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Review: Sonata Arctica - The Days of Grays
Sonata Arctica
The Days of Grays

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 59:24
Tracks: 12
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 2.75/5

Review online: October 1, 2009
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
The Days of Grays

Rated 2.94/5 (58.84%) (69 Votes)

Tony Kakko! We know you're in there! Drop the down-tuned 7-string guitar and come out with your hands up! OK, that was silly, but after the core-ish tendencies of Sonata Arctica's last release, Unia, I was thoroughly prepared to loathe their newest, The Days of Grays. Surprisingly, and despite the general consensus of the message boards here on The Metal Crypt, I DIDN'T hate it. Sure, it's no Ecliptica or Silence, but who wants a band to keep releasing the same albums over and over? Besides me, that is.

No, I don't hate The Days of Grays. There are still plenty of experimental elements happening here and, like the last album, many of them don't work. To wit, the crappy vocal effects on "Zeroes" or "The Dead Skin" (isn't that a Slayer song? What? Dead Skin Mask? Sorry) where Tony sounds like Trent Reznor singing through a circa 1930 microphone. Yet there are some signs of life, enough to make a die-hard SA fan like me dig a little deeper. "Flag in the Ground" is a fairly quick number and "The Last Amazing Grays" sounds a lot like the mid-tempo material from Winterheart's Guild and Reckoning Night. Overall the album reminds me of an album length version of the song "White Pearl, Black Oceans…" from Reckoning Night. Speedy double kick drumming and catchy choruses can be found on The Days of Grays. Unfortunately, every time I get my hopes up (with the possible exception of "Flag in the Ground") the songs take a turn for the worse, usually with some mall-core breakdown, and I'm be left with a song only half of which I like. Frustratingly, this is all too common on The Days of Grays.

I can see how many people will be turned off by the continued experimentation, but I also see the band on somewhat firmer footing after the mis-step that was Unia. Long time fans should find enough on The Days of Grays to keep hope alive for the future of Sonata Arctica, if they are willing to work to separate the wheat from the mountains of chaff. Those of you never really into the band, just move along, there's nothing to see here.

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