneth - 24.03.2011 at 00:10  
Really...I mean....really?

I think people underrated this album somewhat, but it's by no means comparable to any Sonata album pre 2004. It's a change yeah...but not all changes are necessarily good, are they? It's not like SA fans want a recycled Ecliptica or Silence...just something different, thats still awesome. If you watched the recent interview with Henrik you would have heard him mentioning that not all the previous albums are similar and that's completely true, Ecliptica bears no resemblance to Silence in my opinion, yet they are both incredible albums. Same goes for Winterheart's Guild, a great album by all accounts, but out of its predecessors, it probably bears closest resembalnce to Ecliptica I'd say, yet it still maintains that 'difference' that everyone wants so much.

No one will dispute Unia being different to all prior releases, but it isn't a good difference...not to me anyway. As for the songs on the album, they all seem uninspired and directionless, it doesn't sound cohesive in any way, there's no flow to it. As far as RN goes in this whole 'the many faces of Sonata Arctica' discussion, I'd say it was a pretty damn good album, some incredibly memorable tracks and beautiful ballads that were well in league with some of their greatest on Ecliptica and Silence, but there really is nothing memorable about this album.
farfaramir - 24.03.2011 at 04:48  
It is a good album, but not a masterpiece. And To Create A Warlike Feel is the best song in the album (with caleb), and it's a bonus track! >_>...
-Mayhem- - 24.03.2011 at 07:46  
Great review!
Exactly what I think.
Milena - 24.03.2011 at 08:08  
Quote:
Written by Aluminum Alloy on 23.03.2011 at 21:15

Written by Aluminum Alloy on 23.03.2011 at 17:08

the simple whiners, you'll never
win an argument with them, so don't bother, it just makes you look petty.

I beg to differ; it makes me a bit annoyed that the people who complain do it very loudly and all over the place, so many people, when they read those and similar opinions, pay less attention to the albums which are criticized. If I can phrase myself better and more strongly, maybe some people will pay attention to this opinion too, and give a fair chance to the album in question. There need to be more opinions on the web so we can all enter debates - so sometimes they can get a bit edgy. And that's why these sentences are edgy too


i agree with you that there should be alternate opinions available, which i why i think your review is good as a counterpoint to the other on here, a task the middle, the actual "review" portion of this review, fulfulls quite well.
however, "edgy" music debates get nowhere. soon both sides disintegrate into personal attacks (where your "shallow parts of the sea" comment is heading), and the music gets lost in the shuffle. (for a perfect example, look at the comments on the reviewfor Avenged Sevenfold's Nightmare. that's a debate going nowhere)
phrasing yourself "strongly" only makes you lose credibility with level-headed people. phrasing yourself well however, makes those level-headed people (frankly, the ones worth discussing with) far more willing to take your opinion seriously.


I meant 'well' too, when I said 'strongly', really I usually don't argue about music, but from time to time I get the irresistible need to stick it to the people who aren't open enough-the ones that don't even try. I guess it's wrong but I'm working on that

Written by Luneth on 24.03.2011 at 00:10

It's not like SA fans want a recycled Ecliptica or Silence...just something different, thats still awesome.

Well, I think you're speaking for yourself there, I've literally seen people type 'we want Silence and not this shit' a thousand times over, that's why I wrote this sentence

Written by -Mayhem- on 24.03.2011 at 07:46

Great review!
Exactly what I think.


Just because it's exactly how you feel about the album doesn't mean it's a great review, a great review should be greatly written, and the opinion stated is just an opinion it would be of better help if you guys could point out the flaws in writing so I could work on that, some of the guys and girls are doing that and I appreciate that anyone else?
-Mayhem- - 24.03.2011 at 15:47  
Written by Milena on 24.03.2011 at 08:08

Written by -Mayhem- on 24.03.2011 at 07:46

Great review!
Exactly what I think.

Just because it's exactly how you feel about the album doesn't mean it's a great review, a great review should be greatly written, and the opinion stated is just an opinion it would be of better help if you guys could point out the flaws in writing so I could work on that, some of the guys and girls are doing that and I appreciate that anyone else?

Yes you are right and there are many good reviews out there that I disagree with. But of course when someone agrees with you, you automatically like the text somehow.
Milena - 24.03.2011 at 17:03  
Written by -Mayhem- on 24.03.2011 at 15:47

Written by Milena on 24.03.2011 at 08:08

Written by -Mayhem- on 24.03.2011 at 07:46

Great review!
Exactly what I think.

Just because it's exactly how you feel about the album doesn't mean it's a great review, a great review should be greatly written, and the opinion stated is just an opinion it would be of better help if you guys could point out the flaws in writing so I could work on that, some of the guys and girls are doing that and I appreciate that anyone else?

Yes you are right and there are many good reviews out there that I disagree with. But of course when someone agrees with you, you automatically like the text somehow.



Yeah, somehow we all fall under that little mind trap
Dargor - 28.03.2011 at 23:50  
I have waited a long time to meet someone who thinks like me. Well said, very nice review. I totally agree with you.
Milena - 30.12.2011 at 22:49  
Written by Guest on 30.12.2011 at 22:47

After many test runs, I still don't really like this. It has instrumental fun, energy, surprises, details (such as some electronic stuff going in the background) etc. but where's the album? Here the constitution of album is like a computer that has never been defragmented, or a diary of assorted dreams. Good idea but sounds artificial in my ears, especially because even some of the tracks seem to fall apart during their precious moment in the limelight. + "Paid In Full" doesn't belong in this album, it's not that progressive, experimental or something.

Like I've said many times, each one to his own but surely, I know some very laid back persons who are against every complicated form of music who enjoy this a lot, so I don't think it's that hard to get into.
Milena - 30.12.2011 at 23:22  
Written by Guest on 30.12.2011 at 22:58

Yea of course, I also think that many of these tracks have familiar Sonata melodies and feeling (not all of them have). There's just more nuances, twists, cutting down the melodies and individual spices.

Oh well, they just had to get it out of their systems, or so they said, so I predict gradually softer albums, more away from the metal realm - it already happened with TDoG.
Milena - 30.12.2011 at 23:36  
Written by Guest on 30.12.2011 at 23:34

I have no idea what they are going to do next but I hope they do something good.

I can already see that it won't contain a lot of "metal", but as long as it's good, I don't really care too

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