Friday, February 23, 2007
Upload: Sonata Arctica - Winterheart's Guild
When I reviewed another Sonata Arctica album, Silence, I only had a few real complaints. One of them was the cheese factor, one of them was the bad ballad factor, and one of them was the AWFUL lyrics factor. I am pleased to say that these have been heavily mitigated with Winterheart's Guild, while both remaining true to the core sound and innovating. It's almost like they took a time machine from some time in the future and read my articles back to 2003, changed all that shit, and then went on like nothing happened. Except that would probably, y'know, open up a GIANT WARP PORTAL of redundancy. INTO HELL. Whatever, my point was that everything improved universally. Fuck.
Anywho, I was impressed right off the bat with this album. Like "Weballergy" of Silence, the first track of WG is a nice, speedy song, but with a lot less uber-gay than the other aforementioned opener and a reasonable sense of urgency. The next song really threw me for a loop the first time I really listened to it -- clocking in at 7 minutes, "Gravenimage" is definitely the best Sonata Arctica song I've ever heard, hands down. Even if the song didn't really kick in after a few verses, it would still be the best slow Sonata Arctica song. As it stands, the kick-in is probably one of their best ever, and the vocal leads within are absolutely to die for. The lyrics, the instrumentation, the non-tongue-in-cheek-ness, the structure...it all works SO well together with Sonata Arctica's unique qualities.
After that song, it remains pretty good up until "Broken"; even more "fun" songs, and even their single, "Victoria's Secret", stay mostly within the region of decent taste ("Champagne Bath", with its flanged solo and stupid lyrics, toes the line a lot). "The Misery" is a great slow song, albeit a little cheesy; it gets nowhere near the cheese levels of, say, "Tallullah", though, so even that was cut back a little. "Broken" is the one fluke bad song on the album; like "Sing in Silence" from Silence, it serves no purpose and nobody likes it. After that, though, we're back to good music: the album ends with "Ruins of My Life", a fast track, and "Draw Me", a very tasteful ballad. A very impressive effort, and one I've been listening to almost daily (especially "Gravenimage"...now THAT is an amazing song).
8.4 general, complete sound improvements out of 10.
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