Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Upolad: Sonata Arctica - Silence

This is quite clearly a power metal album. If the cover and that sentence didn't completely scare you off, keep reading. I personally don't mind power metal bands, but a lot of people do. While I do love Silence to death, points of it certainly make me see why power metal isn't meant to be taken completely seriously.

First off, this album is the cheesiest cheese that's ever cheesed. From the spoken-word in the beginning and end to the narrative dialogue at the beginning of "The End of the Chapter" to the full-blown, epic "The Power of One" ending the album, this is for the most part full-speed power metal. In some ways (and certainly in the attitude), this is very similar to 90% of power/speed metal. The album flows quite well from track to track; it definitely doesn't attract a "string of singles" feel to it. Tracks like the uber-uber-uber happy sounding "Weballergy" and "San Sebastian","False News Travels Fast" (my personal favorite), "Black Sheep", and "The Wolf and the Raven" are speedy enough to snap any headbanger's neck. The guitarwork is at times decent, at times amazing, and the solos are satisfying. The real winner here, though, is the keyboardist. This guy uses quite a range of effects, from harpsichordish shit to ambient pads to whatever --this is what gives them that extra-special, new-fangled "symphonic" tag to their genre. The last song, "The Power of One", is quite notable, mostly for being a really good album ender, but also for being 10 minutes long and being as cheesily epic as possible. I love it, but a lot of people will pass. Screw all you people, it's a great song.

The problems occur when the album slows down for ballads, which happens far too much for my taste (2 slow songs and 2 midpaced songs for a 12-song album). There are points in both full ballads, "Last Drop Falls" and "Tallulah", when I subconsciously turn down the volume on my speakers for the sake of maintaining street cred. The music for these is sappy to the point of being ridiculous. The lyrics on the slower/more serious songs, especially "The End of This Chapter" and "Last Drop Falls", are at times laughable, and at times made me look them up in the (really hard to read) booklet to see if their singer actually said what I thought he said. On that note, randomly putting the phrase "without underwear" without context in a slow song (in "Last Drop Falls") is a definite way to get my attention. Oh yeah, and "You must keep it real to find her" (in "Weballergy", which is a really strange title for a song that is only nominally about the internet or anything web-related) has to be one of the strangest sentences I've ever seen. Just a thought.

So, my rating stands:
7.5 album covers that have fuck-all to do with the album out of 10.

Click here to download!

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