|Sonata Arctica - ‘Pariah’s Child’ (Nuclear Blast)|
|Written by Mark Ashby|
|Saturday, 22 March 2014 04:00|
Reviewing albums is an interesting experience. It can be extremely rewarding (and generally is – after all, reviewers generally get to write about things they enjoy writing about)… but it also can be mind-numbingly depressing! Sometimes, as a reviewer, as with the more casual listener, an album jumps up and grabs you by throat and impresses you with the first blast from the speaker stack… sometimes it can take several listens to get under the skin of the opus concerned (which, in turn, does bring its own rewards as an album opens out its soundscape before you)… but, sometimes, just sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just don’t get it!
It is this latter aspect of the task that this reviewer experienced with this, the eighth studio offering from Finnish power metallers Sonata Arctica… no many times I listen to it, no matter how hard I try, I just don’t “get it”! At all! And this is from someone who regards their debut ‘Ecliptica’ as a true classic – a masterpiece, if you will – of the subgenre.
Yes, it’s brilliantly played and the five guys concerned are all consummately talented musicians. Yes, the songs are great: thoughtfully constructed and filled with crunching riffs and soaring melodies. Yes, it’s stunningly produced, which brings out the complexity and depth of the performances. But, there’s just something missing… and it’s really difficult to put the calloused old reviewing finger on! It just doesn’t reach deep into my heart and soul and appeal to me at that level of visceral passion which I know this particular band are capable of. Maybe I’m being too demanding, but not for the first time this year a power metal album has failed to ignite that inner fire, but left me with that empty feeling of a band treading water in a particularly stagnant pool…