|Review: Sonata Arctica - Winterheart's Guild|
Label: Century Media
Year released: 2003
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: May 21, 2003
Reviewed by: Christian Renner
After the incredible work displayed by Sonata Arctica on their last album "Silence" I was really looking forward to the follow-up with rather high expectations. Now a few people have tagged this band as simply Stratovarius clones but I would have to disagree with that. Admittedly they are certainly in the same genre and their approach of adding a lot of depth to each song is similar but that is nowhere near being a bad thing. Hell, I wish more bands would take this approach…heh.
I will have to admit however the first few times I listened to this album I wasn’t overly impressed by it but over subsequent listens the album really starts to grow on you. The guitars sound just as good as ever with what you would certainly expect from the genre, that is to say catchy and some absolutely shredding leads. The vocals are excellent as well with a slight change and that is the lower register. I really like the heavier sound of the vocals since this really starts to set this band apart from the crowd and I would even say I would like it even more at an even lower register. The overall songwriting is also slightly darker as well and the songs don’t come off as sounding so "happy". Not to say this is reaching the darker sound displayed by Helloween’s last album (which I thought was simply awesome) but certainly a move in the right direction.
Overall I find the album getting better and better each time I listen to it. I still find "Silence" my favorite release from them but this is certainly well worth the purchase price as well. Highly Recommended.
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